Debunking Madigan's Lies

Madigan's Dirty Money => Howard's Dirty Politics

As Minority Floor Leader, Peter Breen is the lead debater against Mike Madigan. Madigan spent over $1,500,000 to defeat Peter in the 2018 Election.

Mike Madigan's handpicked candidate is Terra Costa Howard, and she has launched a variety of false charges against Peter. This webpage is meant to debunk some of these Madigan/Howard falsehoods, to shine a light on the use of Madigan's Dirty Money to bring Dirty Politics to our district.

Madigan/Howard False "Character Assassination" Against Peter

More generally, CBS 2 recently did a "fact-check" of the Madigan/Howard campaign ad against Peter, calling its allegations "startling" and rating them "False." An independent political committee, Liberty Principles PAC, put together its own ad condemning Terra Howard's "Character Assassination":

You can also click here to view the full original piece from CBS 2, "Fact Check: Democrat’s Ad Falsely Accuses GOP Lawmaker Of Standing With 'Accused Sex Predators.'"

Specific Issues

Here are several brief FAQs on some Madigan/Howard statements. If you'd like us to debunk a particular statement from Madigan/Howard, just send us an email at

Peter Stands with Seniors

One of Mike Madigan's favorite tricks is taking good votes and twisting them in mail pieces. Another is taking a federal program and claiming a particular state representative is against that program, despite a state-level legislature having no power to do anything to impact the federal program. A recent mailpiece from Madigan/Howard falsely claimed Peter was for increasing property taxes, adding a new state income tax on seniors, and cutting Social Security and Medicare.


Here's the truth on property taxes: Peter has repeatedly voted to freeze property taxes, and he supports a reduction and cap on them. Peter is even featured on the website as a legislator especially dedicated to reform of our worst-in-the-country property tax system. And as a village trustee in Lombard, he consistently opposed property tax hikes, and he succeeded in winning a tax freeze, the first property tax relief folks in Lombard had experienced in 20 years. As Acting Village President, Peter reduced spending--with no loss of services--and he returned the savings to the people of the Lilac Village by eliminating the village's vehicle sticker and tax. The vote Howard cites in her mailer was a fake "reform" bill put forward by Madigan that actually would have hiked property taxes on most residents in the 48th District, and that bill had critical loopholes that would allow governments to hike taxes to the maximum amount every year. And, what's more, Mike Madigan's property tax appeals legal business would have benefited by that bill, because of the increased complexity that his bill would have created in the state's property tax system. Peter supports a real property tax freeze, reduction, and cap, period.

Here's the truth on a new state income tax for seniors: No way. Peter has publicly and strongly opposed any new taxes on seniors. Peter has also strongly opposed any tax hikes on folks in his district, and he's also opposed the unbalanced budgets of the past few years. It's time for the state government to spend within its means.

Here's the truth on Social Security and Medicare: Peter supports Social Security and Medicare. Congress needs to get its act together and stop shorting these systems. That said, Peter is at the state level, with no ability to impact these worthy and necessary programs. Mike Madigan knows that, but he thinks voters aren't paying attention, so they'll believe his slick mailers making these patently false and outrageous claims.

Peter Stands with Women

Madigan and his allies also regularly use deceptive titles for their bills. A title may indicate one thing about a bill, but the text of the bill may do something entirely different. Or the bill may have some good parts, but then include other parts that would do grave harm. Recent mailpieces and TV ads from Madigan/Howard viciously and falsely claimed Peter was against women, including allegations that he is against equal pay and equal rights for women.


Here's the truth on Equal Pay: Peter supports our Illinois Equal Pay Act, which has been the law since 2003. It is balanced and provides strong protections for women who are discriminated against in the workplace. But Howard's deceptive mailers cite a Madigan bill I strongly opposed last year, which was written to benefit special interests. That bill would have forced every employer in our state, from the smallest to the largest, to justify every penny of any difference in pay between any two employees with similar job duties. This would hit small businesses, more of which are started by women than men, the hardest. First off, instead of putting the burden on the person making a claim, this bill would shift the burden to an employer--and if a small businessperson loses, they are fined and have to pay the other person's attorney's fees. Small businesses don't have the same sort of strict pay scales and policies that large employers do, so they would have little way of rebutting a claim under this bill. Nor do small businesses have lawyers and Human Resources professionals on staff to fight off meritless claims, brought by lawyers who know they would be able to squeeze those small businesses for a payday, to avoid the cost of hiring attorneys and spending years tied up in court.

Here's the truth on the ERA: Peter supports full equal rights for women, and vigorous court process to secure those rights. The ERA wouldn't in any way help those rights or that court process, and proponents could not point to a single example where ERA would help women secure any new rights. Moreover, ratification of the ERA, as with most modern constitutional amendments, was limited to seven years after its adoption by Congress in 1972. You can't ratify an amendment that's not alive--any vote claiming to be a ratification is a nullity and would be both unconstitutional and illegal. Another critical point is that, despite the proponents of ERA not providing any examples of inequality that would be addressed under ERA, there is one area where state-level versions of ERA have been used: to force a right to taxpayer-funded abortions. In New Mexico and Connecticut, without any sort of legislative vote or vote of the people, the courts interpreted those state's ERA abortion to overturn bans on the use of taxpayers' money to pay for elective abortions. Whatever your position on abortion, the overwhelming majority of folks in Illinois do not think their tax dollars should be diverted to fund other people's elective abortions. I made a speech on the House Floor during the ERA debate, which you can click here to view.

Here's the truth on Abortion: The claim that Peter filed a bill to ban abortion is false. The bill Peter actually filed would create the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," and you can click here to review it. The broad majority of folks in the 48th District agree with Peter that, whatever your view on abortion, tax dollars should not be diverted to pay for other people's elective abortions. That's doubly true in a state with such fiscal issues as Illinois. Peter also strongly supports parental involvement before an abortion can be performed on a minor. A child can't get an asprin or take a field trip to the Art Institute without a permission slip, and Peter believes the same should be true about elective surgical procedures like abortions. Terra Costa Howard believes the exact opposite: Howard supported the new law that forces taxpayers to fund others' elective abortions (roughly 20,000-30,000 per year, at a cost of $10M-15M), and she would vote to repeal our state's current law requiring Parental Notice before Abortions on minors.

Peter Stands for Public Safety and Responsible Firearms Regulations

The Madigan/Howard mail pieces and TV ads claim that Peter went with the NRA to keep guns in the hands of criminals. 


Here's another area where CBS 2 called the Madigan/Howard claims "False." The truth is that Peter is the only candidate running for state rep endorsed by both Illinois' "GPAC," short for Gun Violence Prevention PAC, and by the national organization Giffords, which was founded by former Cong. Gabby Giffords, who was nearly fatally wounded by a gunman during a community event at a grocery store in her district. Peter is designated by Mom's Demand Action as a "gun sense" candidate, too. When a very flawed "red flag" bill arrived from the Senate, Peter got to work. He directed significant amendments and co-wrote what became our state's new "Firearms Restraining Order" law. This new measure now provides law enforcement and family members with a means to get guns out of the hands of violent and disturbed individuals, before they do grave harm to our children (or to themselves). This new law is recognized as possibly the national model for red flag legislation. Peter also voted to ban bump stocks, and for other public safety measures.

Terra Howard Hiked Property Taxes Eight Straight Years


On the District 41 School Board, Terra Costa Howard hiked property taxes for eight years straight, including being the deciding vote to break ties in two years. You can see the minutes of those school board meetings by clicking here.

Terra Howard Repeatedly Violated Campaign Finance Transparency Laws


The Election Board held this year that Terra Costa Howard committed at least nine violations of Illinois campaign finance laws. She withheld from the public eight different $1,000+ donations and hid coordinated spending between herself and "Personal PAC," the multi-million-dollar political arm of Illinois' abortion clinics. You can read the Election Board's decision by clicking here.

Terra Howard Repeatedly Violated Government Official Income Transparency Laws


Terra Costa Howard repeatedly withheld from sworn government filings her sources of income. These annual filings are required by law of anyone involved in state government. The penalties for withholding information include a $1,000 fine and one year in jail. You can click here to review her filing concealing her private law business income. You can click here to review her three years of filings concealing her other government employment interests.