* This was released yesterday morning at 10 o’clock…
House Speaker Michael J. Madigan issued the following statement Monday:
“In November, a courageous woman made me aware that a high-ranking individual within my political operation had previously made unwanted advances and sent her inappropriate text messages. I immediately consulted with my attorney, Heather Wier Vaught, and directed her to conduct a thorough investigation. Ms. Wier Vaught conducted numerous interviews, reviewed the evidence, and recently came to the conclusion that the individual engaged in inappropriate conduct and failed to exercise the professional judgment I expect of those affiliated with my political organizations and the Office of the Speaker.
As a result, long-time aide Kevin Quinn is no longer an employee of any of my political committees. Mr. Quinn has worked with my political offices for nearly 20 years. While this is the only allegation of such conduct, Mr. Quinn also recently pled guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Based on the culmination of events, Alderman Marty Quinn and I decided that Kevin should no longer be affiliated with the political organization. For the record, Kevin was previously an employee of my State office, and he will not be returning to that role.
Further, Ms. Wier Vaught made several recommendations aimed at preventing inappropriate behavior and improving methods for reporting and responding to such allegations. My political committees are actively taking steps to implement those recommendations.
* The Tribune story popped almost exactly twelve hours later…
A key staffer in House Speaker Michael Madigan’s political operation made unwanted advances to a female campaign worker and sent her inappropriate phone texts, Madigan acknowledged Monday in cutting the longtime aide loose.
Madigan, who chairs the Illinois Democratic Party, praised the “courageous woman” who had come forward to complain. But in an interview with the Tribune, the woman said the action took far too long.
Alaina Hampton, who identified herself as the political worker who complained, shared texts with the Tribune that detail a relentless series of entreaties from her supervisor, Kevin Quinn, to go out with him. In one, he called her “smoking hot.” Hampton spoke to the Tribune on Sunday night, hours before Madigan made his announcement that he had cut ties with Quinn.
“Kevin should have been fired a year ago,” Hampton said Monday.
Quinn, a longtime Madigan state government and political staffer, is the brother of Ald. Marty Quinn of Chicago’s 13th Ward, where Madigan has reigned as committeeman for decades. Hampton said she informed Marty Quinn about the harassment in February 2017 and left the Democratic organization a few months later. She said she wrote a letter to Madigan in November describing her problems with Kevin Quinn. […]
Her [EEOC] filing contends that she was discriminated against in retaliation for complaining about the harassment and a sexually hostile work environment. The action names two Madigan-controlled political funds that paid her.
Hampton said she thinks she was denied the chance to advance in an organization where she worked hard for years because she raised the harassment issue. Asked what she is seeking, she said she wanted to “make sure they’re not able to do this to anyone else.”
A press release about the news conference calls the firing “pro-active but a cover up” — showing the woman is not pleased about how her allegations were treated. […]
Hampton — who now has her own political consulting firm — is currently a campaign manager for Bridget Degnen, a Cook County Commissioner candidate. In a statement, Degnen thanked Hampton for coming forward: “By demanding accountability, Ms. Hampton is sending a message that discrimination has no place in our culture.” […]
Kevin Quinn had worked for the state between mid-March 2016 until June 30, 2016, before working for the political side between July 2016 and Nov. 8, 2016. The text messages were sent during that time period, according to Madigan spokesman Steve Brown.
Kevin Quinn returned to his state work on Nov. 9, 2016, until July 31, 2017, and again moved to the political side on Aug. 1, 2017, until he was dismissed, Brown said.
The text messages are here. Notice that some messages were sent after November 9.
* Full statement from Rebecca Evans at the Chris Kennedy campaign…
[Speaker Madigan] should definitely fire Marty Quinn. Instinctively, I think he should also resign. The two of them had the knowledge and the power to remove Kevin so she could work freely. They also had the knowledge and the power to decide NOT to remove Kevin, instead leaving him in place so he could continue to harass her and/or someone else. They made a choice to disregard her claims and leave him in place.
If what Madigan is saying is true and he didn’t know about it until November, the question really is: when was the investigation? Did it begin immediately in November or did it just happen last week? And, if it started in November, why did this investigation take three months? He should resign, either way. Whether Madigan found out about it in February 2017 or November 2017, it all took too long. Women don’t have the luxury of waiting months and months for decisions like this, instead they have to endure months and months of that behavior until something happens. If he truly cares about shifting the culture and removing harassment in the workplace, then Madigan should get out of the way and resign.
* Hampton is holding a press conference today at 10 o’clock. Here is her full statement…
– In November last year Speaker Michael J. Madigan simultaneously fast tracked legislation to eradicate sexual harassment in Illinois politics and killed the political career of Alaina Hampton for reporting sexual harassment in his own organization.
Yesterday Speaker Madigan released a statement saying a thorough investigation of the harassment led him to fire Kevin Quinn, the harasser. “One meeting in a coffee shop for an hour is not a thorough investigation. In fact, the lawyer he sent to speak to Ms. Hampton said if this were a serious situation we would not be meeting in a coffee shop,” said Lorna Brett, former president of Chicago NOW who is also currently providing pro bono strategic assistance to Harvey Weinstein’s accusers.
“The irony of Michael Madigan protecting a sexual harasser while championing laws to fight it cannot be overstated,” said Brett.
In 2016 Alaina Hampton was employed by Friends of Mike J. Madigan and the Democratic Party of Illinois and worked out of the office of Alderman Marty Quinn. It was then when her supervisor, Kevin Quinn, started sending her inappropriate text messages asking her out and complimenting her on Facebook photos taken while on vacation. She asked him to stop many times over the course of many months. Finally she went to his supervisor Alderman Marty Quinn, brother of Kevin Quinn.
“The only reason this is not a sexual harassment complaint is because they led her on and ran the clock,” said, Brett.
In February 2017 Ms. Hampton went to her supervisor’s boss Alderman Marty Quinn who listened and seemed sympathetic. He told her Kevin would not be bothering her anymore but did not say he would be removed from a supervisory position for any other women. He asked her about her interest in being a precinct captain for Speaker Madigan, considered an honor in the hierarchy of Illinois politics unfortunately Ms. Hampton knew if she were a precinct captain she would have to work closely with Kevin.
Distressed by the Democratic Party’s lack of response to her complaint, and the prospect of having to continue to work with Kevin Quinn, she quit her employment with Friends of Michael J. Madigan and the Illinois Democratic Party in April 2017.
Frustrated not working in a career she enjoyed and feeling her fealty might be in question in an organization that above all demands it Hampton wrote directly to Speaker Madigan and mailed it on November 1st 2017. It was only then that Heather Weir Vaught, an attorney for the speaker, called and asked her to meet for coffee.
At the meeting on November 15, 2017 meeting Hampton gave Vaught print outs of the text messages and told her all she wanted to do was work, not cause trouble for anyone. Ms. Vaught joked about her wanting a “big Tribune story” or a $25K financial payout. Vaught said, “This is not sexual harassment in the work place” because Hampton technically did not work for them. However, Friends of Michael J. Madigan and the Democratic Majority Party paid both Ms. Hampton’s and her supervisor’s salaries.
She reiterated her loyalty to Speaker Madigan and Alderman Quinn and her desire to work on a specific campaign. She was told they were not working that campaign while in fact they were. Vaught said she would be in touch.
On January 15 of this year, after not hearing from Vaught, Ms. Hampton reached out to Alderman Quinn directly asking if she could speak with him, but in instead she received a phone call from Ms. Vaught. It was then that she knew her political career was over.
“This a litmus test for every legislator who publically supported and voted for SB 402. Time’s up for Mike Madigan he needs to step down,” said Lorna Brett.
“I believe that the conduct Alaina Hampton had to endure is something that women throughout this country have had to put up with in the workplace on a far more widespread basis than people realize. Hopefully, this case will be another step on the long road to freeing women, regardless of whether they work on the factory floor, in the halls of government or in the corporate suite, from this kind of exploitative and unlawful behavior,” said Shelly Kulwin, of Kulwin Masciopinto & Kulwin, LLP.
*** UPDATE 1 *** Press release…
STATEMENT FROM ALDERMAN MARTY QUINN
“In February 2017, I met with Ms. Hampton to discuss her future with the political organization. As one part of this conversation, Ms. Hampton told me that Kevin Quinn, my brother, had sent her personal text messages and she didn’t want him communicating with her. She made it clear she wanted the text messages to stop. She did not share the text messages with me or advise me of the number of times Kevin had asked her out. Hampton’s request was that Kevin cease all communications with her. She also asked for my discretion, and indicated she did not want others to know about the situation, and that Kevin not be further reprimanded. I told her I would make sure he never contacted her again. I told Ms. Hampton she would never need to speak with Kevin again, and that all communications could be directed to me. I had hoped Ms. Hampton would continue to work with me, but I understand her desire to remove herself.
I immediately met with Kevin and told him to stop all communication with Ms. Hampton. I advised him that such behavior would not be tolerated, and that any further communication with Ms. Hampton would result in immediate termination. He was remorseful and acknowledged his poor judgment.
I did not take further action, such as advising the Speaker, because I was attempting to protect Ms. Hampton’s privacy and honor her wishes. I thought I took swift action and handled the matter as she requested.
After Ms. Hampton advised the Speaker and the investigation was conducted, I realized the extent of the text messages and the nature of the conduct. Although the investigation found that the text messages had ceased immediately at my direction, the Speaker and I discussed the full extent of the situation and decided Kevin should no longer be affiliated with the political organization. I asked for Kevin’s resignation. The Speaker accepted his resignation from the political organization and the State office.”
*** UPDATE 2 *** Marwig is mentioned in the text messages between Quinn and Hampton, so here is her statement…
Candidate Merry Marwig calls for law change to “end sexual harassment culture” in state politics.
The Democratic candidate for Illinois House District 20 Merry Marwig said she plans to propose legislation extending “the ridiculously short time” a sexual harassment victim has to file suit against her alleged abuser.
Officials let the statute of limitations run out before taking action against political consultant Kevin Quinn, denying his victim Alaina Hampton her day in court.
Candidate Marwig said “this protracted delay is evidence of the culture of sexual harassment in Illinois politics.”
If elected, Marwig would extend the current 300-day statute of limitations “by at least one year.”
She says her outrage is compounded by the fact that she knows the victim, whose character she strongly vouches for. “Alaina Hampton is a sharp-minded, diligent, and devoted Democrat. I’d hire her in a heart-beat to run my next campaign.”
*** UPDATE 3 *** Very good points…
…Adding… Her letter to MJM…
*** UPDATE 4 *** You can watch Hampton’s presser by clicking here.
*** UPDATE 5 *** Biss campaign…
“We need to support Alaina Hampton and get to the bottom of this story immediately,” said Daniel Biss. “It’s clear there was inappropriate, unwanted, and unrelenting contact from Kevin Quinn. What isn’t clear is why it took until the day after a Chicago Tribune reporter started asking questions, for Speaker Madigan to make a public statement and terminate that staffer.
“This is further evidence of the larger culture of misogyny that must be addressed and why the misuse of power and privilege must be stopped.”
*** UPDATE 6 *** Kennedy campaign…
Alaina Hampton has given voice to the blatant, suffocating harassment that so many women experience. The allegations she made today are very serious and must be fully investigated by the appropriate authorities. This harassment she experienced prevented her from working freely and achieving equality, and the fact that people in positions of power alledgely knew about it and only took action when contacted by reporters is exactly what is wrong with the power structure in Illinois.
As this investigation proceeds, Speaker Madigan should temporarily step down as Chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party. In the course of further investigation, if it is found that Speaker Madigan knew about these allegations and chose to protect his machine political allies instead of the women who were abused by them, he no longer can lead our party. We must be a party that stands up for the victims of sexual harassment and not protect the abusers. This behavior reinforces that there is a corrupt system in place in Springfield that allows behavior like this to go on, even protecting those who perpetrate it. We need to end this broken system and bring radical change to the state of Illinois.
*** UPDATE 7 *** Pritzker campaign…
JB Pritzker: “It takes unimaginable courage to do what Alaina did today. I’m inspired by her bravery and strength, and the bravery and strength of women speaking up across the country. Women should not be forced to accept sexual harassment as the price of admission to a career in politics. Today should be about Alaina and Alaina’s story. I’m proud of Alaina for telling her story and paving the way to a future where women never experience this type of harassment again. I stand with her in that fight and today, we should focus on conducting a thorough investigation and ensuring that there are systems in place to protect all women.”
Juliana Stratton: “Today, Alaina showed strength and honesty in joining powerful women across this country who are standing up against the type of harassment that has become all too familiar. She spoke on behalf of women who have come before her, women who are not able to come forward, and our daughters who should grow up in a society free from harassment and retaliation. I was proud to have Alaina as my campaign manager and I’m proud of her today for standing up and speaking her truth. This type of harassment should never happen and I will continue the work ahead to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”