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Rotheimer claims IG asked for unlimited access to her mobile phone and Facebook account

Thursday, Nov 30, 2017

* From the Illinois Policy Institute’s news service

The newly appointed Inspector General in Springfield told the victim of alleged sexual harassment by a lawmaker to turn over unlimited access to her cell phone and social media account.

Anti-abuse advocate Denise Rotheimer says Julie Porter, the woman lawmakers tabbed to be the Legislative Inspector General, asked for a little more of her private life than she wanted to give up.

“What she was asking for was way too overreaching and unrelated to the complaint,” Rotheimer said. “I didn’t want to give her access to all of my text messages going years and years back.”

Eventually, Porter settled for just the information specific to Rotheimer’s complaint.

Rotheimer had already given Porter hundreds of pages of Facebook and other comments she received from married state Senator Ira Silverstein, D-Chicago. The comments included things that ranged from aggressive flirtation to lewd comments about Rotheimer’s body.

* Meanwhile, WBEZ has a story up about how Sen. Ira Silverstein did some legal work for Denise Rotheimer’s father while he was allegedly sexually harassing her

What’s more, if Rotheimer’s sexual harassment claims are validated by [interim Legislative Inspector General Julie Porter], the law license Silverstein has held since 1985 could be at risk, said the former 15-year head of the state Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, which licenses Illinois attorneys and recommends sanctions against lawyers who engage in misconduct. […]

“If he were found to have engaged in conduct that amounted to sexual harassment of her in the context of representing her father — and there were a finding by some administrative body that the harassment had occurred — he would be vulnerable in terms of his law license,” said lawyer Mary Robinson, the ARDC’s former administrator who is now in private practice.

However, after reviewing portions of the emails Rotheimer released, Robinson said she is not entirely certain that what she read at WBEZ’s request constitutes a clear-cut punishable offense by her former agency.

“I don’t see a sense of him using authority to keep her engaged. It appears as much as you can tell from just reading black and white … to be a very collaborative engagement. No one seems to be pulling the other one way or another,” Robinson said.

“I didn’t read them all, but I didn’t see any instance in which I would have read any of his messages as suggesting she would be more likely to get what she wanted either on behalf of her father or on behalf of her base … by keeping him happy,” she said. “I did not see an indication he was trying to use power in order to get something she would have been otherwise unwilling to engage in.”

Well, that’s one opinion.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anon - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 10:20 am:

    So now she’s not cooperating with the IG because the IG Wants to cover their bases about the easiest claim that can be made about the documents she is providing?

    Can someone please accuse someone else of something. This is a terrible test case.

  2. - Say What? - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 10:21 am:

    Rotheimer protests too much. She wants to file the complaint, publicize her story, cherry pick the evidence and set the rules for the investigation. Her actions are inappropriate and her motives are suspect. She is a candidate seeking publicity.

    If Silverstein engaged in professional misconduct
    and Rotheimer was truly upset about the glacial pace of legislative ethics investigation process,
    why hasn’t she filed a complaint with the ARDC?
    This commission operates more expeditiously and it has published rules concerning harassment.

  3. - Downstate - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 10:29 am:

    Given all the national faces that are falling because of past sexual harassment, it’s nice to know that we had only one bad actor in the state capitol. /s/

  4. - m - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 10:30 am:

    =This is a terrible test case.=

    Yes. I have a bad feeling this case is going to kill the momentum on this issue in Illinois. Weinstein is a great example of the problem in Hollywood (along with plenty of others), Franken is not quite as good of an example in DC (though Moore or Conyers will probably become the face there, while the media still avoids focusing on Trump or Clinton as much better examples), but Silverstein is not the example for Springfield. Until someone else comes forward, with real and clear evidence, the culture won’t change.

  5. - Montrose - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 11:06 am:

    I would be interested to hear if Porter agrees that she asked for unlimited access.

  6. - Colin O'Scopey - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 11:19 am:

    Rotheimer is to Itzhak Perlman as Ira Silverstein is to a fiddle.

  7. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 11:45 am:

    Rothmeir gives a bad name to real victims. She is diluting the bitter bile of righteous anger of those that have a far more compelling case than her. She is unintentionally working in favor of the slugs who have yet to be named. Her bravery in coming forth has a tinge of self-promotion, which is transparent and hurts the cause purports.

  8. - Blurry - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 11:57 am:

    Ms. Rotheimer complained that the LIG position was vacant and now is somewhat attacking the character and professionalism of the newly appointed LIG, who is a female with an impressive resume. I have never met the new LIG, so I just Googled her.

    “Julie is a careful investigator, a skilled negotiator, and an exceptional trial lawyer. She has committed her career to seeking justice and becoming a voice for those who might not otherwise be heard.”

    “Julie then served the public as an Assistant United States Attorney in Chicago, handling some of the most significant cases that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has brought over the past decade. Julie successfully tried to juries complex cases that garnered nationwide interest, including cases against international media baron Conrad Black (corporate fraud), Illinois powerbroker Bill Cellini (public corruption), top Chicago Mayoral aide Robert Sorich (public corruption), and prominent Jesuit priest Donald McGuire (child exploitation), among others. As Chief of the Chicago Office’s Criminal Division, Julie supervised nearly 150 criminal prosecutors and all criminal prosecutions, including health care fraud, securities and commodities fraud, other financial crimes, public corruption and organized crime, national security, cybercrimes, violent crimes, narcotics, and appeals. Julie mentored many AUSAs and promoted a culture of excellence at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which she carries into her practice at Salvatore Prescott & Porter, PLLC.”

    Now. Julie was brave in agreeing to serve as the LIG Bc all attention is on her. As a female, I am impressed by her achievements.

    Now, let’s look into this recent allegation that Julie Poter, the LIG asked Ms. Rotheimer to turn over access to her social media accounts.

    1. Ms. Rotheimer provided printouts to a few reporters and has referenced messages between herself and Mr. Silverstein.

    2. “The newly appointed Inspector General in Springfield told the victim of alleged sexual harassment by a lawmaker to turn over unlimited access to her cell phone and social media account.”

    3. I am a former investigator & have some experience with civil & criminal investigations.

    4. Before everyone wants to critize Ms. Poter, let’s look at the reasons why someone with Ms. Poter’s investigative background and some that has prosecuted CYBERSECURITY cases might ask for unlimited access to ones social media accounts and phone.

    - We have all sent text messages and many have used the messenger option for Facebook. We have the ability to manipulate message threads by deleting messages on our devices and accounts. How is the LIG supposed to conduct a comprehensive investigation, if she does not have unaltered records?

    -I can almost guarantee you that the question asking for unlimited access, was to get a reaction. This is what investigators do!

    5. Ms. Rotheimer can continue sharing her story to reporters about how she was asked to give the LIG unlimited access to her phone and social media accounts, but that does not help her case with those familiar investigative procedures and the individual responsible for the investigation.

    Please note that the LIG has subpoena authority and can get those RECORDS from the PHONE PROVIDER and Facebook and has probably already requested the records. An experienced investigator would also request the defendants records too. So when one is asked about turning over unlimited access to ones account and then complains, that sends a red flag to any investigator.

    6. Capitol Fax readers saw the “blonde” comment from Silverstein and one reader asked about the context. If I recall correctly, Rich replied that it was kind of out of the blue, or something like that.

    To conclude. It is not wise to critize the person who is conducting an investigation. It only causes people to question Ms. Rorheimer’s sexual harassment allegation. And now the WBEZ report where she advise that she told the LIG that she and her father met in the Senator’s office to discuss legal matters, now leaves the impression of a scorned woman. There is obviously more to this situation that we have not heard. However, after reading the LIG’s background, I have full confidence in her.

  9. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 11:59 am:

    Years and years back of text messages tell the full story and context of their relationship.

    Sounds like the IG is conducting a thorough investigation and Ms. Rotheimer is not being cooperative and also trying to sabotage the investigation with constant press comments.

    I do not get this strategy if justice rather than partisan political advantage is the goal.

    I am someone who took her initial testimony as the unvarnished truth and immediately called for Silverstein to resign.

    Her actions and not anything Silverstein has done to defend himself has made me question her motives here.

    Maybe it’s like the situation where the lawyer is the worst client. Maybe the advocate is the worst at advocating on her own behalf?

  10. - Anon2017 - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 12:05 pm:

    I believe this is a case of two adults who engaged in mutually unprofessional behavior. One of those adults happened to be a state senator who was working a bill on behalf of the other adult. He seems to have worked hard on the bill, but it had problems.

    When the bill did not succeed, Rotheimer became angry and sought to get back at him.

    Silverstein: You got me.
    Rotheimer: I always do.

    Did she ever! But she should have just avoided the spotlight after her compelling testimony, which I believed.

  11. - A guy - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 12:12 pm:

    It would seem after reading the excerpts that were released by Ms. R that it wouldn’t be unreasonable to get greater context to these communications. Asking for everything is too onerous, but there’s more that should be seen.

  12. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 12:16 pm:

    Starting to sound like if she can’t steer the LIG then justice is denied. Which is not how justice is usually obtained.

    March 21 can’t come soon enough.

  13. - Sigh - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 12:41 pm:

    -Can someone please accuse someone else of something. This is a terrible test case.-

    {sigh} Anon at 10:20… I don’t know if you enjoy watching people’s lives be destroyed, but asking for someone else to accuse someone else of something is extremely sad.

    Adults need to be adults. Professionals need to be professionals. Everyone needs to be able to work in an environment that is professional. The #MeToo campaign has brought attention to this behavior. Some victims have already moved on with their lives and would prefer that their encounter be something of the past.

    The Illinois General Assembly has a task force and is working Capitol environment and hopefully focusing on the private sector. Instead of pointing out that this is a terrible test case, I encourage you to be part of the change.

  14. - Sigh - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 12:48 pm:

    -Until someone else comes forward, with real and clear evidence, the culture won’t change.-

    How do you know the culture will not change? If you focus on the negative, there will never be change. Do you think Barbara Flynn Currie and others on the task force(s) want to waste their time working on this issue, if there is not going to be change?

  15. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 12:56 pm:

    Rich -

    I’d say that Ms. Robinson offered more than just “one opinion.”

    She was in charge of attorney discipline in Illinois for 15 years. For the past ten, she has led a practice that specializes in professional ethics. She is a leading expert on what constitutes sexual harassment.

    I don’t want to offend any of the many authentic victims in Springfield, but please hear Ms Robinson’s words carefully: “collaborative engagement.” What real victims experience is not collaborative.

  16. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 1:02 pm:

    Seems to me that the request was reasonable. It’s not like LIG Porter would want to introduce Ms. Rotheimer’s sheaf of paper copies as evidence at the very least and would want to go to the source and get fresh originals. If there is some prosecutorial doubt about context, that can be reviewed quietly instead of on the pages of Capitol Fax.

  17. - Say What? - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 1:19 pm:

    Robinson’s opinion, while not definitive, still carries considerable weight. Absent a smoking gun disclosure, I do not see this scandal resulting in maximum fallout. The state senator may be reelected. As others have said, Rotheimer is not the ideal test case complainant.

  18. - RabidDog - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 1:30 pm:

    It seems Ms. Rotheimer’s credibility is coming unraveled like a poorly sewn sweater. I feel for ACTUAL victims.

  19. - Molly Maguire - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 2:29 pm:

    Many people have examined the facts of this case that are available, have observed Ms. R’s behavior, and are starting to come to the same conclusion.

  20. - m - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 3:30 pm:

    = If you focus on the negative, there will never be change.=

    The stories about handshakes instead of hugs during veto session seems positive. We can focus on that.

    But we also need to be realistic. If this is the only “test case”, and it turns out to be what it appears to be to many right now, that it’s just a person with some serious issues claiming something that just isn’t or wasn’t there… Then what?

    I don’t think people need to “go down” for the culture to change. And in that regard, I think the issue here and the momentum for change would be better without her case. No charges are better than false or incredibly weak ones. I truly hope this case doesn’t make a mockery of the issue.

  21. - m - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 3:31 pm:

    I missed an important word. Should have been “, and IF it turns out…”

  22. - Sigh - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 4:53 pm:


    I always tell people that I am not a hugger and they respect that. I have worked on some high profile issues at the Capitol and been around politics for 17 years. I have more male friends than female friends and outside of my family, there are only 5 people that are allowed to hug me.

    I have received my share of inappropriate comments, and some of those comments came from men not associated with the Capitol/political scene.

    If this turns out to the only test case, then what? Well, to be honest, we have learned from the national trend and this one allegation. We have several legislators that have been appointed to the task force(s) and are discussing this issue. I myself provided comments on the sexual harassment bill after it was introduced. Some of my comments were included in the version that became law.

    Think about these laws: Did the murder registry reduce the number murders? Has the sex offerender registry reduce the number of sex offenses? Has the “hands free” while diving law prevented people for texting really talking while driving? I would say no.

    Change will happen as a result of BOTH genders being more aware of the issue, not more victims and perpetrators being name. With that being said, some people will never change no matter the penalties or amount of shaming. I make it a point to never be alone with someone that makes me uncomfortable.

  23. - Anon too - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 6:27 pm:

    Don’t mean to pile on . . . but just saying:

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