Veterans' affairs worker guilty of campaigning on state time

Richard Wooten

A state department of veterans' affairs employee has been found guilty of doing political campaign work on state time, then lying to investigators about her wrongdoing, after an investigation by the state Office of Executive Inspector General.

Investigators found that Sherri Caffey, a nursing assistant at the Manteno Veterans' Home, "made dozens of prohibited political telephone phone calls during State-compensated time." Caffey made the calls on behalf of a candidate for the state House of Representatives, Richard Wooten.

Wooten, a former Chicago police officer, unsuccessfully ran in the 2012 Democratic primary for the 34th district House seat. The 34th district includes the South-Side Chicago neighborhoods Englewood and Hegewisch, and parts of suburban Cook, Will, and Kankakee counties.

According to a finding by the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission (EEC), on two occasions Caffey not only lied to investigators about making the phone calls, but claimed that she had no connection to the Wooten campaign—when, in fact, she worked as the campaign's manager.

The EEC fined Caffey $1,500 for her violation. Wooten was not accused of any wrongdoing.

On the Web site promoting his 2012 candidacy, Wooten asks supporters to join him in "holding our political representation accountable," and says that "it's time to reunite as a people and restore values back into our Government."

Document: Finding in case 14-EEC-004 by the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission