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Ives calls sexual harassment bill “virtue-signaling legislation,” while Reick walks it back

Thursday, Nov 2, 2017

* Press release…

The role of Illinois Legislative Inspector General, an agency responsible for uncovering wrongdoing at the highest levels of Illinois government, has been vacant since December 2014. Yesterday it was reported that legislative staff in Springfield is holding up to 27 separate sexual harassment complaints against members of the Illinois General Assembly. A complaint must be filed with the Legislative Inspector General to be considered a “case.” Through that loophole, the political establishment in Springfield has been able to claim that there are no pending cases of sexual harassment. State Representative Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) issued the following statement calling on Governor Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) to fill the position immediately:

“Illinois has a reputation for political corruption. Government transparency and accountability should be top priorities for any leader who is serious about reform,” said Ives. “The charges of sexual harassment recently brought to light by Denise Rotheimer went unheard for a year. She was forced to suffer Senator Silverstein’s unwanted advances for a year. It was only out of political necessity that she was given a hearing at all. Twenty-seven other complaints of sexual harassment are being held by staff members and do not count as cases. Through its inaction, the ILGA has reaffirmed to women across the state that speaking up about the harassment of someone who is politically powerful will get you a one-way ticket to nowhere. They have reminded women and girls that they will just have to deal with it, because that’s the way it is. It is an inexcusable injustice.”

“Sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination have a detrimental impact on institutions. This is a very serious charge. While the problem is rampant in Springfield, it has not been taken seriously by this state’s political leadership over the past two years. I understand the importance of protecting the women working in state government. And I take it seriously regardless of who is implicated. In order to properly prosecute offenders, legislative leaders must appoint a Legislative Inspector General.”

“The fact that we have gone three years without a Legislative IG in place is a failure of both parties. starting with those in the majority party in both chambers. We should know if other members were being protected as Cullerton protected the complaint against Sen. Silverstein from a proper and timely investigation.”

“We should have an expeditious appointment of a Legislative IG to exercise oversight and provide a channel for any persons who believed they were wronged to lodge a complaint. This is more important than the virtue-signaling legislation being advanced at present by people who were unserious about predatory behavior for too long to now pretend they are serious.”

“Illinoisans have seen too many instances in which those in power look the other way to protect those who keep them in power. I am running for Governor to restore accountability and respectability to state government.”

…Adding… This should go without saying, but the governor has nothing whatsoever to do with appointing a legislative inspector general. So, calling on Rauner to appoint an IG with Speaker Madigan is pretty darned goofy.

* Meanwhile, remember how Rep. Steve Reick (R-Harvard) vowed yesterday not to take the sexual harassment training? Well

We asked House GOP Leader Jim Durkin’s office about Reick’s response. A spokeswoman released a “clarifying statement” from Reick: “There’s a problem with the culture in Springfield. How has harassment been allowed to thrive for so long without any real attempts to address it? My fear is, and what I failed to clearly articulate, is that training won’t be enough to truly shock the system. I feel very strongly that those who have committed these acts through the years should be called out by name and forced to deal with their actions. Until then, I remain concerned that efforts to end harassment will fall short. I will support the proposed legislation, participate in any training it prescribes and will do my part to end the culture of harassment that’s existed for far too long in and around the Capitol.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

26 Comments
  1. - Grand Avenue - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 9:46 am:

    Ives needs to stop doing interviews. The entire appeal of her candidacy is that she is the conservative alternative to Rauner, especially on HB40, CPS Bailout & Trust Act. The more she talks, the less appealing an alternative she is.


  2. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 9:47 am:

    Reick- that long walk back from the tool shed is humiliatin’ ain’t it?


  3. - Eleven - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 9:47 am:

    “Virtue signaling.” When Ives opens her mouth, I hear Proft.


  4. - MickJ - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 9:47 am:

    Happy to see Republicans and some commenters here have abandoned the war on women. To paraphrase Victor Lazlo “Welcome to the fight. This time I *know* our side will win.” [airplane engines start]

    Hope you stick around; there is a lot to be done.


  5. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 9:47 am:

    Two problems with that statement. One, it seems clear the 27 other complaints are not all sexual harassment. Second, it’s a legislative post and all the Governor can do about filling it is call for it to be filled.


  6. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 9:48 am:

    Wood shed. D. Auto correct


  7. - YSW - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 9:54 am:

    Whenever there are sexual harassment allegations, there will always be a guy like Reick who effectively says “unless victims sacrifice their privacy, careers, and physical safety, I as a powerful man will do absolutely nothing to change the culture I help uphold.”


  8. - Thinking - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 9:56 am:

    Thanks Ron B. The 27 “complaints” may be against legislators but also may be against folks working for GA and not all will be sexual harassment claims. Many will be about false time sheets, doing political work on state time etc. I would appreciate both Ives and McConnaughay putting forth accurate facts. It doesn’t excuse the post being vacant for so long and the complaints being ignored.


  9. - Honeybadger - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 9:56 am:

    MickJ-I was thinking the same thing.

    Lesson for all politicians, think before you say something, then ask someone if you should say it, then think about it again, then say it. But remember, words come can come back to haunt you.


  10. - anon2 - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 9:58 am:

    That was quick! Better late than never.


  11. - Baggs McCoy - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 9:59 am:

    Before assuming anything regarding these complaints lets all first read this insightful article. In it the authors point out that sexual harassment isn’t even a specific violation of the ethics act. (Which is completely ridiculous). So how many of these are sexual in nature. Can they even be tried. There is the failure. Also the Legislative Ethics Commission also covers employees so these complaints might not be all legislators.

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


  12. - Roman - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 10:01 am:

    == holding up to 27 separate sexual harassment complaints ==

    That’s not true, yet it keeps getting repeated. It’s 27 total cases, not sexual harassment.

    And since the ethics commission does not have statutory authority to investigate sexual harassment cases, is it possible that none of the 27 are harassment cases? Didn’t Rotheimer testify that she was referred back to Cullerton’s office by the ethics commission when she filed a complaint? Is that because the commission doesn’t take harassment complaints?


  13. - cdog - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 10:09 am:

    Madigan is virtuous now because he has grabbed a Senate bill to expeditiously train the Statehouse how not to be sex perps.

    Whew, so glad he’s in charge.

    (In order to believe the above statement, you have to ignore the fact that his body helped fund a $1.8m/yr notebook, where all complaints were held for several years.)


  14. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 10:13 am:

    Better to signal virtues than to signal a lack of them.


  15. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 10:14 am:

    Virtue Signaling? Good grief. I guess Jeanne is going to run her campaign for governor like she has operated as a legislator. Just channel the far-right wing and see what happens. Pro Tip: that’s not a good way to expand your 20%.


  16. - Go fetch - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 10:14 am:

    == “Virtue signaling.” When Ives opens her mouth, I hear Proft. =

    When Ives opens her mouth, I heard Proft and Larry Dominick.


  17. - Glenn - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 10:15 am:

    No IG signals Illinois government “is not ready for reform.”


  18. - SaulGoodman - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 10:23 am:

    **I guess Jeanne is going to run her campaign for governor like she has operated as a legislator. Just channel the far-right wing and see what happens.**

    I’m pretty sure that she isn’t aware that there are other options for how she can operate.


  19. - illini97 - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 10:26 am:

    “We should have an expeditious appointment of a Legislative IG to exercise oversight and provide a channel for any persons who believed they were wronged to lodge a complaint. This is more important than the virtue-signaling legislation being advanced at present by people who were unserious about predatory behavior for too long to now pretend they are serious.”

    I don’t get that. She’s a legislator, right? Why didn’t she do anything to submit legislation on this? Why didn’t she make noise about the Legislative IG at any point during the last three years?

    Virtue signaling? Me thinks thou doth protest too much.


  20. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 10:53 am:

    @Roman: it’s not even 27 cases, it’s 27 complaints. Some of those complaints may not allege violations, even if everything they say is true.


  21. - Carhartt Union Negotiating Team - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 11:22 am:

    A lot of virtuous, morally superior voices out there lately.


  22. - Honeybadger - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 12:08 pm:

    - Go fetch - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 10:14 am:

    == “Virtue signaling.” When Ives opens her mouth, I hear Proft. =

    When Ives opens her mouth, I heard Proft and Larry Dominick.

    At least the Dan Proft part.


  23. - Pundent - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 1:13 pm:

    =I don’t get that. She’s a legislator, right? Why didn’t she do anything to submit legislation on this? Why didn’t she make noise about the Legislative IG at any point during the last three years?=

    Yes particularly since she said on Chicago Tonight that she’s experienced this type of harassing behavior firsthand while in Springfield. But she was able to hold her ground because she’s “tough”.


  24. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 1:34 pm:

    It’s really not hard to figure out the process of appointing the Legislative Inspector General. It’s in the enacting legislation.

    By displaying willful ignorance in pursuit of a partisan political point, Ives demonstrates she’s learned something from Rauner as governor.

    And the Legislative Ethics Commission — two appointments each by the four GA leaders — could have and still can appoint a special inspector general anytime they want to, without the approval of three of the four legislative leaders.

    Lot of CYA going on here.


  25. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 1:52 pm:

    So Ives wants to do more than what’s being proposed? She calls it just “virtue-signalling”?

    Remind me how that’s a bad thing?
    She sees an opening as the sole female candidate.
    Stop the gender bashing of the only female candidate on this woman’s issue. LOL


  26. - W.S. Wolcott - Thursday, Nov 2, 17 @ 8:44 pm:

    I hope he gets to the training late, now that he has decided to attend, and has to sit in the front row…


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