Madigan says he had ‘no knowledge’ of rape mentioned in email by confidant; Pritzker moves to investigate
Madigan encouraged “those with any information to come forward.” And Pritzker’s office said the governor is “appalled and disgusted” by the emails.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker is “appalled and disgusted” by a reference to a state employee keeping “his mouth shut” about an alleged “rape in Champaign” and ghost payrollers in newly uncovered emails between House Speaker Mike Madigan’s confidant, Mike McClain, and members of Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration in 2012.
Madigan issued his own statement on Wednesday, saying he knew nothing of the “incident.”
“These are extremely serious and troubling allegations,” Madigan said. “I had no knowledge of the incident referenced in the story and only learned of this today.”
A WBEZ report on Tuesday revealed McClain sent the email to two senior Quinn aides in a bid to win leniency for a worker in a disciplinary case. In it, McClain argued the man “has kept his mouth shut on Jones’ ghost workers, the rape in Champaign and other items.”
“He is loyal to the Administration,” McClain wrote in the email obtained by WBEZ.
In his statement on Wednesday, Madigan encouraged “those with any information to come forward. ”
And Pritzker’s office said the governor has taken steps to have the allegations investigated.
“The administration’s general counsel referred this email to the appropriate investigatory authority, who will make a determination about what next steps can be taken,” Pritzker spokeswoman Emily Bittner said in a statement. That investigative entity is the Office of the Executive Inspector General.
McClain, a former top lobbyist and confidant to Madigan, is under federal scrutiny as part of an ongoing investigation into ComEd’s lobbying practices in Illinois, a source told the Sun-Times. Neither Madigan or McClain have been charged with any wrongdoing
The email in question was about a state employee who worked as an administrator at the Illinois Department of Human Services facility in Downstate Rushville. It was sent to Quinn’s legislative affairs liasion and Quinn’s then chief-of-staff.
Pritzker’s office on Tuesday released the emails to the Sun-Times after the WBEZ story was posted online.
No other details were disclosed about the alleged rape referenced in the email or the identity of “Jones” in the mention of the ghost payrollers.
Quinn told WBEZ he knew nothing of the incidents McClain included in his email or any disciplinary case against the state worker.
“First I’ve heard of it,” Quinn told WBEZ.
On Wednesday, numerous state officials were calling for an investigation, including state Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, who co-chairs the Senate Women’s Caucus, along with state Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris. Both urged anyone with information about the crime to come forward.
Others took to Twitter to voice their disgust: “If the reports are even partially true, this represents a conspiracy to conceal a criminal sexual assault at the highest levels of state government,” state Rep. Kelly Cassidy and #MeToo whistleblowers Sherri Garrett and Alaina Hampton said in a joint statement.
They urged the Champaign County state’s attorney and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to open an investigation, and “if necessary, to impanel a grand jury.”