Legislative Leaders Say They Won't Join Madigan in Releasing List of Misconduct Allegations - NBC Chicago
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Legislative Leaders Say They Won't Join Madigan in Releasing List of Misconduct Allegations

Senate Democrats say they will not be releasing a list of harassment or retaliation complaints anytime soon

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan released a list of nine complaints that include harassment or discrimination over the past 5 years inside his office. Patrick Fazio reports. (Published Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018)

    It appears House Speaker Mike Madigan’s call for all legislative leaders to follow his lead and release a list of the complaints involving harassment, intimidation and retaliation involving their caucuses has fallen on deaf ears.

    Madigan said earlier this week he prepared “an educational document,” making public a list of nine complaints from the past five years, without identifying any of those accused. 

    “We don’t tolerate inappropriate behavior,” Madigan told reporters, though the list was not entirely comprehensive - pertaining only to state and not campaign staff, with multiple exclusions. 

    He also said he sent a letter to the other top leaders suggesting they do the same. 

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    But Senate Democrats will not be releasing a list of harassment or retaliation complaints anytime soon, they said.  

    “In the Senate, our personnel policies spell out that any complaints are to be treated in as confidential a manner as possible in order to protect the privacy and rights of the victim. Our priority is a professional work environment in which anyone who feels victimized can come forward with confidence knowing that their rights and privacy will be protected,” John Patterson, a spokesman for Senate President John Cullerton, said. 

    The Chicago Tribune pointed out that despite the investigation into state Sen. Ira Silverstein, Cullerton has donated $115,400 from his campaign fund to support Silverstein, along with $6,430 in campaign ads. 

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    Cullerton did not respond to multiple requests for comment regarding his support for Silverstein.

    In October, a lobbyist accused Silverstein of harassment as she advocated for a bill in the legislature, producing hundreds of pages of Facebook messages with the lawmaker.

    At the time, Cullerton said “an unacceptable culture” had existed for too long. The legislative inspector general deemed the conduct “unbecoming a legislator” but noted there were no state laws that provided sanctions for such behavior. 

    As for the Republican leadership, Eleni Demertzis, a spokesman for House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, said there will also be no list of harassment complaints released to the public. 

    “The House Republican Caucus has a zero tolerance policy for all forms of harassment to ensure a safe environment throughout the Capitol,” Demertzis said.

    She also forwarded a copy of the harassment section of the handbook given to Republican House members.

    Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady, will not release a list either.

    “Harassment in the workplace is unacceptable. Those who come to work must be able to do so in a safe, harassment-free environment,” his spokesman Jason Gerwig said. “Our personnel policy clearly prohibits sexual harassment and ensures that complaints are handled in a confidential manner in order to protect the privacy and rights of victims.”