Editorials

#MeToo topples more of Illinois House speaker's allies

At some point someone needs to take responsibility for all the sexual harassment allegations felling all the lieutenants of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.
At some point someone needs to take responsibility for all the sexual harassment allegations felling all the lieutenants of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan now has three of his top allies facing #MeToo allegations of sexual harassment, leaving us wondering at what point the most powerful politician in Illinois will clean up the mess or be washed out by the purge.

To no one's surprise there are multiple allegations of sexual impropriety swirling in Springfield, with too many of them landing at Madigan's feet.

He allowed the legislative inspector general's job to remain vacant for three years after the previous one went after Madigan's patronage hires. That resulted in 27 sexual harassment complaints piling up until 140 employees came forward, signed an open letter and forced action.

Next, one of his campaign workers was subjected to intense sexual harassment by one of Madigan's top aides, but Madigan ignored her plea for help and instead retaliated. She reported the harassment in February 2017. Nothing happened. She wrote Madigan in November. Nothing happened. So a year after her initial report she went to the press. Madigan fired the guy the next day. Madigan is now fighting her lawsuit, claiming she wasn't working for him or the state's Democratic Party at the time she was harassed.

Madigan lost a top deputy on the last day of the legislative session while a marijuana advocate described harassment, retaliation and sexual comments by state Rep. Lou Lang. Lang resigned his key leadership posts as the advocate's press conference was in process.

On Wednesday Madigan's chief of staff, Tim Mapes, was hit by allegations of sexual harassment and bullying. Long-time Madigan office worker Sherri Garrett said she'd had it after years of problems with Mapes and wanted to clear the way for others in the statehouse to speak up. Mapes was gone the day after the press conference.

The guy with more than three decades in power at some point needs to take responsibility or take action. Imagine the progressives' howls for purge were there even a fraction of this swirling around the Republican leadership.

Our money's still on Madigan's survival, but it would be nice if the Illinois Attorney General would take her dad to lunch. We imagine Lisa Madigan's legal skills and perspective after years in government would yield some pointers about how her father can change the culture instead of protecting it.

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