Appointed in February, LIG Michael McCuskey says his role is to serve as a watchdog, not a prosecutor. By statute, the LIG is a fully independent part of the General Assembly system. The LIG and his or her staff shall investigate violations of the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act when they take place within the boundaries of the state legislature. The LIG is required to listen to, and take in for its records, all allegations and reports of violations of the Act. The Office of the Legislative Inspector General has jurisdiction over all current and former members and employees of the General Assembly for conduct during their times or terms in office. With bipartisan consent, the LIG can forward complaints against a named individual to law enforcement.
In the recent past, the Office of the Legislative Inspector General has been a challenged, troubled office. During the time of former Speaker Michael Madigan, although the Office of the LIG theoretically had jurisdiction over the conduct of Springfield legislators and their alleged malfeasance in office, the LIG office was often kept vacant or powerless. Madigan left office in 2021. In early 2022, the former Speaker was indicted by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. This was part of a series of indictments that also included several key allies and senior aides of the former Speaker. The indictments are for a series of charges related to alleged acts of influence-peddling and legislative corruption in Springfield.
McCuskey indicated in an interview this week that he wants to move on to a new paradigm of investigation and law-enforcement referral within his office. He added that his office has received 40 complaints so far this year about alleged conduct by General Assembly members and their staffs, has investigated them all, and has found that none show serious wrongdoing.