MAR 04, 2022
Former Madigan staffer, whistleblower Alaina Hampton describes ‘roller coaster’ of emotions after indictment
Former Mike Madigan and Democratic Party of Illinois staffer Alaina Hampton speaks at a news conference in March 2018. [A.D. Quig]
Wednesday was an emotional day but validating day for Alaina Hampton, a former staffer for the Democratic Party of Illinois who worked out of Mike Madigan’s 13th Ward office and ran Illinois House campaigns for the state party while Madigan was chair.
Hampton is known for filing a lawsuit against the party and Madigan’s campaign after she was sexually harassed by former Madigan aide Kevin Quinn in 2018. After news broke Madigan was indicted on 22 federal corruption charges Wednesday, Hampton described a “roller coast of emotions” from pride to sadness to excitement.
“It feels really surreal to have actual personal relationships with people involved in something like this,” Hampton said in an interview with The Daily Line on Thursday.
While she said Madigan was kind to her in their infrequent interactions before Hampton sued, Madigan’s indictment also felt like justice for her after she experienced sexual harassment from people he employed. She also said Madigan was involved in trying to cover up Quinn’s actions.
“This has been very validating,” Hampton said. “When that lawsuit happened a lot of people stopped speaking to me. I couldn’t work for a couple of years… so I definitely feel kind of vindicated.”
Hampton settled her lawsuit in 2019 with the Democratic Party, Democratic Majority, 13th Ward Democratic Organization and Friends of Michael J. Madigan for $275,000.
Madigan’s former chief of staff Tim Mapes resigned in 2018 following sexual harassment allegations.
While working under Madigan, Hampton said she was never privy to discussions involving any of the illegal activities described in the indictment, but the news of the indictment wasn’t surprising.
“I think people have believed that this was going to happen for quite some time now,” Hampton said.
Going public with her sexual harassment claim was a difficult experience, Hampton said. She was isolated by coworkers and others in politics.
“Many of my former coworkers and people around him definitely would intimidate, fear monger and harass [me],” Hampton said.
That made Wednesday’s statement by a group of Democrats who opposed Madigan unsurprising, Hampton said. She said Democrats running for office always had threats hanging over them if they didn’t do what Madigan wanted or support him.
On Wednesday, a group of Democrats who opposed Madigan’s 2021 bid for speaker following the ComEd deferred prosecution agreement in 2020 spoke about his indictment at a press conference. They expressed relief and hope for the future without Madigan looming over every political move they make.
“The first thing you do when you get cancer is you cut out the cancer,” Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) said Wednesday.
Now that time has passed, people are nicer to her again and people have expressed support for her, Hampton said. Hampton is still involved in politics as a consultant for Democrats nationally and runs Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi’s campaign.
Even after Wednesday indictment, Hampton said there’s room for the state to make more progress getting away from a corrupt history.
“Illinois needs a lot of work, and just because Madigan is not technically in power does not mean there isn’t more corruption-type behavior that needs to be rooted out,” Hampton said.
She noted many people have worked for Madigan and many still have jobs in politics and in the State House. Lawmakers also must take a more serious look at ethics reform to close loopholes for lobbyists and lawmakers to skirt the law, she saidHampton noted the position of legislative inspector general had remained open for weeks and said strengthening that position is one possible course of action.
Hampton said she is optimistic Illinois’ political climate is improving, and she sees evidence of that in her own life now that she is accepted back into the Illinois political arena following her allegations against Quinn.
“You can definitely feel things shifting and changing but we definitely need to take a closer look at everyone [in politics],” Hampton said.
Meetings & Agendas