Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) is throwing her support behind Denise Rotheimer’s ongoing crusade to appear before the ethics panel hearing testimony about her sexual harassment complaint against Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago).
The two recently appeared together at a press conference in Chicago where Ives, who is running against Gov. Bruce Rauner in the Republican primary, vowed to speak with other lawmakers on Rotheimer’s behalf and indicated she is willing to go as far as changing the laws that prohibit her from being present for any of the proceedings.
“The Ives’ campaign reached out to me wanting to come up with solutions over me not being heard in the process,” Rotheimer told the Prairie State Wire. “She has been the only one to advocate for this. Her taking this position lets me know maybe there is hope.”
Rotheimer said her Plan B for being heard centers on filing a suit charging violations of her 1st Amendment rights.
“They’re forcing me to file this suit,” Rotheimer said. “I’ve reached out to (Rep. Jim) Durkin (R-Western Springs) numerous times and gotten no answer. (Senate President John) Cullerton (D-Chicago) has also been unreachable, and I know no one talks to (House Speaker Mike) Madigan (D-Chicago). Other than Jeanne Ives, the leaders have really disappointed me. I would much rather go the route of being able to be heard than have to file suit.”
Rotheimer recently ended her Republican run against Rep. Sam Yingling (D-Grayslake) in the 62nd House District so that she could dedicate more time to her case. The longtime activist and victims' rights advocate said she now plans to speak out on the issue of sexual harassment at every opportunity once her battle with Springfield has come to an end.
"Right now, I’m not entitled to any information and don’t know the status of anything,” she said. “That has to change. That’s a process that’s totally unfair.”
Rotheimer has alleged Silverstein took advantage of a situation when the two were working together to advance a bill to harass her by regularly reaching out on Facebook and routinely calling and texting her late into the night.
She insists he only turned cold, going as far as threatening to kill the bill, after he came to suspect she might have a boyfriend.
Rotheimer’s claims went uninvestigated for more than two years because the position of inspector general was unfilled. Former federal prosecutor Julie Porter was recently installed to the post of legislative inspector general to investigate all such complaints.