The woman who publicly accused a former aide to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan of harassment last month said the powerful Democrat's warning legislators that he will "personally get involved" in complaints "rings hollow."
“Speaker Madigan now says he is committed to getting ‘personally involved’ in preventing sexual harassment. That may prove to be a step forward--but today, it rings hollow," Alaina Hampton said in a statement. "The Speaker had three months to get ‘personally involved’ in my case, but took no action until he knew the story was about to come out."
Hampton came forward on Feb. 13 to detail allegations she made against her supervisor Kevin Quinn, a high-ranking political aide that Madigan announced the day before had been fired. She said she reported Quinn's inappropriate behavior to his supervisor, Ald. Marty Quinn, in February 2017, before sending a letter to Madigan personally in November.
Hampton's account, as well as the termination of another high-ranking operative in Madigan's organization over misconduct complaints later that week, have put the country's longest-serving House speaker under a microscope.
Madigan, who hired an independent counsel to review harassment policies and released an incomplete list of misconduct allegations and their handling, again addressed the controversy at the Capitol on Tuesday, distributing a statement to legislators claiming he would take a hardline approach to complaints.
"I want to be crystal clear - it is inappropriate for members to make sexual comments or sexual advances to, or engage in sexual relationships with, staff, whether that person is employed directly by you, the Office of the Speaker, or another caucus. This applies to both male and female legislators," Madigan's statement to lawmakers read.
“It is clear from my discussions that staff view you as their superiors or supervisors, and with that you are in positions of power over them," he continued. "This dynamic is ripe for potential harassment. I expect each of you to treat staff with respect and keep your relationships strictly professional."
"If I become aware of any complaints against a member by staff, or another member, I will personally get involved to put an end to it."
Madigan said that statement came after weeks of meetings with Democratic caucus members, staff and lobbyists to discuss sexual harassment.
But Hampton questioned the motivation of Madigan's claims.
“Perhaps my telling my own story publicly, combined with the EEOC's notification of my right to sue last week, has caused the Speaker to have a revelation about his ethical and moral obligation to those who have been harassed and even assaulted in his own organization,” Hampton said.
“More likely, he’s being driven to action by the threat of losing his grip on power - not by any personal concern for the well being of the women in the House Democratic Caucus or the Democratic Party of Illinois.”
Hampton said she and “countless other victims and survivors” will be watching Madigan’s "next moves closely."
“We are hopeful that he will back up his words with meaningful and swift action,” her statement ended.