SPRINGFIELD, Il. (WGEM) — Mike McClain, a former Quincy lawmaker, longtime lobbyist and confidant of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, has multiple state officials calling for an investigation into an email he wrote.
The email written in 2012 recently surfaced as part of a Freedom of Information Request by Chicago radio station WBEZ.
In question is McClain's involvement in a possible cover-up of a rape allegation in Champaign and his efforts to stop a disciplinary hearing for a state employee who is a politically-connected Quincy Democrat.
Details of the rape mentioned by McClain in the email are unknown.
The email was between Mike McClain and then-Governor Quinn's former Legislative Affairs Liasion, Gary Hannig.
The email shows that McClain asked for leniency in regards to discipline for Quincy resident Forrest Ashby who was working at a Department of Human Services facility for inmates in Rushville, Illinois.
McClain wrote that Ashby, "...is a good compliance person, as I told you... He has kept his mouth shut on Jones' ghost workers, the rape in Champaign and other items. He is loyal to the administration."
During a press conference Wednesday House Republican leader Jim Durkin said he is disturbed by the fact that these actions may have occurred and government officials chose to stay silent.
"There needs to be accountability for what happened. And even worse, this individual is currently on the state payroll. The person who did the right thing by keeping his mouth shut about felonious behavior with ghost payrolling and kept his mouth shut about a rape."Rep. Jim Durkin (R) House Minority Leader
A spokeswoman for Governor Pritzker said the Governor's office only learned of the email while completing a FOIA request.
She says the administration's general counsel referred the email to the appropriate authority to investigate and determine the next steps.
Speaker Mike Madigan also released the following statement on Wednesday.
“These are extremely serious and troubling allegations. I had no knowledge of the incident referenced in the story and only learned of this today. I encourage those with any information to come forward.”Michael J. Madigan House Speaker
ILGOP Chairman Tim Schnieder issued a statement on Wednesday saying: "The company you keep for decades says a lot about the type of person you are. Madigan and his leadership - the power structure of the Democratic party in Illinois - is rotten to the core. Madigan must provide answers immediately to these two questions: what did you know about the rape and when did you know it?”
Some members of Madigan’s own House Democrat Caucus also commented via Twitter.
"And let’s stop pretending he’s (McClain) a ‘former’ anything. This is the guy who for decades has been seen as the most powerful lobbyist in the state and remains incredibly close to the Speaker.”Rep. Kelly Cassidy
"Stunning and incredibly disturbing to read about the callous dismissal of a rape and its coverup. Anyone involved must be held accountable and an investigation should be conducted immediately. No one is above the law.”Rep. Ann Williams
"Truly disturbing news. ‘Keeping your mouth shut’ about a rape is reprehensible, and thinking it's a thing to be commended is really twisted. ‘He is loyal.’ As much as anything, it's the cult of loyalty in Springfield that's toxic.”Rep. Will Guzzardi
WGEM News reached out to Mike McClain for comment, but he did not respond. Multiple efforts to reach Ashby were unsuccessful.
Previous reports indicate that McClain is also involved in an investigation by the FBI.
According to a November 2019 report by the Chicago Tribune, McClain's Quincy home was wiretapped by federal agents as part of a probe reportedly focused on payments to connected individuals that circumvent lobbying disclosure rules.
The Tribune had also reported in July of 2019 that the FBI had raided McClain's Quincy home in mid-May
The newspaper reported that the raid took place around the same time that the FBI executed search warrants at the homes of Chicago Alderman Michael Zalewski and political operative Kevin Quinn, both of whom were associates of Madigan.
The report said the search warrant indicates federal investigators were probing connections to possible criminal acts by some of Madigan’s associates.
McClain, a Democrat, was appointed to the Illinois House in 1972 and won re-election four times before he was defeated by Jeff Mays in 1982.
McClain then went on to become one of the most powerful lobbyists in Springfield. He retired from lobbying in 2016.
McClain was a former attorney in Quincy.