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The rest of the story

Friday, Jan 31, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Sun-Times

State Sen. Cristina Castro, D-Elgin, likened the corruption cases to recent sexual harassment scandals in Springfield, saying both flourish because those who know about them say nothing.

“There’s a culture down here of a cone of silence,” she said.

State Rep. Grant Wehrli, R-Naperville, said lawmakers who do speak out are often punished.

“Leaders abuse the legislative process to silence those that dissent in having the integrity to call out what it is going on around here,” Wehrli said. “I take it as a form of overt bullying, and it needs to stop.”

* More from Sen. Castro’s comments

If people see something, or know of something, they should be reporting it. I sit on the Legislative Ethics Commission, and when you talk about sexual harassment, we worked really tirelessly to help people understand and feel comfortable to report that type of behavior. We should be doing this with this as well. […]

With everything that happened with Sen. Sandoval, you see the comments in different areas that say, ‘Oh yes this is true, this happened to me, he bullied me here he shook me down for this.’ It goes back to it shouldn’t take the FBI to come and handle the situation, right? It should be that folks should step forward and report those instances right away. And that’s how you stop the unethical behavior, that’s how you change the culture. […]

Lobbyists sometimes also operate in a cone of silence and they should come forward and report improper activity.

The “comments” she was talking about, I’m told, are some of this site’s reader comments about Sandoval’s behavior.

* What Rep. Wehrli actually said

I serve in the minority party and I’ve been a vocal critic of the process around here. And in return for that, what has happened is I’ve had bills that just don’t go anywhere. I mean, there’s an abuse of the legislative process to silence those that dissent and have the integrity to call out what is going on around here. I take that as a form of overt bullying and it needs to stop. So when you talk about calling it out, yes, I 100 percent agree, but every legislator knows that if they do that there are certain repercussions that are going to happen. That is unacceptable, it’s unethical and that needs to stop.


  1. - Wondering out loud - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 10:33 am:

    Who are the “leaders” that supposedly engage in these problematic behaviors. There is no shred of evidence that any “leaders” have done any wrong doing. The current long term leader, Madigan, has a lot of people supporting him. Why would so many people support him if he was a problem? The press would be all over it. No way he would stay in power. These accusations about “leaders” must be talking about someone else.

  2. - Just Me 2 - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 10:38 am:

    Back in my day Republican bills passed all the time, but only if a targeted Democrat copied/pasted that language into one of their bills.

  3. - Birds on the Bat - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 10:39 am:

    Why would so many people support him if he was a problem?

    Because he controls the cash, among other things.

  4. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 10:40 am:

    Outside the prism of what Wehrli thinks is his singling out, does Mr. Wehrli have 60 to put in the stairs?

    This crutch idea that “I’m in the minority I’m useless”, maybe it’s the legislator can’t cobble enough support on the merit of the issue, no matter how others see that legislator.

    Mr. Wehrli is going to be in a tough race, I believe he’s loaned his own campaign monies, but as far as a record, Mr. Wehrli’s claim to fame is a mockable twitter and a seemingly weekly call for Auditor Mautino’s resignation.

    If Mr. Wehrli wants to frame his own ineffectiveness as a champion for something of another, that’s one way to run, I guess.

    ===“… I mean, there’s an abuse of the legislative process to silence those that dissent and have the integrity to call out what is going on around here. I take that as a form of overt bullying and it needs to stop. …”===

    Put 60 on the stairs, then point out how you feel things are stopping.

    That’s the *far* better argument.

  5. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 10:40 am:

    I find it hard to believe Sen. Sandoval or Rep. Arroyo engaged in this behavior without the leaders’ tacit permission or at least knowledge. So, reporting these issue to leadership would be pretty naive since they probably knew something was going on and weren’t going to do anything to stop it.

  6. - OneMan - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 10:41 am:

    == Why would so many people support him if he was a problem? ==

    Well, it has been illustrated that some of his people have been a problem (you might want to look up Tim Mapes) in the past.

    Why would so many people support him? Because the money available to him via various political funds can be used to help you as a candidate or help someone running against you in a primary. In a primary the candidate he supports generally wins.

    If you are in a tight general election race those funds can also be very helpful in winning election or re-election.

    He controls what bills come to the floor.

    But besides for all that, yeah sure be the person who stands up to him, that has worked out so well for legislators in the past.

  7. - Buck Henry, RIP - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 10:46 am:

    Props to Sen. Castro for the cone of silence reference as we morn the author of that brilliant concept.

  8. - Centennial - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 10:49 am:

    What is Castro saying? Sandavol was blatantly asking lobbyists for bribes and they all simply complied? I find that hard to believe. I took the Cap Fax comments regarding his behavior to mean that no one who dealt with him was surprised that Sandavol sunk to the level of straight up asking someone for cash. Not that he asked every lobbyist he talked to for bribe money.

  9. - Marty36 - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 10:53 am:

    Castro’s comments are self-serving and designed to reflect that one of her colleagues broke the law. Wehril is also trying to deflect from his inability to pass a bill. Rather than try to “blame everyone else” Casto and Wehril need to look in the mirror and accept some responsibility.

  10. - Unpopular - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 10:53 am:

    Wondering Aloud is a good name, because you certainly are not thinking aloud.

  11. - Annonin - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 10:55 am:

    It is always watch whiner mature. Not content to be the regular pilot for the no sponsorless GOP clown car SquirleyWherli now believes his bills meet death due to unethical actions. I think he said he was being bullied. He should ask the victims of RepPaws if they agree.
    Meanwhile he should know his bills generally suck. Period

  12. - 47th Ward - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 11:04 am:

    ===It should be that folks should step forward and report those instances right away.===

    Maybe they could set up an anonymous reporting system that protects the victims? There are some lobbyists who’d love to be able to call out the egregious shakedowns as well as the minor ones if they could do so with absolute confidentiality.

    Like sexual harassment, a lot of these cases are he-said, he-said, and there is generally no evidence available to either side to prove or disprove what was said. That makes leveling a public charge against a sitting legislator an end-of-career move for some lobbyists.

    1-800-SHAKEDOWN. Call today.

  13. - Juvenal - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 11:12 am:

    Am I missing something, or is it Wehrli’s own party that has been shunning him?

    His legislation has died with few if any co-sponsors, suggesting that either his problem is with his own caucus, or he just has not been doing the work.

  14. - JS Mill - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 11:13 am:

    Wherli must not be familiar with his Twitter account. The man is a complete troll. That is his entire body of work.

    I hope he does not live in a glass house.

  15. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 11:17 am:

    === His legislation has died with few if any co-sponsors, suggesting that either his problem is with his own caucus, or he just has not been doing the work.===

    It’s confusing to think “I’m ineffective, but it’s not my fault” as a strong reason to believe a legislator deserves to be re-elected.

    Could Wehrli not get the votes to *show* how his bills are getting dumped?

    Makes the work horse / show horse analogy seem more true?

    That’ll be some interesting mail pieces;

    “I can’t get things done, but that’s because I’m ineffective”?

    I think a former governor tried an off-shoot of that, “I’m not in charge, but I’m trying to be in charge”… how did that work out?

  16. - 32nd warder - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 11:19 am:

    big sen. castro fan, but why is it up to lobbyists to fix the ethical lapses of legislators? lobbyists not only have their own self interest to protect, but the self interest of all of their clients. if leaders have retaliated against legislators who have stepped up, that’s unfortunate. but the legislators are in control of their own destiny. imagine the ripple effect a legislator’s retaliation could have on a lobbyist. lobbyists are caught in the middle, and they are always the scapegoats when the time comes for ethics reform. legislators make the laws. lobbyists try do their best to abide. the problem is in the legislative bodies, and that’s where the solution is.

  17. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 11:27 am:

    32nd warder — I believe the Senator’s point was how to we create an environment where a lobbyist, or anyone else victimized by unethical or illegal behavior, feels comfortable reporting it to the proper authorities (and knows who those authorities are).

  18. - Juvenal - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 11:39 am:

    @Michele -

    Lobbyists rightly fear that reporting a legislator will cost them access, clients and income.

    The solution is to make failure to report punishable by suspension of your lobbyist registration of up to 5 years or a life ban.

  19. - 32nd warder - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 12:08 pm:

    Michelle, good point. i reread the statement. I understand what she is saying. we are a long way off from being in a place where lobbyists feel safe reporting this type of behavior.

  20. - Bertrum Cates - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 1:28 pm:

    = I serve in the minority party and I’ve been a vocal critic of the process around here. And in return for that, what has happened is I’ve had bills that just don’t go anywhere. =

    Somebody please take the gentleman from Naperville someplace quiet and explain it to him. HE JUST SAID IT, and he still doesn’t get it.


  21. - Bertrum Cates - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 1:42 pm:

    HB 362: “Amends the Minimum Wage Law. Provides that an employer may impose a disciplinary suspension without pay upon certain bona fide executive, administrative, and professional employees and certain employees of governmental bodies.”

    HB 874: “Requires political committees to include a copy or image of any receipt received for any expenditure that must be reported.”

    HB 3131 “Provides that by no later than July 1, 2020, each (retirement) System shall establish and post on its website a searchable database of the names of all persons receiving an annuity from the System and the amount of the annuity paid by the System to that person each month.”

    HB 3235 “Restricts participation in the General Assembly Retirement System by members of the General Assembly to persons who become participants before the effective date of the amendatory Act…”

    HB 3644 “Requires the General Assembly Retirement System to establish a self-directed retirement plan.”

    HB 4035 “With regard to school report cards, provides that, except as required by federal law or for data collected uniformly for all ethnic subgroups among the entire student population in this State, any data collected by the State Board of Education pertaining to students may not be disaggregated by ethnic subgroups.”

    All in Rules.

    No co-sponsors.

    Yup. Bullying put the scrap wood in his spokes.

  22. - For the record - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 1:50 pm:

    Wehrli is focused on retweets and “likes,” not passing bills.

    Being a victim makes for better social media content.

  23. - Legal Aid - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 3:27 pm:

    =suspension of your lobbyist registration of up to 5 years or a life ban==

    Overly restricting the right to petition seems like bad policy.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievance.

    All persons may speak, write and publish freely, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty. In trials for libel, both civil and criminal, the truth, when published
    with good motives and for justifiable ends, shall be a sufficient defense.
    (Source: Illinois Constitution.)

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
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