The former girlfriend of state Rep. Bob Rita spoke publicly Thursday about allegations of domestic abuse, saying House Speaker Mike Madigan was aware of her claims and still supported Rita as he ran for the General Assembly.
Rita is the third person with connections to Madigan's office to be accused of misconduct in recent weeks. Rita was acquitted of domestic violence 16 years ago, however an order of protection remained for two months after the trial was over. His former girlfriend told NBC 5 what it was like then and how her father, former state Rep. Andy McGann reached out to Madigan for help.
Liz hogan recalls what her father told her once she told him about the allegation that in 2002 Rita attacked her
"We need to go talk to Mike Madigan," she said. "We need to see if something can be done."
Key operatives Kevin Quinn and Shaw Decremer have been recently dismissed from campaigns. Rita, who has close ties to Madigan, is facing two opponents, one of them is Mary Carvlin.
"Mike Madigan says we don't tolerate inappropriate behavior, but he has and he does, and he is now," Carvlin said. "He is backing Rita now, with money and staff, and he has for 16 years."
Madigan's spokesman says the speaker does not recall meeting Hogan's father. Rita was acquitted in the trial, and in a written statement Rita said "The claims were false then and are false today. Since then I have been a champion for women's issues in Springfield and in the district."
"That's a straight up lie," Hogan said in response. "It's a lie."
NBC 5 has previously reported Madigan's 13th Ward democratic organization has supported a ghost candidate in the Rita campaign to split the vote. Hogan says hearing others speak of harassment lead her to speak out publicly.
"It's a lot of women out there who this is happening to right now who are afraid to come forward," Hogan said.
Rita was not available to speak on camera. He has raised more than $1 million, one of the largest campaign war chests in the Illinois house.