ILLINOIS (WCIA) — GOP leaders are questioning the independence of a new anti-harassment panel. House Speaker Michael Madigan appointed three Democratic women to it amid sexual harassment accusations in his office.
Rep. Carol Ammons, Comptroller Susana Mendoza and Congresswoman Cheri Bustos say the Speaker will have no involvement. They say they will hire and pay for their own staffs without input from the Democratic Party of Illinois.
The women have just met once but have set an agenda. They plan to hold discussions and meetings with women in the party across the state.
Topics will include, not only work place sexual harassment, but inappropriate behavior as whole. They will use findings to draft legislation and/or make administrative changes.
Ammons says they want to hear the concerns of women in their party and empower them. When asked specifically about the allegations made in Speaker Madigan’s office, she says the victim in that situation is not off-limits.
“I think she has every right to come forward and say whatever happened in my case hasn’t been handled properly. My panel will sit down and talk to her, talk to her in confidence so we can learn from whatever mistakes were made in her case. I don’t know what they are, but we have every intention of listening to her.”
It’s now confirmed Alaina Hampton is far from the only harassment victim in the Speaker’s office. Tuesday afternoon, Madigan revealed the results of his own internal investigation, he calls completely independent.
He released a list of staff complaints made within the past five years. Nearly a dozen people reported instances of discrimination, sexual harassment, harassment or retaliation, but the list exempts several other categories and only includes resolved cases.
Speaker Madigan says he will not tolerate this behavior, adding he will not step down.