Rauner Administration Hampering Inquiry into Legionnaires’ Outbreak Response
Rauner Admin Delaying, Denying Requests for Public Records about State’s Botched Response
Today, Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration appeared before a legislative body investigating the state’s botched response to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at a state-run veterans’ home in Quincy. Over three years, 13 people died. At a hearing last month, lawmakers asked the administration to turn over more information about the state’s response to the outbreak.
Well, lawmakers will have to wait longer. According to the Associated Press, Rauner’s administration required lawmakers to file public records requests, then denied the requests as “overly broad”:
“Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Nirav Shah…told a joint House-Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Wednesday that Sen. Tom Cullerton’s request for communication surrounding the crisis that has led to the deaths of 13 residents and sickened dozens more is subject to the Freedom of Information Act. He used an exemption for “overly broad” requests to deny the request from Cullerton. He invited the Villa Park Democrat and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee chairman to narrow the request.”
Today’s hearing also revealed the workers at the state-run Quincy home only learned about the Legionnaires’ outbreak through media reports. Rauner’s administration already came under fire after it was revealed the state waited 6 days before telling residents and the public about the outbreak.
“Thirteen people died at a veterans’ home and Bruce Rauner’s administration is hampering an investigation into why it happened,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “It took a major investigation to force Rauner to even admit there was a problem at Quincy. Now it appears his administration is more interested in protecting themselves than finding answers as to what happened.”