* What Harmon is doing is the opposite of what usually happens in this state when legislators advance to the top of the food chain. Here’s Amanda Vinicky…
At a time when leading legislators’ private side jobs are increasingly under scrutiny, newly elevated state Senate President Don Harmon will step down as a partner at the law firm Burke Burns & Pinelli, Ltd. to focus full-time on his new leadership position.
Harmon told “Chicago Tonight” on Wednesday he met with the firm’s founding partner Mary Patricia Burns on Tuesday to discuss his exit.
“We began the discussion of me stepping away from the practice in order to devote more time to the Senate presidency,” said Harmon, a Democrat who represents Illinois’ 39th District, which covers parts of Oak Park. “We’re working out all those details but I’ve recognized that I just don’t have the time capacity to be a good senate president and to practice law the way I practiced it.”
“I was very careful to manage the conflicts, and my firm was incredibly committed to making sure I had the chance to maintain my integrity,” Harmon told WTTW. “The simple fact of the matter is I just don’t have the time to be a good Senate president and live up to my responsibilities to my partners and my clients.”
Mary Pat Burns, the majority owner of the firm, said in an emailed statement that she and Harmon agreed he could “best serve Illinois by devoting all of his time to his new role in the Senate.”
“It’s been wonderful to practice law with him at Burke Burns & Pinelli for the last 15 years,” she said. “And I take pride in knowing that a WBE firm played such a central role in the life of the new President of the Illinois Senate.”
The headline of that article was nonsense, by the way. “Illinois Senate President Don Harmon ‘stepping away’ from law firm job amid conflict of interest scrutiny.” Somebody does the right thing for a change and that’s the response? Yeah, that’ll encourage more of this sort of behavior.