Doug Jameson calls for independent prosecutor to investigate sexual harassment claims
Doug Jameson has added another project to his growing list of things to do once he arrives in Springfield.
“If I am elected, I will push for someone outside of the chamber to handle all sexual harassment complaints and investigations in Springfield like the one that now has all of our attention,” Jameson told the Metro East Sun. "This should be about protection for those who have been violated and to me installing an independent prosecutor seems the best route to go for doing that.”
Jameson, a Belleville Republican challenging Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) in the 113th District, said he isn’t sure what to make of a new law that allows top watchdog groups to investigate sexual harassment complaints without having to get approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission, which is a panel of lawmakers appointed by House and Senate leaders from both parties.
“Oftentimes, these so-called watchdog groups don’t have the authority of law enforcement or the federal government,” he said. “We need someone overseeing these investigations that has the power to probe everything and administer punishment as deemed suitable.”
Gov. Bruce Rauner's move to ink the new legislation comes as lawmakers in Springfield are being dogged by a sexual harassment scandal that in recent months has ensnared at least four close associates of powerful House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago).
Tim Mapes, Madigan’s longtime chief of staff; Kevin Quinn, a key operative in his political empire; and Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) all were forced to relinquish at least part of their responsibilities after being accused of harassment.
Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), Madigan’s No. 2 in Springfield, also faces similar allegations.
Meanwhile, Rauner has instantly hailed the new law as “a victory for the heroic women who have stepped forward to take on the culture of fear, abuse and retaliation that permeates too much of state government.”
The new law also creates a four-person committee composed of former judges and prosecutors that will search for a full-time inspector general to replace Julie Porter, who was temporarily installed in the post roughly a year ago. The measure also allows the inspector general to share information with a victim and others involved in a complaint, unlike the policy that was in place when Porter took over.