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Julie Porter Appointed As Legislative Inspector General

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Late Saturday night, Julie Porter was appointed as the new temporary legislative inspector general.

Porter is a former assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago, and served as chief of the criminal division.

Now, as CBS 2's Audrina Bigos reports, dozens of misconduct complaints against Illinois lawmakers will be investigated.

"She's a special inspector general, in order to deal with the backlog the emergency situation that we have found," said Illinois State Sen. Karen McConnaughay (33rd District).

Sen. McConnaughay is referring to the 27 ethic complaints against lawmakers that have slid under the radar with no acting inspector general in the past three years.

"It's absolutely outrageous, and it's incumbent on us to ensure that that never happens again," she added.

RELATED: Legislation May End Sexual Harassment Statute Of Limitations

Saturday night, McConnaughay, as well as other members of the Legislative Ethics Commission, voted unanimously for the appointment of Porter.

"She's going to address those 27 complaints, and see if some of them are frivolous, if some of them deserve to be investigated and what nature they are," said Sen. Terry Link (30th District).

This week, Denise Rotheimer, who's running for a House seat in 2018, publicly accused Sen. Ira Silverstein of sexual harassment, and said she filed a complaint one year ago, with still no response. This is when McConnaughay learned that there were any complaints at all.

"The Illinois General Assembly is still incapable of policing itself. We still need to change how we do these kinds of investigative matters," McConnaughay said.

With Rotheimer's admission, and more harassment headlines coming out of Springfield, there was a new urgency to hire an inspector general, as there is a statute of limitations on when an investigation can be conducted into complaints about lawmakers' behavior.

The nature of the other 26 outstanding complaints is unknown because names of the accuser, the accused and the alleged violations are all kept private.

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