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Rotheimer claims she filed ARDC beefs against Madigan, Cullerton and the LIG, among others

Tuesday, Jun 12, 2018

* Illinois News Network

A victims’ rights activist who was the first to publicly name a state legislator for alleged abuse of power has now filed a complaint against a slew of other state lawmakers who are also lawyers, claiming misconduct, malfeasance and other violations of professional standards.

Denise Rotheimer said Monday she filed a complaint with Illinois’ Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission against several high-ranking lawmakers, including state Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, and House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago. Rotheimer also filed complaints against lawmakers who are attorneys on the Legislative Ethics Commission and against the special legislative inspector general. The ARDC was established by the Illinois Supreme Court to “promote and protect the integrity of the legal profession.” The Illinois Supreme Court has the authority to disbar attorneys.

The complaints stem from the nearly three year vacancy for the legislative inspector general position. The inspector general is responsible for investigating allegations of lawmaker wrongdoing. While the post was vacant, complaints forwarded to the office sat untouched.

“Hopefully the ARDC having respect for the profession will see that those who have licenses to practice in the state are held to the laws and whether or not they become lawmakers are not immune to breaking those laws,” Rotheimer said.

A check of the ARDC’s website at 10:22 this morning shows no complaints filed. But it hasn’t been updated since Friday.

…Adding… Rotheimer sent me the receipt she received after filing her request for an investigation. Click here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

33 Comments
  1. - Perrid - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 10:29 am:

    What? Lawmakers who are lawyers should be disbarred for not filling a vacant position? To my knowledge there is no law saying the GA has to fill the position. Again, what?


  2. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 10:29 am:

    FYI, ARDC complaints don’t become public unless, after an initial review process by the Administrator’s office, they are found to be potentially valid and the Administrator files a complaint. Probably 90%+ never get to that point.


  3. - JoanP - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 10:30 am:

    The ARDC waits until the complaint has been served to post it on their site: “Disciplinary complaints become public after service upon the respondent/lawyer and the proof of service is filed with the ARDC Clerk”.


  4. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 10:34 am:

    I guess it was a slow “news” day, and Rotheimer was happy to oblige. But what would the ARDC do with this, other than dismiss it for failing to state a claim?


  5. - Texas Red - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 10:37 am:

    How Long Will It Take Before I Hear Something?

    We will notify you in writing of our decision whether to investigate about two weeks after we received your request. If we determine that there is not a sufficient basis for us to investigate, our letter to you will explain the reasons for our decision. If you have any questions about your request, we ask that you direct your questions to the Commission lawyer who handled your request and that you refer to your file number.


  6. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 10:37 am:

    I also don’t see from the article what Rule of Professional Conduct is alleged to have been violated. That’s a surefire way not to have the Administrator file a complaint. To clarify my earlier post, the Administrator acts as prosecutor and only complaints filed by the Administrator may result in possible punishment to an attorney. If you look at complaints that are public on the site, they are all brought by the Administrator, but most likely as a result of a communication from a member of the public or another attorney or judge.


  7. - A guy - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 10:37 am:

    Ron B’s point is precisely correct. I have no expertise in this area whatsoever, but by experience did witness this process and how the procedure worked on a person who ultimately did not have his complaint against him become public.

    Thus, they release it where they did, how they did.


  8. - Juice - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 10:39 am:

    “whether or not they become lawmakers are not immune to breaking those laws”

    Wrong. I don’t know if I have ever seen a more clear-cut real life example of why there is a legislative immunity clause of the constitution.


  9. - Colin O'Scopy - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 10:39 am:

    Ok, I won’t say Ms. Rotheimer is becoming unhinged. But she is certainly unraveling.

    The amount of hurt she must have suffered because of her daughter’s abuse is clearly palpable and her actions to get a legislative remedy for other victims are clouding her judgement.

    There is a smattering of naivete in what she is doing. But one thing it’s not doing is helping her cause. Too bad, she probably could have made a decent victims’ advocate otherwise.


  10. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 10:40 am:

    ===But one thing it’s not doing is helping her cause===

    It appears she has a new cause.


  11. - Sue - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 10:41 am:

    The ARDC gets frivolous filings all the time just like these


  12. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 10:44 am:

    –The ARDC gets frivolous filings all the time just like these–

    Exactly. Which is why the prosecutors screen them privately initially and 90+% don’t become public. Otherwise even the filing of a frivolous complaint might besmirch the reputation of attorneys who don’t deserve it. For example, criminal defense attorneys get complaints all the time just because their client got convicted. Divorce attorneys get complaints because the other spouse didn’t like them.


  13. - Been There - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 10:47 am:

    I wonder if Sen Connelly received a complaint? He doesn’t seem to be a Proft guy so I guess he probably did.


  14. - Mama - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 10:50 am:

    It is strange that no one has publicly named a Republican state legislator for alleged abuse of power. I honestly do not believe no Republicans are abusing their power. I think the Republican staff are to afraid to name any Republican whom abused his power. It is also strange that all of this is coming out at election time.


  15. - Molly Maguire - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 10:59 am:

    All Dems–motives clear


  16. - SaulGoodman - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 11:02 am:

    **It is strange that no one has publicly named a Republican state legislator for alleged abuse of power.**

    John Anthony says hi.


  17. - JoanP - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 11:13 am:

    =For example, criminal defense attorneys get complaints all the time just because their client got convicted=

    Or found unfit.

    Back in the day, when the ARDC used to make you respond to every complaint, however frivolous, we used to say that they should bin everything with “Elgin Mental Health Center” in the return address.


  18. - A guy - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 11:17 am:

    ==It is strange that no one has publicly named a Republican state legislator for alleged abuse of power==

    So much of their caucuses are relatively new. They’re less likely perhaps than the good ole boys. And, just for clarity…they haven’t had much power to exploit.

    But, your point is well taken. I doubt very much that as this goes along that it won’t snare both parties.


  19. - Undiscovered country - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 11:18 am:

    Rich, once again your commenters are spot on with the intricacies and nuances, this time of the ARDC process. If Ms. Rotheimer was upset about the lack of control and transparency with the LIG process, then she’s going to lose her mind with the ARDC.


  20. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 11:19 am:

    ===So much of their caucuses are relatively new.===

    Kinda defeats the whole “term limits” argument…


  21. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 11:20 am:

    One passionate activist to another
    Let me share a labor leadership training.
    The four criteria of a successful direct action.
    Winnable
    Impactful
    Limited
    Targeted
    W.I.L.T

    I can’t see your action being winnable
    Unless
    Your intension was to stay in the news and to cast aspersions.
    In that case objective achieved
    However
    Frivolous filings
    Erode your legitimacy
    Till
    No one believes you
    Which I would argue is the case

    You are no longer impactful.
    You should have done this before the whole
    Publicity fiasco

    Btw Alinsky’s rule of pushing a negative through to a positive only works if you have legitimacy.


  22. - Louis G. Atsaves - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 11:39 am:

    There seems to be some confusion here.

    The complaints on file by Rotheimer are not the formal complaints filed by the ARDC against the named attorneys after their investigation and determination that the complaint initially filed by the grievant is the basis for a cause or causes of action, i.e. a violation of the Code of Ethics.

    That I believe is the formal complaint that gets filed and posted on the ARDC website.

    The complaints she probably filed are fill in the blank complaint forms or letters sent to the ARDC, which then investigates the matter. If they see something or find a violation during the investigation, the ARDC will then pursue the matter. If they don’t they will send a letter to the attorney indicating they are closing their file. The attorney receiving such a complaint will have to file a written response and include any documentary evidence to support their responses. Occasionally, the ARDC will read the initial complaint and decide an answer is not required. The first attorney I worked for received one of those after the complaint letter stated he had planted a listening device in her head.

    The entire process is posted on the ARDC website.


  23. - anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 11:40 am:

    Molly @ 10:59

    === All Dems–motives clear ===

    From the article: Rotheimer also said Republican statehouse leaders Sen. Bill Brady and Rep. Jim Durkin were still culpable for not putting an LIG in place. But she said she couldn’t find in state statute where minority leaders are legally obligated to certify an LIG.

    She said alongside Madigan and Cullerton, Brady and Durkin should also step down from leadership


  24. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 12:18 pm:

    In their annual reporting, they refer to the initial inquiries from the public as “grievances” rather than complaints to distinguish them from the formal complaints filed by the Administrator which actually starts a full-blown case. Only about 2% make it to some form of punishment apparently. In 2017 they received about 5,200 grievances and only about 118 attorneys were disciplined by the Illinois Supreme Court.


  25. - Cindy Lou - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 12:18 pm:

    Really neither here nor there this long running harassment Me Too thing, but I don’t like the implication that it’s a one party issue or that it’s a state capital only issue.

    It happens statewide. It happens in state agencies and departments all across Illinois… and it’s been happening for years and years. And it isn’t a party line issue nor is it a solely female being abused by male issue.

    And yes, I can understand the call for a human resource office to report problems. But keep in mind, that office will only be as good as the actual desire to a end the problem.

    Me? I got told I was a ‘glitch’ in the system when I tried to reach out to stop sexual harassment and that was under a republican governor and Madigan had nothing to do with any of it nor any of his influence or lack of in it.

    I guess I don’t like how this is being turned into a political party issue nor how eliminating Madigan, or changing leaders of the democrat party or even speaker of the house is going to cure anything.

    No, harassment nor abuse of position doesn’t belong in the capital. It doesn’t belong anywhere in any state office regardless of party or agency or union or non-union… the politic playing needs to be taken out of the cause.

    Fight for the cause because what’s happening is wrong , not because someone sees it as a political hit to get rid of one person/party or another.


  26. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 1:03 pm:

    Does the ARDC have a category for political stunts?


  27. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 1:28 pm:

    Rotheimer continues to be the roving complaint in search of a legit offense.


  28. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 1:49 pm:

    they are silent as the grave, including on secret reprimands. those kinds of things only become public when, say, someone has a second indiscretion. or they claim they were absolved of something for which they were actually secretly reprimanded and they oops themselves into more trouble. famously happened a couple of years ago.


  29. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 1:57 pm:

    She’s a partisan putz.


  30. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 3:07 pm:

    ==It is strange that no one has publicly named a Republican state legislator for alleged abuse of power==

    Dennis Hastert was way ahead of his time.


  31. - Boone's is Back - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 3:57 pm:

    ===Does the ARDC have a category for political stunts?===

    LOLOLOLOL


  32. - Shevek - Tuesday, Jun 12, 18 @ 5:09 pm:

    ==A check of the ARDC’s website at 10:22 this morning shows no complaints filed. But it hasn’t been updated since Friday.==

    That shows complaints filed by the ARDC against attorneys in front of the ARDC Hearing board. Requests for investigations, which is what was filed, are confidential, and therefore would not be posted on the website.


  33. - theCardinal - Wednesday, Jun 13, 18 @ 9:24 am:

    Mission to keep name in some relavent space. Check the box.


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