Illinois state Sen. James Clayborne's plan to leave the statehouse and rely on his law license and connections to build a lucrative retirement may have just received a wrinkle.
Or maybe a dose of karma.
Clayborne is one of the lawmakers with a law license being targeted by Denise Rotheimer for failing to do anything about her sexual harassment complaint. Her recent complaint to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission includes Clayborne, state Senate President John Cullerton, House Speaker Michael Madigan and other law-license-holding lawmakers on the Legislative Ethics Commission.
Madigan & Co. allowed the legislative inspector general position to go vacant for three years, allowing Rotheimer's sexual harassment complaint to sit ignored with 26 others. Madigan was in no hurry to fill the spot after the previous inspector skewered him over meddling in hiring at the Chicago transit agency, but what motivated the other statehouse leaders to dodge their legal obligation to handle the complaints?
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Fear of Madigan? Sloth? Protecting a statehouse culture that would have been envied in the Playboy Mansion?
In Clayborne's case it wouldn't be much of a leap to see links between his penchant for putting his female friends on the state payroll and disregard for the complaints of workers forced to fend off randy lawmakers, lobbyists and staffers as they tried to do their jobs.
It may be a long stretch to think the ARDC would yank the law license of the No. 2 guy in the Illinois Senate, but the possibility is kind of tantalizing. A comeuppance for Madigan and Co. is also unlikely, but well deserved after repeatedly meeting calls for major reform with grudging baby steps.
Three hundred women sign on to a #MeToo letter about the statehouse allowing 27 complaints to pile up over three years. Madigan finally appoints a legislative inspector general.
Alaina Hampton holds a press conference a year after first complaining about a Madigan campaign lieutenant's unwanted advances and three months after telling Madigan directly. Madigan tosses the guy the next day.
Marijuana lobbyist endures years of sexual harassment and intimidation tactics by Madigan's right-hand guy in the House. Madigan ousts him from leadership and the ethics panel right after the press conference.
Madigan clerical staffer complains about Madigan's chief of staff making sexual comments for years. Madigan suddenly is without a chief of staff.
The trouble with being Mike the Great and Powerful for three decades is that it's hard to duck responsibility for creating the Land of Ooze. Madigan is quickly running out of #MeToo sacrificial munchkins.