A press release from State Rep. David McSweeney:
McSweeney Advances Legislation Banning State Funds from Being Used to Silence Sexual Harassment Claims Against Legislators
Springfield, IL – The Illinois House Executive Committee approved a measure State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) introduced to prevent the use of state funds from being used to protect state legislators from sexual harassment accusers.
Last fall, hundreds of female legislators, lobbyists, and staff signed on to a letter revealing the open secret of Springfield’s culture of sexual harassment and a particular accusation involving a member of the Illinois General Assembly was brought to light.
In addition, news reports revealed that Congress had a fund that made payments to persons making allegations of harassment against members of Congress and their staff.
A specific incident involved an advisor to U.S. Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.) who received a secret settlement that was one of the largest pay outs the Congressional Office of Compliance has ever paid.
“We have seen what’s happened in Congress and we do not want anything like that happening here in Illinois,” McSweeney said.
“We are learning more and more about accusations being made against members of the General Assembly and we must be proactive in making sure taxpayers aren’t paying for secret slush funds to protect legislators.”
The legislation, House Bill 4243, prohibits the use of public funds to be used to facilitate a payout of money to buy silence or inaction for allegations of sexual harassment by a member of the General Assembly.
The House Executive Committee unanimously approved HB 4243 and it now moves to the House floor. Should the legislation pass the House, it will be sent to the Illinois Senate for further consideration where it will be sponsored by Senator Tom Cullerton (D- Villa Park).