The (Champaign) News-Gazette

The position of legislative inspector general has been vacant for four years. But appointing someone to be the "toothless watchdog" will not tame sexual harassment in Springfield.

There's a new scandal in Springfield, one that has legislators ducking for cover, pointing fingers of blame and promising to do better.

The "scandal" is the fact that legislators have, for several years, forgotten to appoint a legislative inspector general, whose job is to investigate complaints made about members of the House and Senate.

But the vacancy represents the epitome of official indifference, and that looks especially shameful in the aftermath of complaints by female lobbyists about male lawmakers' behavior.

Former legislator and judge Tom Homer, the last full-time legislative inspector general, complained that he was a "toothless watchdog" who had little authority to do anything about wrongdoing he uncovered.

Let's review the situation — no clear rules, no penalties and no disclosure. That sounds like a recipe for covering up misbehavior rather than the uncovering of it, and it's no accident.

Sauk Valley Media

Is former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn stealing a page from California Gov. Jerry Brown's playbook?

That's the question we asked upon hearing that Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, has announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Illinois attorney general in the March 2018 primary.

Quinn also has served as Illinois treasurer and lieutenant governor, and as a member of the Cook County Board of Tax Appeals, and he ran unsuccessfully for secretary of state, treasurer, and U.S. Senate.

Whether Quinn will be as successful, or as ambitious, as Brown remains to be seen, but his bid will be one more reason to keep an eye on the 2018 campaign.

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan

Public figures using social media can be double-edged sword. Prior to the advent of Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and other social media platforms, Americans heard from their elected and appointed figures through press conferences, newspaper stories, and radio and television interviews.

Those traditional media platforms provided plenty of potential pitfalls for political figures. But in today's world, the opportunity for elected officials to make regrettable statements has increased exponentially. Now, more than ever, words need to be chosen carefully.

The use of social media provides insight into a person's psyche, their viewpoints and their underlying motivations. In the past, it was possible for politicians and public figures to blame verbal missteps on a slip of the tongue.

Asking public officials to consider the greater implications of their social media posts doesn't seem to be too much to ask. That extra moment of reflection can save a great deal of trouble in the long term.


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