The Illinois governor’s chief of staff resigned yesterday after the state ethics investigator found that he violated ethics rules by sending campaign-oriented emails from his state email address.
In a twist, the investigator, Executive Inspector General James A. Wright, was fired by Gov. Pat Quinn (D) on Aug. 13, the same day Wright released his findings against the chief of staff, Jerry Stermer, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Quinn’s office denies that the report against the COS had anything to do with Wright’s firing.
“The replacement was not in response to this or any other specific OEIG report, and these events are in no way connected,” Quinn said in a statement. Instead, the office said they were letting go of the Blagojevich-appointed Wright in order to take the office in “a new direction.”
Stermer, the chief of staff, filed his own complaint with the ethics office in January, acknowledging that he made a mistake by sending a handful of campaign emails from his official government account.
“I voluntarily provided the information to the OEIG for investigation, and made it clear that I was prepared to accept the consequences for my mistakes,” he said in his resignation letter.
In the emails, Stermer told consultants with the governor’s campaign that he would find out how much Quinn had cut from the budget, and also made a suggestion regarding the governor’s answers to a candidate questionnaire.
“I am holding myself accountable for a mistake I alone made. I do not want to be a distraction for the governor, the work of his administration and — most importantly — for the people of Illinois.”
Quinn is up for re-election this year.