Lobbyists who paid Kevin Quinn are brothers of Madigan lawyer hired for ‘independent’ review of harassment claims

Kelly Smith-Haley was hired by Madigan in February 2018 to “receive and investigate harassment allegations” regarding the speaker’s political staff, according to a Feb. 16, 2018 letter Madigan sent to the House Democratic caucus and to staffers.

SHARE Lobbyists who paid Kevin Quinn are brothers of Madigan lawyer hired for ‘independent’ review of harassment claims
Kevin Quinn after he was arrested by Chicago Police in July 2017. | CPD photo

Kevin Quinn after he was arrested by Chicago Police in July 2017.

Chicago Police Department photo

A lawyer hired by Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan last year to investigate allegations of sexual harassment within his political organization — including those leveled against longtime political aide Kevin Quinn — is the sister of two lobbyists who reportedly paid Quinn $2,000 earlier this year.

Kelly Smith-Haley was retained by Madigan in February 2018 to “receive and investigate harassment allegations” regarding the speaker’s political staff, according to a Feb. 16, 2018 letter Madigan sent to the House Democratic caucus and to staffers.

Smith-Haley “will provide independent review of allegations, conduct investigations, and provide recommendations for updating policies and procedures including clear rules for conduct and penalties for violations,” the letter said.

A Madigan spokeswoman on Wednesday confirmed Smith-Haley remains outside counsel for harassment allegations regarding the speaker’s political staff.

Smith-Haley’s brothers, Mike Smith and Bill Smith, both work at Cornerstone Government Affairs, a public relations and lobbying firm. Bill Smith is a senior consultant, and Mike Smith is a principal and director at the Washington-based firm, which also operates in Chicago. The Chicago Tribune on Wednesday reported Quinn received two checks for $1,000 each from Cornerstone Government Affairs in January, four months before his home was raided by federal agents. It’s not clear what authorities were seeking in the raid.

Among Cornerstone’s clients is ComEd, which has acknowledged being served with a federal grand jury subpoena seeking lobbyist records. The utility’s large stable of lobbyists include many with close ties to Madigan.

Cornerstone’s Senior Vice President is Will Cousineau, who spent about 18 years working for Madigan, including eight years as political director for the speaker and the Democratic Party of Illinois.

Madigan announced that he fired Kevin Quinn on Feb. 12, 2018, the day before political consultant Alaina Hampton went public with accusations that Quinn stalked her with barrages of unwanted text messages and phone calls in pursuit of a romantic and sexual relationship.

At the time, Madigan called Hampton “a courageous woman” for bringing the allegations to his attention. The accusations rocked Madigan’s political organization in one of the most damaging #MeToo allegations to hit Illinois politics.

Since then, Hampton has filed a federal lawsuit against the powerful Illinois House speaker’s political committee and the state Democratic party, accusing Madigan of not doing enough to stop Quinn from harassing her.

Smith-Haley last year told NBC Chicago that despite the familiar connection to Cornerstone she had no ties to Cornerstone, and that she would remain fully independent. In an email, Smith-Haley said she was retained by Friends of Michael J. Madigan, and directed questions to the political committee.

Smith-Haley remains on retainer for Madigan. And in a statement last year, her law firm Fox Swibel Levin & Carroll, LLP said it “has been engaged to independently review the Quinn investigation to see if there are recommendations for changes.”

Quinn declined to comment on Wednesday. Quinn is also embroiled in a contentious divorce, and in a court filing last December, Quinn claimed he had been “unemployed from February 2018 until mid-September 2018.” He said he had to borrow money from family.

More recently, in April, Quinn — brother of Ald. Marty Quinn (13th) — said in a filing he was “self-employed as a consultant” but “does not have any active clients.”

Cornerstone did not respond to requests for comment.

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