House Speaker Michael Madigan is once again under fire over sexual harassment complaints. Now some Republicans are putting pressure on Democrats to stand up against the powerful Speaker of the House and stand instead with victims.They claim it's the only way to end the culture of harassment and abuse in Springfield.
"The culture in state government is toxic and that is a failure of leadership," said Ammie Kessem, candidate for House's 49th District seat.
Several current Republican members of the House joined with candidates in their call. They point directly to Madigan as chief culprit with his Chief of Staff Tim Mapes and his deputy in the House, Lou Lang, both being accused of sexual harassment and abuse of power recently. The Republicans say it's time for a change.
"We're calling them to band together and do what's right. The political culture in Springfield has to change," said Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton.
"What we're challenging our colleagues across the aisle is, you don't have to have this power hungry guy with 20th century ideas about women's place be your leader anymore," said Representative Margo McDermed, (R) Frankfort.
They challenged Democrats to side with the victims instead of Madigan.
"What if Sherri Garrett was your wife, or your mother. What if Kelly Cassidy was your sister or your friend, or Alaina Hampton your daughter? Then would you stand up and speak out?" said Tonia Khouri, Candidate for 49th District, referring to women who have come forward with sexual harassment and abuse of power complaints against democratic politicians.
On Monday, Denise Rotheimer, the first victim to go public last fall, filed a complaint with the state office responsible for attorney discipline, alleging Madigan and the Ethics Commission broke the law by not filling the vacant position of Legislative Inspector General for three years.
"We have been harmed, we have been violated, and we could have all been spared this travesty of justice if they would have simply followed the law, since they are attorneys," Rotheimer said.
Kessem, who is a Chicago Police sergeant and is challenging Robert Martwick, who represents part of Chicago's Northwest side, went so far as to compare the Madigan machine to the Mafia saying it protects itself at the expense of others.
A spokesman for Madigan dismissed the Republicans efforts, and said the Speaker will not be resigning.
Republicans challenge Democrats to call for Michael Madigan's resignation over MeToo fallout.