'It was a mistake' • Rep. Skillicorn corrects voting, attendance record
Allegations that state Rep. Allen Skillicorn was absent during a legislative session last summer, where he was recorded as present and voting in multiple roll calls, have been "substantiated" by the Illinois legislative inspector general.
But an investigation found no evidence of malicious intent or proof the East Dundee Republican authorized anyone to operate his switch in his absence, according to Legislative Inspector General Carol Pope. He has since submitted a letter with the clerk of the House correcting the voting record.
"Indeed, there was no malice," Skillicorn said in a statement Tuesday. "It was a mistake, and we as a legislative body should clearly define what the protocol should be so that the rules are clear and mistakes like this will not be made."
The ethics complaint filed in January by 66th House District candidate Carolyn Schofield -- Skillicorn's opponent in the GOP primary -- accused the incumbent of falsifying his voting and attendance record June 1, while he was attending the Harvard Milk Days Parade hundreds of miles from Springfield.
In a Feb. 13 note to Chief Clerk John Hollman, Skillicorn said he was accidentally listed as present at the 12:15 p.m. roll call, but he was not in attendance. He also was inadvertently listed as having voted on 24 bills or resolutions during his absence, he said.
Skillicorn said he arrived in session after the House called for a recess at 3 p.m. and before 5:50 p.m.
In a status email sent to Schofield last Friday, Pope said she interviewed 11 people during her investigation, including the clerk's office personnel, staff members and legislators.
She found it is common for General Assembly members to ask a seatmate or staff member to vote for them if they need to temporarily step out, for reasons such as to use the bathroom or talk to a constituent. It's not appropriate for a lawmaker to ask someone to vote with their switch while they are out of town, she said, nor is it acceptable for a colleague to take it upon themselves to vote for an absent member.
Pope suggests a written protocol be provided to House members and their staff "so there is no question about the procedures to be followed when a member is going to be absent," she said in the email, noting she has closed her investigation.
Skillicorn said he agrees with Pope's findings and "strongly supports (her) recommendation for a written protocol to ensure that this does not happen again."