Ethics complaint filed against Lake County's Linda Pedersen

  •  Suzi Schmidt.

    Suzi Schmidt.

Published: 11/13/200 12:02 AM

A local Democratic Party official has filed a complaint against Lake County Board member Linda Pedersen, alleging she violated state ethics rules by helping organize a fundraiser for a political ally while working at her job as a legislative aide.

The complaint was filed by Eighth District Democratic Central Committeewoman Nancy Shepherdson on Thursday with the Office of the Legislative Inspector General in Springfield. It says that Pedersen used Republican State Rep. JoAnn Osmond's office phone to accept RSVPs for a fundraiser for County Board Chairwoman and Republican state Senate candidate Suzi Schmidt. Pedersen is a legislative aide for Osmond and works in her Antioch office.

Shepherdson said she noticed the phone number listed in a brief about the Nov. 12 fundraiser in a local newspaper.

Ethics rules prohibit legislative employees from conducting campaign activities at work.

"This is a clear ethical violation. But even worse, it's a ripoff to taxpayers," Shepherdson said in a news release.

Pedersen said she isn't the organizer of the event and said the phone number was published by mistake.

"I am not running Suzi Schmidt's fundraiser," Pedersen said Thursday. "And the phone number was never intended to be used for people to RSVP."

Osmond said Lake County Republican Party Chairman Dan Venturi included the number in an e-mail blast about the event.

"He should have used the campaign phone number but in any case, the state does not pay for my office phone. I do," she said Thursday.

Schmidt, a Lake Villa Republican, is set to challenge incumbent Democrat Michael Bond of Grayslake for the 31st Senate seat in 2010. Both Bond and Schmidt will run unopposed in their respective primaries in February.