She is the daughter of the powerful Illinois House speaker, the state's first female attorney general and a rising star in the Democratic party.
Madigan is threatening to file a lawsuit asking the state Supreme Court to declare Blagojevich unfit to hold office if he doesn't resign or get impeached. The move put her in the national spotlight as the scandal unfolds before a huge audience because of its connections to Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat.
"Nobody would wish this on your state," said the 42-year-old Madigan, a former state senator who was elected attorney general in 2002.
Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday on federal corruption charges after being accused of trying to enrich himself by selling his appointment to Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder.
Madigan was already considering a run for governor, but she has risen to new prominence this week.
Madigan is a well-known foe of Blagojevich just like her father, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, who would oversee impeachment proceedings in his chamber, something lawmakers are eager for if Blagojevich doesn't quit.
Lisa Madigan isn't known only because of who her father is in Illinois politics. She has built a national reputation for herself as attorney general largely through her office's work on consumer protection issues, including mortgage relief to help struggling property owners stay in their homes.
Her office this fall helped negotiate a national settlement to resolve a predatory lending lawsuit against Countrywide Financial Corp., which Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America Corp. acquired over the summer. It included a model loan modification program.
"If we can work to keep people in their homes, and if we can do that in a way that does not further hurt taxpayers, we will be able to help the overall economy," Madigan said in October.
She knows she can always go to her dad for advice if needed.
"My father's not a big talker, right, you've noticed," she said, laughing. "Believe it or not ... he's not a big talker to me either. You know when I want ... his advice or his opinion, I'm obviously always free to ask but, you know, he's my father."
Madigan, who has worked as a teacher and as a litigator for a Chicago firm, holds an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and a law degree from Loyola University in Chicago. She is married to cartoonist Pat Byrnes and the couple have two children.
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