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The danger ahead for Madigan

Wednesday, Feb 14, 2018

* This is how the Alaina Hampton story could escalate from a seriously damaging bombshell to a nuclear explosion for Speaker Madigan

Hampton also said one other thing: She’s personally aware of other Madigan staffers with harassment complaints.

The existence of other harassment complaints isn’t the problem if they were dealt with fairly and honestly. The problem will be if any other people like Hampton come forward with credible stories of how their complaints were ignored.

* Mark Brown explains

Rather than facing down another Republican governor or a Democratic insurgent, [Speaker Madigan] now finds himself in danger of swimming against a political movement more powerful than himself.

If more women in Madigan’s wide domain come forward with claims of mishandled sexual harassment claims — and Hampton asserted she knows of female workers in Springfield with similar stories of complaints swept under the rug— then this has a chance of snowballing. […]

If it stays confined to this one case, then Madigan may be able to ride it out, which obviously will be his instinct — the same instinct that has made him the nation’s longest-serving legislative leader.

But it will be hard to overcome the impression created here that while Madigan’s political organization has created opportunities for women in politics it was ultimately more committed to protecting the old boys’ network at its core.

* Related…

* Woman Who Accused Ex-Madigan Aide of Sexual Harassment Disputes Speaker’s Account of Investigation: She accused the speaker and his associates of attempting to sweep her complaint under the rug, leading her on until the statute of limitations on her case expired, and refusing to hire her for a political campaign in retaliation for coming forward.

* Was the Speaker listening? Woman questions why Madigan took months to fire aide: “The speaker has had the letter for three months. It doesn’t take three months to read those text messages and know that that behavior was inappropriate. It would take all of 20 minutes to know that that was sexual harassment,” Hampton said.

* Editorial: Too little, too late: This, of course, is not the first time Speaker Madigan has been accused of insincerity in his public postures. It’s happened many times before, and he survived them all without breaking a sweat. He’ll undoubtedly do so again this time because of his power and influence. Nonetheless, Hampton’s assertion that Madigan would have taken no action if the matter was not on the verge of becoming public rings true.

* Editorial: Mike Madigan flunks the #MeToo test: Alaina Hampton isn’t alone. She’s one of countless professional women to experience mistreatment. After being harassed out of her job, Hampton summoned the courage to report it to the boss — who in this case was one of the most powerful political figures in Illinois, a man who fast-tracked legislation supposedly meant to shut down a culture of creepiness in Illinois government. Madigan made a commitment to end harassment and protect women. His resolve was tested almost immediately. He failed.

* Speaker Madigan Rejects Calls For Resignation Over Handling Of Sexual Harassment Claims Of Aide: State Rep. Scott Drury, who’s running for attorney general, is a longtime critic of the speaker. He’s among those calling on Madigan to step down. However, Madigan says this is just another case of Drury doing the bidding of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. “For Drury to say that I should step aside, that’s the same thing as Rauner saying I should step aside, which I don’t plan to do.” he said.

* Is Ald. Quinn still in with Madigan?: Around City Hall, Marty Quinn is a mild-mannered Clark Kent of an alderman who seldom speaks unless he’s railing about stinky sound-reducing windows in his ward near Midway Airport, Airbnb or the dangers of registered sex offenders in public libraries. In the Southwest Ward office he shares with Madigan, Quinn is better known as a workaholic political superman. That’s why superman will likely be allowed to keep his cape—as well as his day job.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Politically incorrect - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 9:55 am:

    Quinn was a state employee when some of those texts happened. Why wasn’t the inspector general or attorney general involved?

  2. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 9:56 am:

    Waiting for the other shoes to drop. Are we dealing with a centipede?

  3. - Ihpsdm - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 9:59 am:

    Nothing’s going to happen to Madigan. He’ll be the Speaker of the House as long as he wants to be.

  4. - Blimp - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:01 am:

    The general public is tired of this guy (probably not a popular stance on this thread). So any transgression will be amplified because it is Madigan. Most likely, Madigan will survive intact and the story will fade. He has a decent history of for addressing sexual harassment.

  5. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:06 am:

    Madigan fired Kevin Quinn from political post and said he won’t be returning to state job. There was no law that said he had to do that. The people that want Madigan to step down should show what law or principle was violated by the speaker.

    I will say I fully support Alaina Hampton and any other person who feels violated. They should come out and speak. I find Heather’s behavior repugnant. Being a campaign staffer is hard enough, let alone if you have someone harassing you.

  6. - 19th Ward guy - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:07 am:

    Guess we won’t see too many more black suit days in Springfield. We witnessed a lot
    of courage from the victim. The people that can actually make a difference for her and others-not so much. Can you imagine the outcry if this was someone from Team Rauner?

  7. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:08 am:

    It will be tough for Madigan to keep blaming Rauner for this one. It’s highly unlikely K. Quinn and Rauner conspired. His silence during yesterday’s press conference - except a brief blaming of Rauner - shows that he’s scared of this one.

  8. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:10 am:

    Stay tuned. This is a national tsunami and many powerful figures have already been swept away in the blink of an eye.

    And my guess is many who we’ve not heard about yet will be, too

  9. - Pritzker's Toilet - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:13 am:

    –I will say I fully support Alaina Hampton and any other person who feels violated.–

    WAS - not feels. The word you are looking for is WAS

  10. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:15 am:

    Pritzker’s Toilet -

    Due Process are the words you are looking for.

  11. - anon2 - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:15 am:

    If Hampton is right about there being three other victims of sexual harassment whose complaints have been buried, then this will be a huge scandal.

  12. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:15 am:

    –Can you imagine the outcry if this was someone from Team Rauner?–

    Congratulations, you’re the first to, somehow, appropriate Hampton’s troubles for Team Whiner.

    There’s not an outcry on this situation? Might want to check the papers or turn on the news. On an extremely busy news day, this one has a lot of legs.

  13. - Pundent - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:16 am:

    I think that it’s entirely possible that Madigan got the Hampton situation right but a whole bunch of others wrong. Tolerance for this behavior has changed dramatically in a short period of time. But it should have years’ ago. It will be interesting to see where this goes.

  14. - Downstate - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:22 am:

    Put this in the context of a public company.

    CEO gets a letter from a staffer that they have been sexual harassed by a VP. The CEO turns the matter over, not to the corporate counsel, but his own personal attorney.

    Issue is big enough that the personal attorney meets within 3 days with the staffer, but drags out the investigation beyond the statute of limitations. Corporate counsel was never involved in the process.

    Using a personal attorney on matter like this would be grounds for firing the CEO in any company.

    But then firing the VP just as the news is hitting the wire makes it even more compelling.

  15. - hisgirlfriday - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:25 am:

    @360 Degree TurnAround - I keep seeing the same defense of MJM here that oh how dare Madigan be asked to step down by people if it has not yet been shown he broke a specific law or rule.

    This is politics! Not a court of law. And MJM is a political liability to the Illinois Democratic Party. This was clear when Dems lost seats despite the anti-Trump wave in 2016. it’s clear now the way this story has blown up and brought a ton of Dems a ton of grief because of how toxic MJM is politically and how much any whiff of scandal around him is catnip for Illinois media.

    MJM needs to retire or be retired by Dems that care about the future of the party in this state.

  16. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:25 am:

    Has the EEOC complaint been released? I’d be curious to see what information was actually alleged in the complaint.

  17. - Texas Red - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:25 am:

    Madigan will never be defeated in his local 13th ward/22nd district. What could be fading is his hold on power in his Caucus and state wide Democratic circles. The thought experiment younger Dem pols should be asking is how long should they hitch their wagon to a 75 year old leader who came to power in a different era, and is now tarnished with a harassment claim in his office.

  18. - Responsa - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:30 am:

    The information now available and published strongly suggests that the Speaker’s instructions to Wier Vaught were (at least interpreted as) along the lines of “make this go away or slow walk it”, rather than “see what happened STAT and tell me what you find.” The lack of any follow up or action by either Madigan or Wier Vaught for 3 months– until Feb. 2018 –tells the story to anybody who doesn’t have blinders on.

    In November 2017 the July arrest of Quinn should have immediately been factored in to the Wier Vaught’s “investigation” along with the crystal clear meaning of the text message printouts that she was given. This all stinks to high heaven.

  19. - Actual Red - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:30 am:

    A key question for me is, who would have to call for Madigan’s resignation for it to actually make a difference?

    I’m thinking about Al Franken, for example, who initially looked like he might ride it out until a critical mass of senate colleagues pushed him out. Who would do this in Madigan’s case, if there are other scandals out there? How many people would have to pile on for him to care?

  20. - Smitty Irving - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:31 am:

    No one deserves to be harassed. However, if Ms. Hampton had alleged race or gender discrimination and gone to the Dept. of Human Rights / Human Rights Commission, how long would her case have taken? As we deal with this issue, shouldn’t race / gender / other discrimination cases be resolved as promptly as harassment cases?

  21. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:51 am:

    why has no one in the media mentioned or touch on the reason Quinn was arrested? What was he arrested and charged with ?

  22. - Pragmatic - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:53 am:

    Dan Rostenkowski was the most powerful Illinois Democrat in the US House. Until he wasn’t.

    Rosty was prosecuted and convicted for an offense that would have been laughed off as trivial by politicians two decades earlier. He even complained that things were different back in the day.

    Madigan is somewhat at risk because of generational changes. He has been doing business so long that he is on auto pilot. He may recover if the scandal is limited to Quinn alone. If there are more accusers with similar charges, he may have to content himself with the 13th Ward and a reduced role in Springfield.

  23. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:55 am:

    @Anonymous 10:51 am:

    The arrest was for a misdemeanor case of disorderly conduct.

  24. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:55 am:

    –why has no one in the media mentioned or touch on the reason Quinn was arrested? What was he arrested and charged with ?–

    Unbelievable. In the time it took you to type that ridiculous statement you could have found it on the google.

    It’s been in all the media. You might have to read past the second graph.

  25. - hisgirlfriday - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:57 am:

    @ActualRed - That is a good question. The sort of people whose call for MJM to resign might make a difference are the same people I can’t ever see doing it.

  26. - Texas Red - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 10:59 am:


    “The arrest happened on July 6, 2017, about 4 a.m after a 34-year-old woman reported to Chicago Police that she fell to the ground when Kevin Quinn grabbed her arm during an argument in the 10300 block of South California, police said. He was charged with a misdemeanor count of domestic battery.A source told the Sun-Times the woman in the July incident was Kevin Quinn’s estranged wife.”

  27. - Chicago_Downstater - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 11:01 am:


    “This is politics! Not a court of law.”

    Exactly. Due process is not a function of the Court of Public Opinion. Jeeze folks.

    “And MJM is a political liability to the Illinois Democratic Party.”

    Couldn’t agree more. It appears that Dems are winning these days despite of MJM and not because of him. Would be nice if he retired, but I’m not one of his constituents so it’s kinda moot what I think.

  28. - Headscratcher - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 11:04 am:

    Has anyone even thought about whether Hampton’s claim that this investigation was “slow walked” in order to “drag things beyond the statute of limitations” makes sense? Hampton did not have to wait for Madigan or his political committees to do anything in order to file an EEOC claim. She could have filed it at anytime. Could she be saying this because there is a good chance her claim is time barred?

  29. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 11:12 am:

    Two things.

    1) Buckle your seat belts. It took a lot of guts for Alaina Hampton to do what she did. That kind of bravery tends to inspire others to come forward.

    Ever since the #metoo letter dropped, we’ve been waiting for it to hit the fan. Many of us have watched in amazement as Ira Silverstein became the poster child when we all know there are much greater offenders out there. This current episode may just have the effect of accelerating the house-cleaning required in Springfield. If so, nobody in leadership and none of the sexual predators trolling around the capitol should feel safe.

    2) Can we talk about that “press conference” yesterday in which Madigan hid behind Heather Weir the entire time. That was a horrible way to handle that and I agree with Rich that it is inexplicable why he did it at all.

  30. - the Cardinal - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 11:13 am:

    360 laws don’t have to be broken, knowing and not doing something makes one culpable…lots of folk in the political theater have been ruined because of that. What happened, when did you know and what did you do about it?

  31. - StellaRauner - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 11:17 am:

    Madigan discarded Alaina like one of his apple’s cores. Even by Alaina’s account, she tried to be diplomatic and a loyal Madigoon before going public. Alaina claims the Madigan org thought she was bluffing about coming forward. She says there are others, but do they come forward? Does Madigan think she’s bluffing or think others are too scared? Do the supposed others want to come forward? This is a high stakes showdown and far from over.

  32. - Downstate - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 11:18 am:

    Good point. However, the fact she’s mentioning this means she’s not happy and she’s blaming Madigan (or his attorney). Public opinion, given today’s political climate, and Madigan’s standing is clearly on her side.

    Madigan is too smart to get into an argument on the nuance of this issue. But, again, it is indicative of her position on the matter.

  33. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 11:18 am:

    –Can we talk about that “press conference” yesterday in which Madigan hid behind Heather Weir the entire time. That was a horrible way to handle that and I agree with Rich that it is inexplicable why he did it at all.–

    Had to say something. Silence was not an option.

    And from legal and p.r. standpoints, best to have your female lawyer doing the talking.

  34. - Captain Ed Smith - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 11:18 am:

    Does anyone realize how long it takes for the OEIG to investigate a complain? With the Executive Branch it can be over 12 months.

  35. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 11:18 am:

    Has anyone asked Lisa Madigan for a reaction?

  36. - Jack Kemp - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 11:36 am:

    Headscratcher, this happened in her capacity as a political employee, not a State employee. The EEOC has nothing to do with it.

  37. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 11:36 am:

    “Had to say something. Silence was not an option.

    And from legal and p.r. standpoints, best to have your female lawyer doing the talking.”

    I agree that facing the press would have been a good idea. But he didn’t do that. He sat there and let Heather do the talking and then bolted pretty quickly. When reporters were specifically saying, “Mr. Speaker, did you….” and the answers kept coming from her. Yikes that was a bad look. And because it was so bad, I wonder what it accomplished.

  38. - Jack Kemp - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 11:41 am:

    Apologies. I was thinking OEIG. My mistake.

  39. - Headscratcher - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 11:42 am:

    “Headscratcher, this happened in her capacity as a political employee, not a State employee. The EEOC has nothing to do with it.”

    Learn your facts: “Because the statute of limitations on sexual harassment has expired—Hampton spokeswoman Lorna Brett accuses Marty Quinn, Madigan and Wier Vaught of running the clock—Kulwin is taking the case to the EEOC, which will determine whether a retaliation complaint can go forward.”

  40. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 11:42 am:

    –And because it was so bad, I wonder what it accomplished.–

    His female lawyer on camera defending his actions in a sexual harassment complaint.

  41. - Headscratcher - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 11:44 am:

    Jack Kemp - Sorry for the tone. Mistakes happen.

  42. - Marty Funkhouser - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 11:48 am:

    I know it’s a foreign emotion, but the situation called for Madigan to express empathy, and he failed.

  43. - Responsa - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 11:55 am:

    It’s interesting. The reactions I saw posted here and elsewhere yesterday about the Madigan presser were definitely mixed. Some saw Wier Vaught as defending Madigan. Others saw it as Madigan hanging her out to dry.

  44. - Pritzker's Toilet - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 12:00 pm:

    –Due Process are the words you are looking for.–

    Did you miss the part where Madigan hired an attorney, the text messages and how he was fired… pretty sure there was due process on the employers part.

  45. - Downstate43 - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 1:54 pm:

    As far as the press conference, there were only 2 options: Option A - political - let your female lawyer do the talking and survive politically for now. Option B - human - you do the talking, with your female attorney present and present the image that you think the situation was handled acceptably. There’s very little political upside to Option B for someone who is not holding, or running for, statewide office.

    Obvious danger to Option B is that he is the one talking, which for someone who rarely does this in public, on an issue like this with a huge generational gap, is a big risk. So, the political creature he is chose safer Option A, the political route. He knows he doesn’t have to appear as anything other than an out-of-touch politician to the 99.5% of Illinoisans who will not see his name on their ballot.

  46. - low level - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 2:36 pm:

    =This was clear when Dems lost seats despite the anti-Trump wave in 2016. =
    Downstate Trump was quite popular, leading to the defeat of 5 Democratic downstate reps (one gain) and 2 senate districts. What was remarkable were the holds in the suburbs and increaes in winning margain.

    Clearly, the House and Senate political operations were working quite well- especially the Laura Murphy vs Mel Thillens win where many were predicting disaster for Murphy.

    As to whether he has become a liability, that remains to be seen.

  47. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 3:08 pm:

    =This was clear when Dems lost seats despite the anti-Trump wave in 2016. =

    There was no “anti-Trump wave.” There was a Trump wave, and it took out several downstate Dem lawmakers. Those races were close; if anything, the folks who made it through the Trump wave are appreciative of Madigan’s help.

  48. - OneMan - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 3:17 pm:

    The challenge I think he faces is in large part due to his longevity in the leadership role. If someone comes forward with something from 20 years ago is his response at the time going to be judged by the standards of the time or the standards of today.

    He has been in ‘charge’ so long that odds are other things have happened during his tenure, any organization that big is going to have issues over time.

    The question is, how will the response that occurred or didn’t occur is judged.

  49. - I’m famous too - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 3:35 pm:

    —statute of limitations on sexual harassment has expired—

    I’m confused. Why didnt she seek advice of the Human Right Commission or legal advice from an attorney prior to the expiration? I’m really not blaming her for the harassment. I just don’t understand - if she took the time to write a letter to the Speaker (months later) and speak out at press conference (3 months later with 2 attys), then I find it hard to believe that she wasn’t strong enough to seek outside advise on her own prior to the expiration. Maybe I’m too independent, but I knowing something is important to me, I always do my homework and know all of my options.

    Also can anyone name an employer that would hire a former employee back during an investigation? I’m not sure this would qualify as retailiation, it’s not like she was employed and seeking a promotion or assignment and was denied a promotion as a result of disclosing the sexual harassment. She resigned and months later during the course of an investigation asked an attorney about going back on payroll. Don’t most employers wait until an investigation is done before making employment decisions?

  50. - Anon - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 3:40 pm:

    Wier Vaught yesterday: “Miss Hampton had a story to tell, Miss Hampton had information, but I also had to get facts from the other side.”

    It’s unlikely that she would reverse it, saying that the Quinns “had a story to tell” while Hampton provided “facts.”

    That’s a subtle bit of lawyering.

  51. - Downstate - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 4:17 pm:

    I’m famous too,
    In today’s environment, people that are made aware of harassment are expected to take responsibility in defending the accused. That’s where Madigan in vulnerable on this. The nuance of what she should have or could have done is lost in the new standard.

    Beyond Miss Hampton, the issue becomes the”tone at the top” if more individuals come forward showing a pattern of MJM slow walking these matters.

  52. - I’m famous too - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 4:25 pm:

    -Downstate- That’s where Madigan in vulnerable on this. —

    When Madigan became aware of the situation, did he ask for an investigation? Yes and one was conducted. Would you have handled anything different?

  53. - Just Visiting - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 4:25 pm:

    Narry a comment on this thread from “Republican” Oswego Willy? I see he is too busy bashing republicans on other threads to dare call out the Speaker.

  54. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 4:35 pm:

    There are 53 comments, - Just Visiting -, and your lone comment here is about me?

    That’s probably more telling.

    The fact also you want to make this a “partisan issue” is most likely why I haven’t commented.

    Your phony concern for me, and the partisan lens you chose is noted.

  55. - Downstate - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 4:44 pm:

    I’m famous too,
    - Would you have handled anything differently?-

    Certainly a legitimate question. Yes, I would have referred the matter to either the House counsel, or the IL Democrat Party counsel. Instead MJM referred it to his personal attorney.

    Looking at this through the scope of several boards that I sit on, it would be more than bizarre for any organization head to say they responded to an organizational sexual harassment complaint by using their personal attorney to investigate.

    If he had referred it to counsel for either organization, then the counsel is leading the charge. Referring the item to his personal attorney means, in my mind, that he is the one directing this. Hence, he would be answerable for the speed and response of the matter.

  56. - Anon - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 4:50 pm:

    What baffles me is this - She claims that she went to the Alderman in February of 2017 and told him about the harassment. The harassment stopped immediately after that. Then she waits until November to write the letter to the Speaker in which she states she doesn’t want “to hurt” any of the people at the 13th Ward.

    So what I am left wondering is what exactly was she hoping the outcome of all this would be?

  57. - Barrington - Wednesday, Feb 14, 18 @ 6:36 pm:

    Confused by this all this. Emails stopped after complaint. So how is employer liable for harassment? Former supervisor fired after letter written by former employee 9 months later and after investigation. How is employer liable for harassment? Did former employee even work long enough to file EEOC complaint?

  58. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Feb 15, 18 @ 6:40 am:

    @Anon 4:50-

    She wrote the letter in November because she was looking for work.

    The message seems pretty clear to me: I want a job, and I don’t want to hurt anyone in the 13th Ward, but I will if you don’t give me the job I want.

    Again: no sane elected official engages in that kind of implicit quid pro quo. Using your official influence in order to get someone a job to silence their sexual harrassment complaint gets you into potential legal hot water and digs you into a deeper political hole.

  59. - Loop Lady - Wednesday, Feb 21, 18 @ 2:54 pm:

    This probably will not be the end of Madigan, but he hates the limelight and the attention he is receiving must really grate on him… you are a public servant after all…

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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