Madigan Fires Longtime Political Operative Over Allegations of Misconduct - NBC Chicago
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Madigan Fires Longtime Political Operative Over Allegations of Misconduct

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    A high-ranking political operative working for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has been fired for misconduct, Madigan's office announced Monday.

    Kevin Quinn, brother of 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn, was terminated from his role in Madigan's government office and is no longer associated with the powerful Democrat's political organization, Madigan said in a statement.

    The speaker said a "courageous woman" informed him in November that Kevin Quinn had "made unwanted advances and sent her inappropriate text messages," prompting him to consult with his attorney, Heather Wier Vaught, and direct her to conduct an investigation.

    Wier Vaught, Madigan's private attorney who previously served as the chief legal counsel of the speaker's office, "conducted numerous interviews" and "reviewed the evidence" in the case, Madigan said. She came to the conclusion that Kevin Quinn "engaged in inappropriate conduct and failed to exercise the professional judgment I expect of those affiliated with my political organizations and the Office of the Speaker," Madigan's statement reads.

    Kevin Quinn had worked for Madigan for nearly 20 years, both on campaigns and in Madigan's constituent service office that he shares with Ald. Marty Quinn on Chicago's Southwest Side.

    "While this is the only allegation of such conduct, Mr. Quinn also recently pled guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct," Madigan continued. "Based on the culmination of events, Alderman Marty Quinn and I decided that Kevin should no longer be affiliated with the political organization. For the record, Kevin was previously an employee of my State office, and he will not be returning to that role."

    Kevin Quinn earned $64,900 as a program specialist in the speaker's government office in 2017, according to records from the Illinois Comptroller. He earned $38,500 in that role in 2016, but quarterly filings with the Illinois State Board of Elections show that he was also paid $70,824.72 from Madigan's political committee in payroll, mileage reimbursement and insurance benefits that same year.

    Madigan said Monday that the incident prompted Wier Vaught to make "several recommendations aimed at preventing inappropriate behavior and improving methods for reporting and responding to such allegations" that his political committees are working to implement.

    Though Madigan did not release details of the changes being made, the allegations and subsequent firing of Kevin Quinn surfaced as a wave of misconduct complaints continue to impact statehouses and politicians nationwide.

    Illinois lawmakers appointed a new legislative inspector general in November to deal with a backlog of complaints filed while the position was vacant beginning in 2013.

    That action, as well as training for legislators and the creation of a task force, was taken after a woman lobbying for a crime bill accused state Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) of sexual harassment.

    The new inspector general found last month that Silverstein made inappropriate comments and acted unprofessionally but did not harass the woman.

    After those allegations were made public in October, hundreds of lobbyists, lawmakers, staffers and political consultants signed an open letter describing a widespread culture of misogyny in Springfield and demanding change.