Governor J.B. Pritzker’s gubernatorial campaign committee is firing back at a group who sued his campaign over racial discrimination. Lawyers for Pritzker’s campaign say eight of the 12 defendants have blown deadlines, provided incomplete answers to questions, and ignored obligations to sit for depositions. Due to the lack of follow through on the lawsuit, Pritzker’s attorneys are asking for a federal judge to dismiss the case.
The black and Latina campaign workers sued last year shortly before the election, saying they were “herded into race-specific positions,” “micromanaged,” and denied opportunities for advancement. Pritzker has long denied any wrongdoing in the case, according to Illinois NPR. The Chicago Tribune reported in November 2018 that the plaintiffs’ attorneys asked for $7.5 million, plus the hiring of a diversity officer.
The lawsuit was one of three incidents that dogged Pritzker on the campaign trail on his way to defeating former Governor Bruce Rauner. Two of his campaign workers were fired over a video displayed on social media showing one of them wearing a dark facial cosmetic mask resembling blackface in October 2018. The Tribune also leaked a secretly recorded federal government wiretap that was part of the corruption investigation of then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in which Pritzker himself made racially charged remarks about Secretary of State Jesse White, former state Senate President Emil Jones, and former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. The judge handling the case asked for more briefing on the issues presented by Pritzker’s legal council and has set a hearing for February.