Rep. Tammy Duckworth’s workplace retaliation suit is, once again, set for trial, after the case’s plaintiffs refused to accept a settlement offer, the Daily Herald reports.
The lawsuit, which stems from Duckworth's time as director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, was settled last month. Nevertheless, the plaintiffs, Denise Goins and Christine Butler, were reportedly offended by the Duckworth campaign’s response to the settlement. Deputy campaign manager Matt McGrath issued a statement calling the 8-year-old lawsuit “a frivolous workplace case.”
According to the Daily Herald, within an hour of leaving the courthouse, Goins and Butler contacted their attorney to let him know that they wanted to go to trial. The trial is set to begin Aug. 15 in downstate Jonesboro.
The lawsuit against Duckworth alleges ethics violations and workplace retaliation, although the congresswoman denies treating the employees unfairly.
Duckworth, who is slated to speak at the Democratic National Convention Thursday, is locked in one of the nation’s most hotly-contested Senate race, against incumbent Republican Mark Kirk.
Kirk's campaign was using the case as a component of their strategy against Duckworth, even sending "save the date" postcards to remind voters of the trial. The campaign has also tried to link Duckworth to imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who appointed Duckworth as the director of the IDVA in 2006.
The senator's campaign issued a statement Thursday, claiming that the case is indicative of Duckworth’s character.
“The fact that Duckworth continued to bully and attack these whistleblowers even during settlement discussions is a window into her true character,” Kirk spokesman Kevin Artl said in a statement. “Now that the trial is set, it is finally time for Duckworth to truthfully account for her actions."
Both women say they weren’t pressured by the Kirk campaign to reject the settlement offer.
Meanwhile, Duckworth slammed Kirk while addressing the Illinois delegation at the DNC Wednesday morning, claiming she is running for Senate to “help Mark Kirk retire.”
The Duckworth campaign directed questions to the Illinois Attorney General’s office. The AG’s office did not immediately respond to Ward Room’s request for comment.