Harmon leaves private law firm

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By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

Oak Park state Sen. Don Harmon (39th), who was elected earlier this month to replace John Cullerton as president of the Illinois Senate, gave reformers and anti-corruption advocates reason for optimism last week when he told Chicago Tonight he's stepping down as partner at Burke Burns & Pinelli, Ltd. 

Harmon has worked at the law firm since 2005, where he specializes in corporate law and civil litigation, according to the firm's website. 

"I just don't have the time capacity to be a good Senate president and to practice law the way I've practiced it," Harmon told Chicago Tonight. It's a break from tradition. The job didn't keep Cullerton from practicing law and it hasn't kept Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan from being a property tax attorney.  

Despite a series of ongoing federal investigations that implicate numerous Democratic lawmakers at the local and state levels, including Madigan, Harmon refrained from citing ethical concerns as a reason for stepping back from private practice. 

"It is important that people have real-world experiences," Harmon said. "Unless you want to overhaul the system and make everybody a full-time politician, I have a strong belief in a citizen legislature." 

Michael Romain 

Contact:
Email: michael@oakpark.com

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Reader Comments

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Tom MacMillan from OAK PARK  

Posted: January 29th, 2020 3:37 PM

Term limits. Now.

Nick Polido  

Posted: January 29th, 2020 2:22 PM

FROM WBEZ: Additional state senators The Sept. 24 Sandoval raid also yielded information about Democratic state Sen. Steven Landek, of Bridgeview, and the law firm of Democratic Sen. Don Harmon, of Oak Park. The list of items seized by the FBI included a "flash drive with Landek written on it," according to documents revealed Friday. On Friday, Landek, who also is mayor of Bridgeview, said he believed his name was mentioned in the FBI document because he and Sandoval shared an office assistant earlier this year. He said investigators had not contacted him or village officials in Bridgeview. The list also indicated "documents from Burke Burns law firm" were taken from Sandoval's office. Harmon, of Oak Park, is a partner in the Chicago law firm, Burke, Burns & Panelli. "I have absolutely no idea to what this refers," Harmon said. "But I'd be happy to talk to you again if anything comes to light."

Mary Kay O'Grady  

Posted: January 28th, 2020 5:02 PM

Very good decision!

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