Harassment Allegations Plagued House Democrats

The web of alleged deceit, lies, and corruption tied to Illinois House Democrats has been well-chronicled in the last several years, with the latest example being the conviction of former House Speaker Michael Madigan’s Chief of Staff Timothy Mapes on perjury and obstruction of justice charges in August. It was during that trial that another scandal was uncovered, as a top Democratic strategy firm was found to have been advising Madigan while at the same time providing support to the woman who accused one of his aides of sexual harassment and his inner circle of retaliation. 

Anita Dunn, co-founder of the communications firm SKDK and widely considered a member of President Biden’s inner circle, provided crisis communications assistance to Speaker Madigan from 2018-19. Dunn and her firm were compensated more than $200,000 for their work. This came at the same time as the nationwide #MeToo movement was taking place. The #MeToo movement raised awareness and gave a voice to female victims of workplace sexual harassment and sexual abuse.

Alaina Hampton, a Democratic campaign operative, filed a federal lawsuit in March 2018 that accused Madigan political consultant Kevin Quinn of inappropriate sexual behavior and Madigan’s inner circle of retaliation. Hampton hired a local attorney and public relations adviser, and later applied to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund for financial assistance. In the wake of allegations first levied against Harvey Weinstein and then others, the fund was established by a group of Hollywood women in order to support survivors of sexual harassment, abuse, and assault. Time’s Up also assisted with survivors’ legal fees. Time’s Up has since disbanded, with all remaining funds transferred to the National Women’s Law Center. 

At the beginning of 2018, SKDK began its partnership with Time’s Up. The National Women’s Law Center administered the fund and the legal side of Time’s Up but turned to SKDK to assist women dealing with media attention regarding their stories of assault and harassment. Hampton was unaware that Dunn and SKDK were already advising Madigan when she sought assistance from Time’s Up, and she only learned of the circumstances from the revelations of the Mapes trial. Hampton’s case against Madigan and the Democratic Party of Illinois settled in 2019, and the $275,000 she received mostly went to legal fees and reimbursement to Time’s Up. 

“Democrat corruption has impacted families across Illinois for years, and it’s time to end the Madigan circus of crimes,” said. Rep. Miller. Without ethics reform, Democrats will continue to operate behind closed doors with no transparency, and stir up a recipe of crooked tactics to enrich themselves.”

Quinn, a longtime loyal Madigan operative, was eventually fired by Madigan in early 2018. However, it took more than three months for Madigan to take action after he had been directly notified of the unwanted text messages Quinn had been sending to Hampton. Quinn, who was Hampton’s direct supervisor, relentlessly pursued a romantic relationship with her despite Hampton’s repeated pleas to keep the relationship strictly professional. 

In light of the embarrassing details coming out in the Mapes trial, SKDK released a statement that the decision to work both with Madigan and Hampton was ‘an error’ and apologized to Hampton. Dunn ducked a reporter’s question over the phone and hung up.  House Speaker Emaunel “Chris” Welch recently announced Illinois Democrats will no longer work with SKDK

Madigan was indicted on federal bribery and racketeering charges in 2022 and will go to trial next year. The cycle of corruption, lies, and scandal continues within the Illinois Democratic Party, and all involved should be held accountable. Illinois residents deserve a fair and honest government, not one riddled with corruption and scandals. Illinois House Republicans are focused on cleaning up corruption and urge Democrats to help enact ethics reform legislation.

Another Democrat-Championed Law Facing Lawsuit: repcmiller.com/2023/09/08/another-democrat-championed-law-facing-lawsuit/