Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s agriculture director has resigned after acknowledging he received, but did not act on, a lobbyist’s email seven years ago that referenced an alleged rape cover-up and illegal hiring practices.
John Sullivan said in a statement Monday that he did not read the email thoroughly at the time but that “I accept responsibility for what was truly an unintentional oversight and the subsequent inaction.”
The July 2012 email from Michael McClain, formerly a powerful Statehouse lobbyist and confidante of longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan, was sent to aides of then-Gov. Pat Quinn. It sought leniency for a “loyal” state employee who “has kept his mouth shut on Jones’ ghost workers, the rape in Champaign and other items.”
Pritzker last week called the email’s contents “horrific” and said he had referred the matter to the Office of the Executive Inspector General for review. Since then, Illinois State Police have opened and investigation along with Julia Rietz, the Democratic state’s attorney of Champaign County, 135 miles south of Chicago.