Ethics commission finds ex-Exelon lobbyist sexually harassed colleague

Ethics commission finds ex-Exelon lobbyist sexually harassed colleague

By SARAH MANSUR
Capitol News Illinois
smansur@capitolnewsillinois.com

SPRINGFIELD — A state ethics commission has found a former Exelon lobbyist sexually harassed one of his female colleagues on two separate occasions in Springfield, in violation of the Lobbyist Registration Act.

David Fein, formerly Exelon’s senior vice president of state governmental and regulatory affairs, will have to pay a $6,000 fine and his lobbyist registration will be suspended until Dec. 31, according to the April 23 decision from the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission.

The commission is a nine-member entity that conducts hearings on alleged ethics violations.

The decision states that Fein’s behavior toward his female colleague “was of a sexual nature and was sufficiently severe or pervasive to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment” for his colleague.

The EEC decision about Fein’s misconduct was first reported by the Chicago radio station WBEZ.

Fein left his position at Exelon in August 2019 after Crain’s Chicago Business reported about the allegations of sexual harassment against him.

The EEC’s findings that Fein engaged in sexual misconduct stems from two incidents, in March and April 2019, involving a female Exelon employee who was subordinate to Fein, identified in the EEC decision as Witness A.

The first instance of sexual harassment took place after “several people associated with Exelon’s lobbying efforts” gathered at a hotel bar on March 19, 2019, following hearings in the Illinois General Assembly, according to the commission’s decision.

While at the hotel bar, Fein “flattered Witness A’s professional work and told her how wonderful and attractive she was,” the decision states.

Around 2 a.m. the next morning, Fein knocked on Witness A’s hotel door and said he wanted to speak with her. She opened the door and let him in.

“Once inside Witness A’s hotel room, (Fein) stated that he and his wife had separated and that he found Witness A attractive. He put his hand on her leg and tried to kiss her. Witness A told (Fein), ‘You’ve got to leave,’ which he did,” the decision states. “The next morning, March 20, 2019, (Fein) stopped by Witness A’s desk and said, ‘I was drunk. There’s no excuse,’ to which Witness A replied, ‘That’s right, there is no excuse for that.’”

The second incident happened on April 29, 2019, after Witness A and others gathered at another hotel bar, following formal activities at a lobbyist-related event in Springfield.

Witness A left the gathering early and took the elevator to her hotel room, but Fein followed her into the elevator.

“As Witness A reached her floor and began to exit the elevator, (Fein) put his hands on Witness A’s face and tried to kiss or hug her. Witness A told (Fein) to stop, pulled away from him, and left the elevator,” the report states.

The commission concluded that Fein’s “actions were unwelcome, inappropriate, offensive, and potentially damaging to Witness A’s career.”

Fein, who is a lawyer, had worked at Exelon since 2012, according to his LinkedIn page.

He is currently president of his own consulting firm, Fein Solutions LLC.

Attorneys for Fein did not respond to requests for comment.

 

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation

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