Pritzker Talks of ‘Gathering Storm’ For Those Involved in State’s Corruption

By Benjamin Cox on January 15, 2020 at 8:44am

Governor J.B. Pritzker called for transparency across the board in the wake of the Michael McClain email investigations.

As law enforcement and internal investigations continue around the state related to the 2012 email sent to then-Governor Pat Quinn’s administration, Pritzker told Chicago media at a press conference yesterday that anyone involved needs to start talking. “I think anybody that is interviewed by an investigatory body should be forthcoming with the information that they have. If an investigator contacts someone and asks them to cooperate, they should cooperate. Not put a smug grin on their face and laugh about not cooperating like Mike McClain did. And furthermore, anyone who thinks that it’s OK to talk about these things like they’re in a crime syndicate doesn’t belong in Springfield anymore. We need change.”

Pritzker says that yet another political investigation in the state is just part of a broader problem with the state’s government. ” Every person in Springfield needs to take a good hard look at themselves and ask what their role has been in creating this culture, the availability in engaging in corruption, the culture that I’m talking about that’s so poisonous. Whether you’re a leader, or a member, or a lobbyist or anybody engaged in that Springfield culture, you gotta ask yourself what direction you’re taking things, or what you’ve done to contribute to it or what you’re doing to alleviate the concerns that voters and the rest of us have about this culture and the corruption. I think there is a gathering storm for people who are headed in the wrong direction, the people who created this culture, the people who are contributing to it.”

The email has already saw Illinois Department of Agriculture Director John Sullivan resign over knowledge of the email. Sullivan spoke with his hometown Rushville Times in an interview yesterday saying that he didn’t like how Pritzker characterized his actions as criminal in nature. “I was stunned. I immediately knew what the optics looked like. I take full responsibility, and I’m not making excuses, but Mike McClain sends lots of emails, most of which I don’t even pay attention to. I know in my mind and my heart that I did not read all of that email. If I had seen an email that talked about a rape in Champaign, I would have turned it over. I just want people to understand the context we were working in. I understand it looks really bad. I got the email, and I didn’t do anything about it. I understand. However, I am disappointed in the statement the governor put out that makes it look like I did something criminal.”

The Governor’s office responded to Sullivan saying that Pritzker was disturbed that the then-State Senator didn’t handle the email appropriately and that the governor’s office holds state employees to the highest ethical standards.