A potentially politically embarrassing civil lawsuit against Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Duckworth, alleging workplace retaliation during her time as head of the state Department of Veterans Affairs, was settled Friday for $26,000 from the state, with no finding of wrongdoing.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office, representing Duckworth in the case, said in a statement that during a pre-trial settlement conference in Downstate Union County “it became clear that we could resolve this matter… for nuisance value — saving the state the costs of lawyers preparing for and trying the case.”
Madigan spokeswoman Maura Possley said the $26,000 award to two workers at the Anna Veteran’s Home “will cover attorney’s fees and all costs,” and the “settlement is based on the agreement that there is no finding of a violation of the law.”
The lawsuit, which had been scheduled for trial mid-August, had been the dominant theme of Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk’s early attacks on Duckworth, currently a two-term congresswoman from Hoffman Estates, as he seeks re-election.
They settled for fees and costs, meaning the plaintiffs didn’t get a dime.
* But that isn’t stopping the Kirk campaign…
“We now know that there are 26,000 reasons why Tammy Duckworth was guilty. The simple truth is that if Tammy Duckworth was innocent, she would not have settled this case. Instead of taking the stand and testifying, Duckworth has chosen to stay silent and settle the case at taxpayer expense in order to hide from the truth. Duckworth’s actions have cost Illinois taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars while prolonging the legacy of Rod Blagojevich corruption.”
* And Sen. Kirk had this to say to WGN TV…
“If you’re innocent, you will demand to testify, and the people of Illinois deserve to see this Blagojevich official be on the stand and under oath.”
Duckworth’s campaign on Friday called the case a “frivolous workplace case that dragged on over eight years.” Campaign spokesman Matt McGrath pointed the finger at the Kirk campaign for telling voters the case was about Duckworth endangering the care of veterans and that taxpayers would be on the hook for a six-figure settlement.
“Kirk had clearly pinned his desperate campaign hopes on what a federal judge deemed a ‘garden variety workplace case,’ and now it’s clear he’s got nothing left to offer Illinois families,” McGrath said.