(Chicago, June 8th, 2018) – Today Robert Murphy, the Democratic Committeeman for Chicago’s 39th Ward, called on Speaker Mike Madigan to step down as Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, to accept the recommendation for an independent investigation, and to step aside from any role choosing or overseeing such an investigation. This toxic culture of harassment must stop and if he cannot fix it then he must step down as Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives.
On Wednesday, Tim Mapes, Madigan’s longtime top aide and Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Illinois, was forced to resign after serious allegations of sexual harassment were made by Sherri Garrett, a Statehouse employee. This was the latest in a series of allegations of sexual harassment against men in Madigan’s political operation to come to light over the last several months.
In a statement, Murphy said:
“With these latest allegations, it makes it even more clear that there is an institutional culture at work in the Speaker’s organization that protects powerful men and silences women who have suffered sexual harassment.
Since the first allegations of sexual harassment emerged in February, Speaker Madigan has attempted to control the investigation into his organization by personally appointing investigators and commission members. That was unacceptable then, and is unacceptable now.
There needs to be a truly independent and transparent investigation with complete access to the relevant people and information. This will not happen as long as Mike Madigan controls the investigation as the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives and the Chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party.
As 39th Ward Committeeman, I am obligated to represent both the values and the best interests of the Democratic Party. As Democrats, one of our core values is a commitment to the full equality of women. It is clear that under Madigan’s leadership, the party has failed to live up to its values and he is a liability to the Democratic Party.
Accordingly, I call upon Mike Madigan resign as Chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party, effective immediately. Furthermore, he should accept the recommendation for an independent investigation, and to temporarily step aside from any role chosing or overseeing such an investigation as Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives while this investigation is ongoing.
I ask my fellow committeemen and our state representatives to join me in calling for a real cultural change in our leadership in Springfield. If we are a party that sets itself apart by how we treat women, then we cannot tolerate leadership which continuously violates that principle and covers up wrongdoing by its own staff and allies.
It is my hope that with new leadership and an independent investigation, we can create a political culture that respects all women and removes the barriers from them fully participating in and being actively involved in our state government. As a committeeman, I strongly advocate for more women to hold leadership positions within the Democratic Party.”
Robert Murphy was elected 39th Ward Democratic Committeeman in 2016 and has worked to make the party more open and transparent.