A former employee in Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford’s office filed a federal lawsuit Monday alleging the Republican gubernatorial candidate made inappropriate sexual advances and regularly forced him to do political work on state time.
Ed Michalowski, a former lawyer and director in Rutherford’s office, alleged in the lawsuit that Rutherford’s sexual advances began in April 2011, shortly after Michalowski began working in the office. The lawsuit also alleged Rutherford asked Michalowski to set up meetings with potential donors for campaign contributions while he was working for the state.
Rutherford has denied any wrongdoing, holding a Jan. 31 news conference to announce that an unnamed employee had raised “allegations of misconduct” against him. Initially, Rutherford said he couldn’t detail the allegations because they were a personnel matter, but he later confirmed they involved harassment and political coercion.
“I know the accusations are completely false,” Rutherford told The Associated Press last week.
He said an independent investigation would clear his name and accused a Republican gubernatorial rival, businessman Bruce Rauner, of being behind the accusations in an attempt to undermine Rutherford’s governor campaign. Rauner has denied the allegation. Michalowski also has said his motivation is not political.
Michalowski submitted a letter of resignation to Rutherford’s office last week. The lawsuit names both the treasurer and his chief of staff, Kyle Ham, who didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment. More…