McConchie staffer reprimanded for sending political email

SPRINGFIELD - A staff member for Illinois Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie has been reprimanded for using a state government email account to remind colleagues of a political fundraiser.

Leanne Bucci, personnel and fiscal manager for the Senate Republicans, sent the email Saturday morning about the annual Caucus Chicken Fry Monday at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport in Springfield. It's a Republican fundraiser, but staff members and their families may attend for free.

Bucci realized the error, followed up with an email recall notice and within an hour notified chief of staff Dale Righter, according to McConchie spokeswoman Whitney Barnes. Righter recommended she send an email asking recipients to disregard the email.

Barnes said the matter was reported to the legislative inspector general, who, if choosing to investigate further, could suggest nothing more than a staff reminder of the rules.

Righter imposed discipline on Monday. Barnes said she could not reveal the nature of the discipline but said it was based on previous Legislative Ethics Commission cases and influenced by Bucci's statement that the mistake was unintentional, that she sent the recall alert and self-reported the error.

Bucci did not return a message left at her office Wednesday. On staff since 2017, she was recently promoted from her previous position as legislative assistant, Barnes said. State records indicate her salary is $80,000.

Talking politics on government property or with state equipment, a practice openly tolerated for ages, was prohibited after scandals of the past quarter-century. Those included instances in the federal corruption trial of former Gov. George Ryan, whose staff when he was secretary of state were required to solicit campaign funds while working during official business hours.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.