*** UPDATE 1 *** From the Bill Brady campaign…
“This is yet another stunning report involving the administration of Governor Pat Quinn. Today’s revelation suggests that on the very day Pat Quinn was confronted with evidence by the Inspector General of an ethics violation, Pat Quinn put his political interests before citizens yet again and fired the Inspector General himself. This disturbing report leads to a myriad of questions that the citizens of Illinois deserve to have answered.”
*** UPDATE 2 *** Gov. Quinn’s statement…
[ *** End Of Updates *** ]
“Gov. Quinn has accepted Jerry Stermer’s resignation, effective immediately.
“The Office of the Governor complies with investigations of the Office of the Executive Inspector General and takes its inquiries very seriously.
“Jerry Stermer, who previously led the nonprofit organization Voices for Illinois Children for more than 20 years, has served as Gov. Quinn’s chief of staff since Feb. 9, 2009, at an annual salary of $150,000.
“In the case of the three emails in question, Jerry Stermer himself reported the inadvertent use of his state email account to both the governor’s ethics officer and the Office of the Executive Inspector General in order to allow the OEIG to both investigate and recommend corrective action under the state Ethics Act. Jerry Stermer disclosed the emails to the appropriate authorities in order to address the emails in the most honest and ethical manner possible.
“Gov. Quinn was briefed on the OEIG’s report and recommendations on Aug. 13 and has accepted Jerry Stermer’s offer to resign from his position as chief of staff, effective immediately.
“Ricardo Meza was appointed by Gov. Quinn to head the Office of the Executive Inspector General on August 15, 2010 after a lengthy search process which began in the summer of 2009. Ricardo Meza replaced an inspector general appointed by the previous administration whose term expired in 2008. The replacement was not in response to this or any other specific OEIG report, and these events are in no way connected.
“Gov. Quinn is committed to reforming state government, increasing ethics and accountability. All allegations are taken seriously, and acted on as appropriate.”
* Gov. Pat Quinn’s chief of staff Jerry Stermer has resigned, but the resignation raises more questions than it answers. Why? This..
Quinn removed [Executive Inspector General James A. Wright] Aug. 13, the same day the governor was briefed by his staff about findings against Stermer by the executive inspector general.
Wright concluded that Stermer “engaged in prohibited political activity” and encouraged Attorney General Lisa Madigan to file a complaint against him before the state Executive Ethics Commission, according to a confidential report written by Wright and obtained by the Sun-Times.
Normally, one would say that this firing of Wright is a blatant attempt at a cover-up. But Stermer actually reported himself to the OEIG…
Stermer, Quinn’s chief of staff since February 2009, actually initiated a complaint with Wright’s office Jan. 12 to report that campaign-related e-mails he sent “inadvertently” last October and December from his state-issued BlackBerry or personal computer may have broken state ethics laws.
“While my intention was not to do anything wrong, I recognized that a mistake was made and quickly disclosed this information to the governor’s ethics officer — a former assistant U.S. attorney — who recommended that I provide the information to the OEIG for appropriate investigation,” Stermer said. “I voluntarily provided the information to the OEIG for investigation, and made it clear that I was prepared to accept the consequences for my mistakes.”
The plot thickens…
The first of Stermer’s alleged missteps came last Oct. 11 in a response to an e-mail sent a day earlier from the Quinn campaign’s media consultant, John Kupper. He wanted to formulate a response to an expected argument from Democratic gubernatorial rival Dan Hynes about Quinn being a “tax and spender,” the Wright report said.
That ain’t much, and neither are the other two e-mails. If that’s really all Stermer did, and if Stermer really did report his own behavior way back in January, then why, all of a sudden, was Wright demanding an attorney general complaint with the ethics commission? It took him eight months to conclude that Stermer was a bad guy?
Still, firing your inspector general the same day he files a report against your own chief of staff - no matter how rinky dink - is a really stupid idea. Wright could’ve been playing some internal politics to keep his job, but that’s the way it goes. Dumping him that same day was truly idiotic.
Also, John Kupper is the “K” in AKPD, which was fired last week as Quinn’s media consultant. Everybody’s going down at once, it appears.
What a great way to kick off the first week after the Blagojevich verdict.
…Adding… Jerry Stermer’s full statement…
“I have offered my resignation as Gov. Quinn’s chief of staff effective immediately.
“Last year, I inadvertently used my state email account to send three emails that the Office of Executive Inspector General later found to be prohibited under the state’s Ethics Act. While my intention was not to do anything wrong, I recognized that a mistake was made and quickly disclosed this information to the governor’s ethics officer - a former assistant U.S. attorney - who recommended that I provide the information to the OEIG for appropriate investigation. I voluntarily provided the information to the OEIG for investigation and made it clear that I was prepared to accept the consequences for my mistakes.
“The people of Illinois must have full confidence in the leadership of their state, and I will not be a distraction in achieving that goal. Gov. Quinn has built his career on the belief that government must be honest and accountable. Today, I am holding myself accountable for a mistake I alone made. I do not want to be a distraction for the governor, the work of his administration and - most importantly - for the people of Illinois. “