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Bustos staffer resigns after racist recording surfaces

Monday, Oct 27, 2014

* As I told you earlier this afternoon, Bobby Schilling’s campaign released a recording of what it claimed were racist remarks by a staff member in Congresswoman Cheri Bustos’ Rock Island district office.

From Bustos herself…

“These comments are unacceptable on every front. I heard them for the first time this afternoon on my drive from Peoria to Rockford. The staff member on the recording offered her resignation and I accepted effective immediately. She is no longer employed in my office. I have begun sitting down with the African American leadership in our communities to express my outrage and disappointment over these comments.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Northsider - Monday, Oct 27, 14 @ 5:22 pm:

    Props to Rep. Bustos for handing this quickly and correctly.

  2. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Oct 27, 14 @ 5:23 pm:


    However, there’s still a lot of unanswered questions. 1) Who made the tape? 2) Why was this sat on for months and months? It clearly wasn’t sitting around because someone thought a racist Bustos staffer need to go.

  3. - Wordslinger - Monday, Oct 27, 14 @ 5:24 pm:

    Gee, that took a long time.

    Good luck trying to sell that Cheri tolerates racism.a

  4. - Carl Nyberg - Monday, Oct 27, 14 @ 5:26 pm:

    Bustos is going to beat Schilling, but I’m left feeling that Bustos has percolated to a level above her competence level.

    She’s not going to be another Lane Evans. She’s just another mediocre member of the US House of Representatives hanging around until she gets a pension.

    It’s hard to be strong at constituent service or advancing bills if you don’t hire good people.

  5. - Amateur Hour - Monday, Oct 27, 14 @ 5:28 pm:

    Who was the staffer?

  6. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Oct 27, 14 @ 5:39 pm:

    Good questions, PC.

    Hopefully some columnists are going to ask them.

  7. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Oct 27, 14 @ 5:42 pm:

    I suspect the “constituent” was actually working for the Shilling campaign.

    Why else record the conversation?

    Why sit on it for almost a year?

  8. - D.P.Gumby - Monday, Oct 27, 14 @ 5:42 pm:

    move along, move along, nothing to see here, Go order a pizza.

  9. - Almost the Weekend - Monday, Oct 27, 14 @ 5:44 pm:

    PC @ 5:23PM

    Who cares. Are you implying that if she knew she was recorded she wouldn’t have said that? Of course she wouldn’t of. You find good government employees by what they do when nobody is watching. And this woman wasn’t that. Racism doesn’t belong anywhere in government or society. I thought this was handled fast, efficiently, and in the proper manner. Anything else would not have been OK. Bustos faltered on the paycut but handled this the best way possible.

  10. - And I Approved This Message - Monday, Oct 27, 14 @ 5:44 pm:

    Carl Nyberg - Can we stipulate that pretty much no one is “going to be another Lane Evans?” One of a kind and wouldn’t have liked any possible comparisons. The Congresswoman moved swiftly and decisively to do the right thing.

  11. - John A. Logan - Monday, Oct 27, 14 @ 5:47 pm:

    Am I the only one not seeing racism? There is not a single mention of race here. I am sure all of us would be happy to have everything we have ever said printed and poured through. Not to mention the fact that the area of Rockford that Congress woman Bustos represents happens to be the highest crime section of Rockford. Facts seem to bother people, and truth usually gets fired in today’s politically correct society, even when it is said in passing, during a private conversation, apparently during laughter. compare the maps and get a clue.

  12. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 27, 14 @ 5:48 pm:

    ===Why sit on it for almost a year?===

    You don’t know the answer to that question? C’mon.

  13. - Federalist - Monday, Oct 27, 14 @ 6:39 pm:

    Carl Nyberg,

    I agree with your analysis.

    But Schilling is not exactly stellar either.

  14. - Jeanne Dough - Monday, Oct 27, 14 @ 6:59 pm:

    “It’s hard to be strong at constituent service or advancing bills if you don’t hire good people.”

    I have contacted Bustos’s office on several occasions with paperwork issues for legal residents. I have been met with courtesy and competence on all occasions. While this incident is certainly concerning, it is not typical of the staff with whom I have spoken.

  15. - Peoria Guy - Monday, Oct 27, 14 @ 8:32 pm:

    Very embarrassing for Bustos. She may win, but she is not up to the job.

  16. - Carroll County - Monday, Oct 27, 14 @ 8:51 pm:

    John Logan, Polite people don’t talk in obvious code like that. An employee in a government office talking to a stranger? What a numbskull.

    Hopefully the last of the old school Rock Island labor democrats are out of her office now. Have a nice retirement, whoever you are.

    If I may stereotype too, I imagine Rock Island 25 years ago filled with big burly ethnic European factory guys, looking like Phil Hare, drinking all night after a shift at Deere, you know what I mean?

    Democratic conventions must have been interesting about 10-15 years ago when the old guard would have still had equal power with the new.

  17. - VanillaMan - Monday, Oct 27, 14 @ 10:17 pm:

    Good. That is how it is done.
    Obviously when Bustos needs to fix a problem made by a staffer, she is right on it.

    Unfortunately, the same cannot be said when she is the problem. Had she used the same level of decisiveness regarding her broken promise, she would have actually looked like an honest competent congressperson.

    It’s easier for her to boot someone else, than to admit a mistake, isn’t it?

  18. - Oracle - Monday, Oct 27, 14 @ 10:37 pm:

    Bustos didn’t handle this. First off, it wasn’t just a staffer, it was her district director. Second of all. she accepted her resignation. No, Im sorry. You’re fired! There is no place in our governemment office for people who think like this, or anywhere else for that matter. But just because the tape became public you assume that this is not Bustos’ thought pattern? Look up some of her earlier quotes when she worked on the Times ” most violent crimes are committed by black people.” It sure sounds like the same kind of language her district director was using. Kudos to whomever caught this bigot on tape!

  19. - Peoria Guy - Tuesday, Oct 28, 14 @ 7:01 am:

    The Obama approach to governing (VA, health website, IRS, secret service, etc). Bustos is a bystander outraged at what is happening right under her nose. “I will not stand for it and I am mad as hell” she says about things happening under her watch. Well, it is a shame other people have to point her issues and broken promises.

  20. - ethicslover - Tuesday, Oct 28, 14 @ 7:13 am:

    Oracle and Peoria guy, you are so off base. Anyone who works for Cheri now or in the past knows her stance on discrimination of any kind. Anyone who tries to make this a race issue with Cheri will not make it far. And as far as happening right under her nose, she has four offices in her

    district and in DC.

    district and in DC.. That too is a false statement.

  21. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 28, 14 @ 8:04 am:

    It is a management issue.

  22. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 28, 14 @ 8:10 am:

    and yes, in today’s society when a key staffer talks like this it is a race issue also.

  23. - ethicslover - Tuesday, Oct 28, 14 @ 8:25 am:

    It is a management issue ultimately, and Cheri dealt with it immediately. Do you really think any one person can control every word being said at any given time?

  24. - Peoria Guy - Tuesday, Oct 28, 14 @ 10:11 am:

    No, but you can sure do a better job of hiring than that.

  25. - ethicslover - Tuesday, Oct 28, 14 @ 10:40 am:

    You are out of touch, Peoria guy. Do you really think anyone would admit to having any kind of prejudices; especially to a Democratic boss with her mission statement on the wall?

  26. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 28, 14 @ 2:20 pm:

    Bustos had a high ranking staffer who was a racist and, apparently didn’t keep it a secret. That speaks for itself.

  27. - ethicslover - Tuesday, Oct 28, 14 @ 2:34 pm:

    I worked with very higher ups who used the “N” word.
    Guess what? They are still there. I admire Cheri for taking action immediately.

  28. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 28, 14 @ 2:43 pm:

    Cheri had no choice. None.

    Now, if she would have only kept her word on her 10% salary reduction. THAT would be something to admire.

  29. - Lessismore - Tuesday, Oct 28, 14 @ 9:20 pm:

    Cheri sets the tone for her office.

    Her district director felt comfortable talking like this toms stranger because this is office culture.

    Cheri needs to be honest.

  30. - A.D. - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 1:29 pm:

    I thought it was illegal to record a conversation without the consent of the person being taped.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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