State House GOP staffer gets suspension, 6-month probation for doing political work on state time
State Government Illustration (Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune)
Legislative aide Nicholas McNeely, who’s worked for the GOP since 2005, campaigned for an incumbent representative during work hours, according to a February report by Thomas Homer, the Illinois legislative inspector general.
McNeely supported and worked for Rep. Kent Gaffney, R-Lake Barrington, during Gaffney’s failed primary bid.
Republican challenger David McSweeney, from Barrington Hills, complained about three members of Cross’ staff. An investigation found the claims against two of the employees to be unsubstantiated but found McNeely posted a comment on a political blog while at work, according to the report. While on the clock, McNeely also signed up to volunteer for the McSweeney campaign, which he said he did to gather political intelligence on the opposition.
McSweeney won his election against incumbent Gaffney in the March 2012 primary. Gaffney worked as a staffer for the House Republicans before being appointed to his seat in 2011 to replace Rep. Mark Beaubien, who died in June.
Cross also disciplined McNeely by converting some granted sick days into vacation time, reassigning him from his research and appropriations staff position to another legislative position and putting the inspector general’s report in McNeely’s permanent file.
"Rep. Kent Gaffney and I do not tolerate any prohibited political activity on state time," Cross said in a statement, adding: "When we first learned of the allegation against one of our staff members, we investigated it immediately internally and then fully complied with the Inspector General’s investigation."