Democratic state senator Kwame Raoul on Wednesday challenged the “veracity” of Pat Quinn during an Illinois Attorney General forum featuring candidates from both parties.
The interchange occurred following a question about sexual harassment allegations at the state capitol in Springfield.
“The senate went along for three years without a legislative inspector general. Twenty-seven harassment complaints were filed,” Quinn said. “We cannot rely on senators including my colleague to the left of me here who failed to act.”
Raoul, sitting beside Quinn, said he does not serve on the legislative ethics commission which appoints the IG.
"I don’t know there were 27 harassment complaints. What I do know is there were 27 ethics complaints," Raoul said, who questioned how Quinn would know they all dealt with harassment. "That’s an indication of the veracity of what comes out of his mouth," he said.
Ten candidates are vying to become Illinois Attorney General.
Eight Democrats and two Republicans filled the Union League Club stage on Wednesday, all hoping for the chance to succeed Lisa Madigan. The stunning announcement by the longest serving state AG last September that she would not seek re-election sent Democrats scrambling.
The candidate’s appearance came at a forum sponsored by the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform and featured: three former federal prosecutors, (Renato Mariotti, Scott Drury and Sharon Fairley), a mayor, (Nancy Rotering of Highland Park), the head of the Park Board (Jesse Ruiz), a public defender (Aaron Goldstein), Raoul and Quinn as well as Republicans Erica Harold and Gary Grasso.
Only Quinn carries statewide recognition having been elected treasurer, lieutenant governor and governor. He and Raoul are considered frontrunners on the Democratic side.
Asked to raise their hands if they believe House Speaker Mike Madigan should step down as head of the state party following the explosive claims of sexual harassment involving two key political operatives, only Jesse Ruiz declined, though Raoul seemed to only reluctantly raise his hand.
With such a crowded field the Democratic winner could be decided with only 25-30-percent of the vote, setting up a contest between either Harold or Grasso.