Illlinois Ag Director resigns over controversial 2012 email

John Sullivan (right) resigned over the weekend, according to the governor’s office. (Dave Dahl/WJBC)


By Neil Doyle

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Agriculture Director John Sullivan has resigned after he apparently knew about a 2012 email from former top lobbyist Mike McClain over an alleged “rape in Champaign.”

Sullivan, who at the time was a state senator, supposedly knew about the email and did not handle it appropriately, according to the governor’s office.

The following is a statement from Emily Bittner, director of communications for the governor’s office:

“Governor Pritzker sought and accepted Department of Agriculture Director John Sullivan’s resignation this weekend. Director Sullivan had a long and productive public service career as a State Senator, and the Governor is grateful for his willingness to serve in the administration. Director Sullivan put together an outstanding team at the Department of Agriculture, and as a result, the Department’s work thrived. However, the Governor holds all state employees to the highest ethical standards, and the Governor requested the Director’s resignation because he is disturbed that then-Senator Sullivan became aware of the existence of the July 31, 2012 email contemporaneously, and did not handle it appropriately, including not alerting the inspector general or other authorities.”
“The Governor’s general counsel has shared all of the information she learned from Director Sullivan with the Office of the Executive Inspector General and offered to share this information with all law enforcement agencies looking into this situation. The administration will continue to assist in the ongoing investigation.”
Neil Doyle can be reached at


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