Former Legislative Inspector General Discusses Report Blocked by Lawmakers - NBC Chicago
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Former Legislative Inspector General Discusses Report Blocked by Lawmakers

Porter — who took the job temporarily — is no longer the legislative inspector general. A new one has been hired.

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    Former Legislative IG Discusses Report Blocked by Lawmakers

    State lawmakers are refusing to release a report conducted by the legislative inspector general that details alleged wrongdoing by a member of the general assembly. Mary Ann Ahern reports. (Published Friday, April 26, 2019)

    State lawmakers are refusing to release a report conducted by the legislative inspector general that details alleged wrongdoing by a member of the general assembly.

    Julie Porter was hired more than 18 months ago after there had been no legislative inspector general for four years. She wants her investigation released, but lawmakers — who have the right to say yes or no — have refused.

    "This can change, this absolutely can and should change," Porter said.

    Former federal prosecutor Porter took the post as acting legislative inspector general in the midst of the #MeToo movement — with a backlog of 27 misconduct complaints — and quickly discovered how limited her authority was.

    "The legislative ethics commission should not be staffed entirely with people in the general assembly," she said. "I’m not criticizing specific members of the commission, but they have inherent, baked in conflicts of interest."

    More complaints came her way.

    “Probably around 50 or so," she said.

    Porter’s report alleging a member of the General Assembly engaged in wrongdoing has not been released — blocked by the lawmakers own rules.

    "I want people to believe that they can come to the legislative inspector general with complaints that will be investigated, where people will be taken seriously and listened to," she said.

    That's not all state lawmakers are blocking. NBC 5 Investigates — along with our partners at Telemundo and the Better Government Association — uncovered over the past 10 years that there has been more than $55 million in public money paid to settle sexual harassment and abuse by government employees in Chicago. But that doesn’t include any claims by state lawmakers or their staffs because the general assembly declared itself exempt from making that information public.

    Porter — who took the job temporarily — is no longer the legislative inspector general. A new one has been hired.

    "These things should be public so people can talk about them," she said.

    Lawmakers could change the rules instead of hiding the inspector general’s reports. They could demand they are made public.