Spotlight Politics: Watchdog Releases Sexual Harassment Report

A state watchdog’s highly anticipated report on sexual harassment is finally public. Our politics team of Paris Schutz, Amanda Vinicky and Carol Marin discuss that and more in this week’s Spotlight Politics.

The state’s legislative inspector general has released a pair of highly anticipated reports looking into potential wrongdoing on the part of former top lieutenants to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

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Madigan also chairs the state Democratic Party.  

Watchdog Carol Pope was looking into possible sexual harassment by Kevin Quinn, brother of 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn, after allegations of sexual harassment made by former Madigan campaign worker Alaina Hampton. (Read that report here.) Pope also investigated bullying by Madigan’s former chief of staff, Tim Mapes. (That report is here.)

The report released Wednesday concludes that both Kevin Quinn and Mapes should be banned from future state employment.

Kevin Quinn had, while working for the state, continually sent Hampton – a campaign worker for Madigan’s political operations – suggestive text messages despite her continual refusal of his attempted advances.  

Pope found Kevin Quinn would have been in violation of the state’s sexual harassment law had it been in place at the time, but that the law cannot be replied retroactively.

Kevin Quinn did violate state law by refusing to cooperate with the investigation, Pope wrote in her report.

Pope referred the matter to Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office “for a determination of whether criminal charges should be brought against K. Quinn” but she wrote that in late July the office “notified me they were declining to bring a criminal prosecution against Mr. K. Quinn related to Alaina Hampton’s allegations.”

Raoul is also a Democrat.

His office said Wednesday that charges were not brought because a thorough review found there was not enough evidence to prosecute Kevin Quinn for breaking a criminal law.

Raoul’s office said Wednesday night that the inspector general had asked whether Kevin Quinn’s text messages to Hampton had violated Illinois’ cyberstalking or “harassment through electronic communications” statutes.

“The Attorney General’s office takes very seriously allegations of sexual harassment, whether as a civil or criminal matter,” Raoul spokeswoman Annie Thompson wrote in a statement. “Although our office does not have primary jurisdiction over the matter, attorneys in the Public Integrity Bureau carefully reviewed the evidence and concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support criminal charges under Illinois’ statute prohibiting cyberstalking, or under Illinois’ statute prohibiting harassment through electronic communications. A portion of the cyberstalking statute that would have provided a broader basis for criminal charges was ruled unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2017.”

Mapes resigned the summer of 2018 after he faced sexual harassment allegations from state employee Sherri Garrett.

Pope found that Mapes “engaged in misconduct, namely sexual harassment” and that he violated the state Ethics Act by refusing to “cooperate” with the inspector general’s investigation.

In a response letter filed with Pope, Mapes’ attorney James Pullos protested the findings and their public release because “evidence of sexual harassment is grossly insufficient” and that her report is “inaccurate or without merit.”

Garrett, who has since retired, issued a statement Wednesday night calling the report’s release a “key step forward.”

“It is unfortunate, but not surprising that Mr. Mapes refused to participate in the investigation, and that his attorney followed up with a six-page diatribe defending the indefensible. He does not appear to have learned anything from this process. Nor has he indicated any sign of remorse,” Garrett said. “As such, I am relieved that the Legislative Inspector General has found that Mr. Mapes should be prevented from being hired in state government going forward. He has demonstrated a track record of abuse toward myself and many of my colleagues over the years, and he should not be invited back in to continue that pattern of behavior. It is my hope that other victims of harassment and intimidation will feel safer coming forward about their own stories in light of this outcome.”

In a statement issued by a public relations firm on Madigan’s behalf, the speaker focused on changes made since Hampton first came forward in February 2018.

“The former Legislative Inspector General reviewed my actions and determined Ms. Hampton’s allegations against me were unfounded. She advised me that my office took the investigation seriously and made a reasoned decision as to how to impose consequences for Kevin Quinn’s misconduct,” Madigan said in the emailed statement. “I have strengthened and improved protections for victims of harassment in both my office and across my political organizations. These changes include instituting mandatory training on sexual harassment, intimidation, and other important workplace protections, and creating strong reporting mechanisms to report workplace complaints. I am committed to ensuring that anyone who reports a complaint is protected, they are treated fairly and that everyone has a safe and welcoming work environment.”

Federal corruption probe

As chair of the Illinois Senate’s Transportation Committee, Democratic state Sen. Martin Sandoval had a heavy role in the state’s $45 billion infrastructure plan – Illinois’ first in a decade.

But after FBI agents raided Sandoval’s office and home last week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, also a Democrat, said Wednesday that Sandoval should resign from that powerful post.

“If he doesn’t step aside, he should be removed,” Pritzker said as he publicly took questions from reporters for the first time in five weeks. Pritkzer has been largely out of the public eye as he recovers from a fractured femur.

Senate President John Cullerton is not forcing out Sandoval, however.

“This remains an active investigation and the Senate President wants to make informed decisions,” he said in a statement.

Sandoval has made no public comment since the raids a week ago, and has not been criminally charged.

But the Senate president’s office this week released, at reporters’ requests, a heavily redacted copy of the federal search warrant that facilitated the Sept. 24 raid of Sandoval’s capitol office.

The subpoena makes clear that the FBI is interested in a Sandoval’s own company, a concrete company, a highway company and construction company and a handful of state department of transportation officials.

Specifics – including names of the firms – are impossible to know, because they’re blacked out.

WBEZ is suing in an attempt to lift the redactions.

The trouble with Sandoval comes as state Sen. Tom Cullerton, a distant relation of the Senate President, has been charged with embezzlement.

He, too, remains chair of a Senate committee, though he was moved from his post leading one focused on labor to one focused on veteran’s affairs.

Sen. Tom Cullerton has pleaded not guilty.

Follow us on Twitter: @wttw | @paschutz@AmandaVinicky @CarolMarin

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Spotlight Politics: Another Day, Another Politician, Another FBI Raid

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