Citizen Files Legislative Inspector General Complaint Against Madigan

By Benjamin Cox on October 12, 2020 at 2:05pm

Denise Rotheimer

An Illinois citizen has filed her own complaint with the Legislative Inspector General to hold Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan to account for alleged misconduct.

Citizen Denise Rotheimer filed a complaint against Madigan in August after revelations of Madigan’s involvement in the ComEd deferred prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors came to light just weeks before. In July, federal prosecutors announced the agreement where the utility admitted it paid $1.3 million in bribes to associates of “Public Official A,” who was identified in court documents as the Illinois House Speaker. The utility testified in a public hearing with the House Special Investigative Committee in September that it paid the bribes through jobs and vendor contracts for little to no work in an effort to influence the speaker.

Rotheimer first came to public attention when she exposed a multi-year vacancy at the Legislative Inspector General position in 2016 when she testified in front of a General Assembly panel about her stalled abuse of power complaint filed with the LIG office against then-State Senator Ira Silverstein. There was also a backlog of a dozen other complaints at the time. According to Illinois NPR, Madigan’s office had been handling the complaints through his own office for several years at that point. Silverstein was later cleared by Inspector General Julie Porter but did find his behavior was unbecoming of a legislator and advised he seek ethics counseling. Silverstein lost re-election to the seat in 2018 to Ram Villivalam. Rotheimer sought to challenge long-time Grayslake Democratic Representative Sam Yingling in 2018 as a Republican. Her candidate petition was challenged and she withdrew from the race. Rotheimer says she chose to not fight the challenge and instead focus on ethics reform at the State Capitol. Rotheimer went on to author the Complainant Bill of Rights that was enacted in August 2019. The rights had not been previously provided for in the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act.

Rotheimer shared a confirmation letter the LIG sent notifying her they had received her complaint with the Illinois Center Square on Sunday. It’s unclear if the LIG has been given permission by the Legislative Ethics Commission to investigate the matter and make recommendations. That commission is made of state lawmakers legislative leaders appoint. The LIG has to get permission from the Legislative Ethics Commission to investigate most complaints.

Madigan has denied any wrongdoing in the ComEd bribery scheme and has not been charged with a crime. He’s refused to voluntarily testify before the House Special Investigating Committee, which has recessed until after the General Election. Lawmakers on the committee have not approved subpoenas for Madigan and others connected to the case who have also refused to present any volunteer testimony.