I appreciate you posting my letters today. I did speak with the Ethics officer of the House Republican caucus (who mentioned my letter to Ms. Porter on Capitol Fax) to ask if Leader Durkin would be able to provide leadership on a legislative effort to implement reforms that establish a fair and balanced process for complainants. I told the EO that had I known the process would exclude me from having a voice or not being provided with information about the [Legislative Inspector General’s] report on what I said and the information I provided to her that I would never have filed a complaint.
I said that it is a reasonable request of mine to at least be informed of what the LIG has to say about me in her report and how I am being presented to the [Legislative Ethics Commission]. I also said that it is a reasonable request that I am heard by the LEC. I told the EO that I want to walk away from this process and say I felt heard and that I was treated fairly–regardless of the outcome. I understand now more clearly than before why I am the only one who named a name and if these reforms are made I don’t know why anyone else would come forward and find themselves in the situation that I am in–a situation where you don’t even get to read any portion of the report that is solely written about you, I don’t care about what Silverstein has to say or anyone else, I just want to know what is being said about me. I should at least be entitled to that. According to the rules I do not see anything that mentions me as a named party or as having any standing in this process. Below are some excerpts from the rules I copied with the link pasted below for your full review.
OPERATIONAL RULES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ETHICS COMMISSION
(as amended and effective 4-16-08)
(ARTICLE 17. INVESTIGATIONS
(i) A statement that the Legislative Inspector General’s investigatory files and reports are confidential and exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (see 5 ILCS 430/25-90(b) and 430/25-95(d)).
If there is a hearing then the AG represents the LIG who is named as the petitioner:
ARTICLE 20. HEARINGS.
Rule 20-10. Filing requirements.
(b) The Legislative Inspector General shall be designated as “the petitioner” and the person who is alleged to have violated the Act shall be designated as “the respondent”.
The respondent is named but not me. The respondent is represented by an attorney but not me because I merely become a “witness.”
In essence if this complaint does go to a hearing then I am treated as a witness, similar to that in a criminal case because I am not named as the plaintiff, the LIG is named as the plaintiff and is represented by the AG.
As a witness there is nothing in these Rules that provides for any rights or remedies that I have throughout this entire process, including the hearing. Therefore these procedures are not fair or balanced and only favor the respondent. Why else would the accuser or complainant be completely excluded from having any entitlements (rights, due process, remedies or relief) throughout this entire process.
I do not see anything in the rules that provides me as the complainant with a voice–the right to be heard or the right to information, notification or participation in this process. The LIG becomes my voice and is named as the petitioner if a violation is found and a hearing is initiated.
Rule 20-55. Hearings.
(b) All hearings shall be closed to the public.
At this point I have no choice than to go through this process, but I at least hope that our leaders in Springfield will address some of my concerns and enact reforms that makes this process more fair and balanced for complainants because as of now we are completely excluded from the Operational Rules as having any standing or being a named party and we are not given any rights whatsoever. This will have to change.
All my best, Denise Rotheimer