Lawmakers need to do more to prevent harassment, Better Government Association director says
The Better Government Association’s (BGA) Madeleine Doubek recently penned a scathing piece for the group’s website on Illinois lawmakers’ efforts to stem sexual harassment and other ethical breaches in the General Assembly.
“Raise your hand if you think state Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) is the only person in all of state government who possibly could be accused of sexual harassment in the past three years,” Doubek, the BGA's director of policy and civic engagement, wrote. “Anyone? #MeNeither.”
Doubek noted that many of the actions taken since allegations against Silverstein became public are focused on already existing complaints. For example, Julie Porter, the new legislative inspector general, was appointed in early November specifically to investigate a complaint backlog that was spawned by the lack of a legislative inspector general for nearly three years.
“So while lawmakers might have left the impression they fixed the problem ... of a vacant inspector general’s office, they’ve only just begun,” Doubek wrote. “To truly ensure #NoMore in Illinois, there’s a heckuva lot more work to do not just to address sexual harassment, but to fix an inspector general and ethics commission system that remains weak, secretive and politicized.”
Doubek highlighted some proposed changes from previous inspector generals, including de-politicizing the appointment process, allowing inspector generals to publish all founded reports without approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission and giving the inspector general power to fine and censure lawmakers, amongst other recommendations.