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*** UPDATED x1 *** Mcconnaughay says she just now learned of 27 separate complaints against legislators

Wednesday, Nov 1, 2017

* Sen. Karen Mcconnaughay…

As a member of the Legislative Ethics Commission, I’ve been frustrated with the fact that no Inspector General has been appointed despite candidates’ names to take that role having been submitted. Nonetheless, the recent public exposure of accusations about disturbing behavior by a State Senator has led to even more concerns about the methods and means under which this important Commission operates.

Today, my worst fears became reality when I found out that committee members have had important information withheld about allegations that go far beyond one individual.

As late as this week, and after repeated inquiries by myself and others, members were assured that there were “no pending cases” before the Ethics Commission. Today, I discovered that staff is, in reality, holding up to 27 separate complaints against members of the Illinois General Assembly, and have used the fact that no Inspector General has been named as the reason there are—technically—no pending cases since it only becomes a “case” when it is reviewed by the Inspector General.

Upon discovering the fact that files containing serious accusations have been withheld from the Commission, I placed a call to Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office to inform them of the situation and ask for guidance on how we can pursue a remedy. I have also formally asked Commission Chair State Senator Terry Link to convene an emergency meeting as soon as plausible to put this situation on the table to be resolved.

Since joining the General Assembly in 2013, I have never witnessed a more serious abuse of the public’s trust, and firmly believe that the only way to fix this is by exposing what really goes on in these matters to the public. Please note that many of my colleagues were kept in the dark as well, and this information about possible ethics violations is controlled by a small handful of people who must now explain to taxpayers why the information was withheld, who directed them to do so, and all other pertinent details.

We will not get past these problems until full public disclosure takes place, and it must start NOW.

Whoa.

* And, once again, keep in mind this claim from just last week

(T)he office of the state’s legislative inspector general sits empty. The Legislative Ethics Commission’s executive director, Randy Erferd, attends only to the group’s administrative needs and did not return calls for comment by publication.

Despite this, $312,500 were appropriated for the Office of the Legislative Inspector General in this year’s budget. The same amount was appropriated in 2013, 2014, 2015, and for the 2016-2017 year. A total of $1,875,000 million has been appropriated for an office which has not been occupied and to pay for a staff which doesn’t exist. […]

“We haven’t found an appropriate person but I want to hasten to add that there have been no reports of ethics violations during that period of time so it’s not like there’s something that hasn’t been done,” [Rep. Lou Lang] said.

*** UPDATE ***  I missed this yesterday, but Speaker Madigan read out the number of complaints filed in the past few years during the committee’s question and answer period

2015: 15 complaints
2016: 8
2017: 3

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* Meanwhile…


- Posted by Rich Miller        

61 Comments »
  1. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 4:43 pm:

    27, people. Boom.


  2. - AuH2O - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 4:44 pm:

    Let me guess…the names of the legislators are exempt from FOIA.


  3. - Chicago_Downstater - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 4:46 pm:

    This is absolutely absurd. Everyone calling for survivors to name names this is why a lot of folks stay quiet. We know nothing is going to be done to the offender, but something is very likely to happen to the accuser. This is just an outlandishly cartoonish example of the stacked deck against survivors.

    This needs to be fixed immediately.


  4. - Ahoy! - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 4:48 pm:

    Madigan might be trying to get ahead of this to cover his and some of his members rears. All of the stories coming out of this are just absurd and it is shameful that people in leadership did nothing and are still doing nothing (I don’t count some cya training legislation as doing something).


  5. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 4:49 pm:

    Wow. Wow. Wow. This is very big.


  6. - hisgirlfriday - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 4:50 pm:

    Gross.

    Madigan and Cullerton got some ’splaining to do.


  7. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 4:52 pm:

    McConaughey needs to expand on her statement.

    Who was withholding the allegations, and how did she learn of them today?

    Who was collecting these allegations and who did know about them, “this small handful of people?”

    This has the potential to blow the lid off the Dome. Twenty-seven is a big number.


  8. - Responsa - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 4:53 pm:

    Well, this is a fine kettle of fish.


  9. - Just Observing - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 4:54 pm:

    Just for clarification… these are complaints against legislators, not necessarily sexual in nature. Right??


  10. - WTFWYT - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 4:55 pm:

    == Today, I discovered that staff is, in reality, holding up to 27 separate complaints against members of the Illinois General Assembly==

    How would she know? The executive director cannot divulge that information. That cannot be true.


  11. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 4:55 pm:

    Lang should be eviscerated for this. Not to mention the leaders.


  12. - Casual observer - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 4:56 pm:

    So 27 people filed complaints that got buried. I’m curious what has happened to their careers since.


  13. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 4:56 pm:

    Impossible. Lou Lang assured us all last week that all is well.


  14. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 4:57 pm:

    This is sickening. It strengthens the “Because Madigan” argument.

    Not good for the State.


  15. - Chris P. Bacon - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 4:57 pm:

    Nice CYA letter.

    But more importantly this is an enormous scandal. The IL GOP could make political hay, if they weren’t so inept and if they also didn’t have dirty hands.


  16. - Responsa - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 4:57 pm:

    Maybe this is how Illinois gets a new Speaker?


  17. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 4:57 pm:

    I think I just witnessed a 27 megaton thermonuclear political explosion go off.

    Loving God be with us.


  18. - W Flag - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:00 pm:

    It makes me think that the committeemen may be choosing a large number of replacement candidates during the next election cycle.


  19. - JB13 - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:00 pm:

    Any chance those 27 reports could *accidentally* find their way into the hands of someone who won’t try to cover them up?


  20. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:01 pm:

    Madigan knew this bombshell was coming.


  21. - Checkers - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:02 pm:

    This is major news. 27 complaints have been essentially covered up. Someone has some serious explaining to do.


  22. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:03 pm:

    27 complaints. I wonder if that means 27 different legislators, or specific legislators who are repeat offenders.


  23. - Responsa - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:04 pm:

    ==Madigan knew this bombshell was coming.==

    Maybe Lisa had an inkling of it coming down the pike, too. Just a thought.


  24. - Springfield - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:10 pm:

    I bet many of those are more serious than the one against Silverstein. He had the bad luck of being the first name. The next 27 chapters will be fascinating.


  25. - OneMan - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:12 pm:

    It may be time to rethink it whole ‘legislature gets to set its own rules and police itself’ stuff.

    Today, I discovered that staff is, in reality, holding up to 27 separate complaints against members of the Illinois General Assembly, and have used the fact that no Inspector General has been named as the reason there are—technically—no pending cases since it only becomes a “case” when it is reviewed by the Inspector General.

    The words that come to mind are all words Rich doesn’t let us use here.


  26. - Responsa - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:12 pm:

    I wonder if Rodogno, so recently in leadership, might have any observations, thoughts or insights to share regarding this particular matter.


  27. - Suburban Hillbilly - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:13 pm:

    THE QUESTION that needs to be asked are there 27 sexual harassment claims? There could be a claim on many other issues. And the reason these are not made public until a finding is made is that this office could be used for partisan attacks.


  28. - Moderate Condor - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:13 pm:

    Is it 27 ethics complaints total or 27 related to harassment?


  29. - ILPundit - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:14 pm:

    Sweet Christmas, this is really, really bad.


  30. - Montrose - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:17 pm:

    And we thought there was a lot of turnover in the legislature so far…


  31. - Responsa - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:20 pm:

    There’s a potential Pulitzer story here if some local reporters have the gumption and courage to get together and go at it.


  32. - Bigtwich - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:20 pm:

    (5 ILCS 430/25-10 . . . “The Legislative Ethics Commission shall diligently search out qualified candidates for Legislative Inspector General and shall make recommendations to the General Assembly.”

    Members http://www.ilga.gov/commission/lec/Members.asp


  33. - State Sen. Clay Davis - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:22 pm:

    If these are the facts, this is a disqualifying event for all involved. Who is on the staff and has access to these complaints?
    Who appointed them?
    Who do they report to?
    Every person on that staff that sat on these files should be punished, and whoever they report to should resign.


  34. - Sue - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:25 pm:

    Anyone still wonder about the need for leadership term limits. Now we find out what exactly Madigan means when he says his first focus is retaining his Speakership. So my question is where are the Dem voices crying out for reform and investigation. What chance is there that we get to the bottom of this swamp after Madigan protected the auditor general from his ethical lapse


  35. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:31 pm:

    Yeah they are not necessarily sexual harassment complaints. They could be other types of discrimination, financial improprieties, influence peddling, bribery, you know garden variety stuff. Yes they should remain confidential until resolved, but that assumes someone is actually trying to resolve them.

    I look forward to someone spinning that things must be getting better because the number of complaints is going down. /s


  36. - Just Visiting - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:31 pm:

    Took a little too long but Cullerton finally stepped up. Why is Lou Lang being given a pass on this? I certainly hope the press hounds him relentlessly until he does right by anyone who has filed a complaint. For Leader Lang to stand by his comment that there have been no complaints is absurd.


  37. - Responsa - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:35 pm:

    ==Why is Lou Lang being given a pass on this?==

    I wouldn’t say Lou is getting a pass on this—at least not on this blog.


  38. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:39 pm:

    Sue you should not assume that Republicans are not named in any of these complaints. Your president has shown lechery exists on both sides of the aisle.


  39. - Perrid - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:41 pm:

    What exactly can the IG do? As far as I can see the state officials and employees act lets the post fine certain activities, mostly related to money related offenses. And the position has existed since 2003, what will be different now as compared to before the old IG retired?


  40. - OneMan - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:41 pm:

    Anonymous–

    Very true, but regardless of party this would seem to illustrate why the same leadership forever isn’t a great idea.


  41. - ILPundit - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:42 pm:

    I don’t know what happens next…but I feel certain that we will be canceling some session days next


  42. - Sue - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:48 pm:

    Anon- there may very well be R’s on the list. My comment focuses on the fact that it is the Dems that control the investigatory process which seems to be non-existent thanks to Madigan and Cullerton


  43. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 5:54 pm:

    Members of the Legislative Ethics Commission might want to explain why they haven’t been doing their jobs.

    It’s their responsibility to initiate and recommend the appointment of an Inspector General, who is then subject to approval of three of the four legislative leaders.

    The commission, on it’s own initiative, and subject to no one, may appoint a special inspector general.

    http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=000504300HArt.+25&ActID=2529&ChapterID=2&SeqStart=5200000&SeqEnd=7400000


  44. - Dohnuts - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 6:04 pm:

    Sue - you might want to read the statute. Democrats don’t control the investigative process. Geez


  45. - Perrid - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 6:06 pm:

    Before we rake Lang over the coals, did he know of the 27? Did he decide to split hairs, or did the person who gave him the numbers split the hairs?


  46. - Perrid - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 6:11 pm:

    And this is me being very very cynical, but Mcconnaughay was told that there were no cases, 0, for years on end and believed that? Maybe she is just that trusting but it almost sounds like she might be protesting too much. This is pure speculation on my part obviously.


  47. - Terribilius - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 6:32 pm:

    This is but another shining example of the caliber of people we have as our elected officials. Exceptionally low.


  48. - Jack Kelly - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 6:34 pm:

    ===Sue you should not assume that Republicans are not named in any of these complaints. Your president has shown lechery exists on both sides of the aisle===
    My observation going out late is both sides are out looking to hook up. I’m just going out drinking but there is no doubt this is an equal problem on both sides of the aisle.
    Now I have seen plenty of legislator crossing a line I don’t think their constituents will approve of but I have no knowledge anyone crossing a line between two consenting adults. Not saying it didn’t happen and it probably did but I didn’t witness or hear about it. Either way it’s good people are speaking out.


  49. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 7:04 pm:

    Sue, you suggested that they were protecting fellow Democrats. It’s your knee-jerk response to everything, and it’s tired.


  50. - Tony - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 7:34 pm:

    Not buying all the outrage from Mcconnaughay. She’s been on the commission but has never asked questions about what’s going on with pending cases until now? I’m not saying she deserves anywhere near the level of blame that Madigan and Cullerton should get, but c’mon. No one on that commission has clean hands right now.


  51. - Whatever - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 7:57 pm:

    How is the blame placed solely on Madigan, or Madigan and Cullerton? The LIG is appointed by joint resolution, and anyone can sponsor a joint resolution. Has anyone introduced one? Any legislator who hasn’t done so is, in form, just as negligent as anyone else. And certainly don’t see how term limits on leadership will improve anything.


  52. - cdog - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 8:01 pm:

    What an abuse of public trust.

    Only humiliation in the public square will be just for anyone covering up ethics investigations.

    Bring down any cabal that thinks it’s wise to allow unethical behavior to continue without investigation.

    Resignations just might be in order after the facts are known.


  53. - Juvenal - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 8:15 pm:

    Seems its the executive director that has some explaining to do, not Madigan.


  54. - public - Wednesday, Nov 1, 17 @ 10:56 pm:

    FUNNY- Now the republicans looked into how many complaints were filed… I guess there were unable to figure out there were any complaints to this very moment. No news was good news, huh?

    Way to try to get ahead of the game… can’t wait to see how many complaints were filed against the House Rep Caucus members that already resigned - i.e. Santa Paws

    I’m sure his handsy and inappropriate behavior was Madigan’s fault too…


  55. - Not It - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 12:55 am:

    Paging Susan Garrett: are you really going to let the legislature appoint its own inspector general? Aren’t you an expert on this matter?


  56. - Baggs McCoy - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 6:36 am:

    Folks people may be jumping the gun a little bit. How does the Senator know the 27 complaints are against legislators. As a commission member she should not have access to this information until the Inspector finds them legitimate and sends them to the commission. My guess is she has a summary that says there are X amount of cases and she just assumed they were against legislators. The Leg. Ethics Commission covers employees too. Do we seriously think all these complaints are sexual in nature? Most of them, according to Madigan, were filed in the pre-Trump & Weinstein enlightenment.


  57. - Baggs McCoy - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 8:19 am:

    If you do nothing else today read this article. The authors do a tremendous job of explaining the various duties of the Legislative Ethics commission and the Legislative Inspector General.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-met-illinois-capitol-sexual-harassment-changes-20171101-story.html


  58. - RIJ - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 8:34 am:

    This is not a Republican or Democratic problem. It is a males in power problem.


  59. - Flippy - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 9:28 am:

    Ruh roh.


  60. - Jolly1 - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 9:31 am:

    This Illinois General Assembly and it’s members are a disgrace to the Public they are suppose to serve.


  61. - Chicago_Downstater - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 9:36 am:

    @Baggs McCoy

    That’s a fair warning to heed. I would argue at the very least that this does not pass a smell test and a new IG should be appointed immediately. But here’s to hoping you’re right & it’s not as bad as it looks.


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