Editorials

#MeToo meets #NotMe in boss of Illinois Democrats

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan in August became the nation's longest-serving state house speaker. Today marks his 12,091st day in the job.
Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan in August became the nation's longest-serving state house speaker. Today marks his 12,091st day in the job. AP

For three years Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan and his minions didn't see much reason to have an inspector general after the last one skewered Madigan for using the Chicago public transit system as his patronage employment agency. Inaction allowed 27 sexual harassment complaints to pile up.

That changed in November when a press conference and an open letter signed by 160 people decried the state legislature's wanton negligence as the #MeToo movement was exploding. Suddenly Madigan was championing sexual harassment legislation and getting someone to look over those 27 cases.

Also in November, Madigan was presented with his own opportunity to champion a campaign worker who wrote him with details and text messages showing one of his top political lieutenants sexually harassed her.

Did he add it to his newfound crusade against sexual harassment in the workplace?

Nope. He let it sit. That is, he let it sit for three months — admittedly, better than three years — until the day after the woman, Alaina Hampton, went to the Chicago Tribune. Nothing like a press conference to show Madigan the righteous path.

“Madigan simultaneously fast tracked legislation to eradicate sexual harassment in Illinois politics and killed the political career of Alaina Hampton for reporting sexual harassment in his own organization,” said Lorna Brett, former president of the Chicago chapter of the National Organization for Women.


Gubernatorial candidates from both parties are now on Madigan, calling for him to resign. Even his guy, J.B. Pritzker, was offering a careful rebuke of the strings, but not of the puppet master.

Is Gov. Bruce Rauner having a giddy laugh? Is this the end of the King of Illinois?

You don't set a national record of 12,091 days as Illinois' political boss without being able to survive a scandal or two. It is unlikely Madigan is seeing his Harvey Weinstein moment.

Unfortunately.

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