A Pleasant Plains native whose sexual harassment lawsuit rocked the inner circle of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and highlighted the mistreatment of women at the State Capitol has created a political action committee with the goal of cleaning up the state’s politics.
Political consultant Alaina Hampton, who last year settled her sexual harassment lawsuit against Madigan’s political committees, last week started the Majority Justice Movement PAC. Hampton says her lawsuit peeled back some of the layers on the ComEd bribery scheme that’s recently come to light: “Some people may remember that ComEd lobbyists actually paid my harasser under the table after he was fired for harassing me. They paid him $30,000 for doing minimal work. I wanted to expedite the process [of starting the PAC] so I could start calling any legislator that has taken money from ComEd at least since 2019, which is when we found out that the FBI was looking into these payments to Kevin Quinn and ComEd lobbyists. I’m going to start calling through to all of these legislators and asking them to donate the money they have received from ComEd directly to the PAC. Essentially, this is money that was stolen from residents of Illinois. This scheme has actually robbed many citizens of their hard-earned money.”
Hampton filed a federal lawsuit in 2018 accusing Madigan’s political operations of retaliation after she reported inappropriate behavior by Kevin Quinn, whom Madigan fired. Hampton’s settlement was announced last Fall shortly after the Chicago Tribune reported that Madigan’s longtime confidant and Quincy resident Michael McClain, an ex-lobbyist for ComEd, had orchestrated for some current and former ComEd lobbyists to give Quinn contracts after Madigan fired him.
Hampton said she felt compelled to launch the PAC after working on it for several months when ComEd’s deferred prosecution was announced on July 17th. Hampton says that she hopes to fund candidates who are looking to keep dirty money out of politics: “What happens is that many corrupt companies or organizations direct money to representatives, state senators, or local officials and many of those elected officials don’t know how to raise funds on their own. It makes them very dependent on these companies and on their political parties. I want to be able to fund them to be able to have more independence so they are not constantly having to rely on these companies or be beholden to them.”
Hampton believes that campaign finance reform is one road to ethics reform in Springfield. She says that people shouldn’t be afraid to demand more from their elected leaders with the fear of retaliation: “I think it is really unfortunate that people are still so afraid to come out and demand more from our elected officials and our most influential leaders. At the end of the day, these people are supposed to be representing the people of Illinois. I just think it’s important for these legislators to represent what their constituents want rather than focusing on making sure they have enough money for their re-election campaigns. Being an elected officials is not about constantly getting more money and more fundraising just to be re-elected, it’s about representing your people. The people should be ones truly holding all of the power.”
Hampton says her current goal is to help those officials and candidates who are scared they are going to lose money for their campaigns if they speak out against ethics problems in the state right now. She says it’s the first step in the long-term goal of bringing more ethical elected officials to the state’s offices.
Hampton, who currently works for a national Democratic consulting firm, says she’s not ruling out running for office sometime in the future: “I really prefer to be behind the scenes. I will never say I’m never going to run, but right now I’m completely focused on this project of helping elect more ethical and accountable leaders. I’m also still focused on helping sexual harassment and sexual assault victims.”
Hampton says that it’s been interesting to see that most of the calls for Madigan’s resignation have come from women in the Illinois Democratic party. She says it’s encouraging to see bravery from individuals stepping up from within the party to hold Madigan accountable in the ComEd investigation.