Illinois Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton)
Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) is calling on House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) to step down in the wake of his longtime chief of staff being hit with allegations of sexual harassment.
"The office of House Speaker is powerful and carries with it a great deal of responsibility," Ives said in a press release. "Tim Mapes, like Kevin Quinn, abused that power. And it is because of Speaker Madigan’s failure to carry out the responsibility of his leadership position that we’re at this point. He failed to do his job and ensure that a legislative inspector general was in place and that complaints were handled in a timely manner.”
Ives’ outburst was sparked by news that Sherri Garrett, an account technician and minutes clerk in Madigan’s office, has stepped forward to allege bullying and harassment at the hands of Mapes.
The allegations add to similar claims against other senior staffers and associates linked to Madigan, including Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) and Quinn, a political operative of his who has been accused of sexual harassment by former Madigan campaign aide Alaina Hampton.
Ives argues that a great deal of the responsibility falls on Madigan’s shoulders.
“Because of his failure, numerous women have been hurt—professionally and otherwise,” she added in the release. “His own Democratic members should call for him to step down from his position as House Speaker just as Sen. Ira Silverstein was removed from his leadership position in the Senate.”
Silverstein (D-Chicago) stepped down from his leadership post after local activist Denise Rotheimer accused him of sexual harassment. Lang, meanwhile, was accused of harassment by Maryann Loncar, just hours after he helped broker the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in the House. He has since resigned from his leadership role as deputy majority leader.
“These women are forced to come forward publicly because they know if they report to the Legislative Ethics Commission, they will just be reporting to the same offending politicians,” Ives added. “Additionally, because of Denise Rotheimer’s experience, women also know that if they report harassment in Springfield, they will have no rights as they go through the investigative process. The lack of accountability in state government is stunning and unacceptable.”
Ives said that it’s time that voters demanded more accountability and transparency in Springfield.
“We should have a system that checks the abuses of those in power,” she added in the release. "Under Speaker Madigan and Tim Mapes, however, we have a system where those in power abuse and protect each other from accountability.”