Silverstein re-election bid gets $55,400 boost from State Democratic Victory Fund
The State Democratic Victory Fund provided $55,400 in campaign funds to state Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago), according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.
Silverstein is locked in a tight Democrat primary battle largely because of sexual harassment charges.that became public in late October. In early November, Senate Democratic leaders stripped him of his leadership position; other lawmakers insisted that he resign.
The charges against Silverstein weren't investigated until January. In a scramble in the wake of the accusations brought by crime victims advocate Denise Rotheimer against Silverstein, lawmakers appointed a legislative inspector general (LIG). The office investigates allegations of sexual misconduct in the Legislature, but the Democrat-controlled Legislature and Legislative Ethics Commission left the LIG position vacant for nearly three years. In all, 27 allegations of harassment reportedly languished with no LIG to handle the investigations.
Now, Senate Democrats are donating heavily to Silverstein's campaign.
A member of the Chicago Tribune editorial board recently sent out a message from her personal Twitter account questioning the donation from the State Democratic Victory Fund to Silverstein.
The message from Kristen McQueary read: “Democratic establishment gives $55,400 to Sen. Silverstein. How’s that #metoo movement going, Springfield? Name slightly diff than Cullerton’s (Senate President) PAC but I’m told it’s the same.” The tweet included a photo of the State Board of Elections records showing the donation.
In January, Julie Porter, the newly appointed LIG, concluded that Silverstein did not commit sexual harassment, but that he did violate the section of the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act known as the legislative code of conduct. Porter recommended that Silverstein receive counseling from the Senate’s ethics officer.
Rotheimer blames the circle-the-wagons culture in Springfield, which she said accounts for the Legislative Ethics Commission’s failure to fill the post even though by law they are required to appoint an interim LIG when the position becomes vacant.
“These sitting members allowed my complaint against Silverstein to go uninvestigated in violation of the law,” Rotheimer wrote in a complaint against the commission. “This is a prejudice that does not give me the confidence that any of them should sit on the commission and determine the outcome of the complaint I originally filed, which they swept under the rug. They protected Silverstein once even though they did so by violating the law and misleading the public by saying there were no 'cases.' I am filing a complaint against them and request that they follow the law and recuse themselves because they also must be investigated for nonfeasance in this matter as their wrongdoing and role in this injustice has directly caused me much to suffer.”