Illinois

Illinois Democrat loses committee chair after domestic violence allegations

State Senator Michael Hastings (D-Frankfort) will not be reappointed to chair a legislative body in next year’s Illinois General Assembly session, according to Illinois Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park).

“I don’t expect Senator Hastings to be wielding a committee gavel anytime soon,” Harmon told WBEZ Chicago. Harmon said he would not reappoint Hastings to chair the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee or any other legislative committee when the new session begins in January.

Harmon’s crackdown on his colleague came after Hastings was accused of physical abuse by his ex-wife, according to divorce court records and a report by the Frankfurt Police Department.

Hastings has denied the allegations. The state senator has since filed a disclosure request in court to identify the public worker who distributed copies of the police report alleging his now ex-wife’s emotional and physical abuse. Among the allegations, Hastings’ ex-wife claims he choked her and banged on a door while swearing at her in front of their children.

Hastings has resigned his candidacy for Illinois Secretary of State and has resigned from his role as leader of the Democratic-majority Senate (pdf).

In September, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker asked Hastings to resign, along with state senator Emil Jones III (D-Chicago), who was charged in federal court with bribery in his dealings with a red-light camera company.

“She [Hastings and Jones] should answer the charges and have their day in court,” Pritzker said in a statement, reported by the Chicago Sun-Times. “But in the best interests of their constituents, these men must step down from office. Merely relinquishing her leadership falls short of what the public should expect. I want to send a clear message to the people of Illinois: Corruption and abuse have no place here.”

Hastings won a narrow re-election victory (728 votes) in the midterm elections over GOP challenger Patrick Sheehan. Jones was re-elected without a challenger.

Allegations of domestic violence are the latest in a series of personal and professional issues Hastings has faced since taking office in 2013. Former Hastings Chief of Staff Cassandra Matz sued Hastings in 2019 for harassment.

Although Hastings was not charged with any crime, WBEZ reported that Illinois taxpayers spent nearly $150,000 on a settlement and outside legal fees in the civil discrimination case filed by his former top aide against Hastings and the Illinois Senate.

The Epoch Times has reached out to Hastings and Jones for comment.

Bradley Martin

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Bradley Martin is the founder and executive director of the Near East Center for Strategic Studies. His byline can be found in notable publications such as Newsweek, The Jerusalem Post, The Washington Examiner, The Hill, The Daily Wire and The Washington Times. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @ByBradleyMartin

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