A local physician is having his medical license threatened by the Pritzker administration at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).
After learning about what he believes to be potential criminal activity committed by the Pritzker administration, including the threatening of a public official and intimidation of that same official, State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mohomet) has filed, on the advice of his caucus’ ethics officer, a complaint with the Office of the Executive Inspector General (OEIG) asking for an investigation.
Rose was made aware of the Pritzker administration’s actions by his constituent, Dr. Jeremy Henrichs, who is a doctor that also serves on the Mahomet-Seymour Board of Education. Dr. Henrichs informed Sen. Rose that he recently received communication from IDFPR regarding an ‘official investigation’– not because of his conduct in his medical clinic as a physician, but, rather, because Dr. Henrichs’ doesn’t agree with the Governor in his role as an elected school board member.
“This is a frightening abuse of power,” said Rose. “Just last week, the Wall Street Journal carried an op-ed from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine professor, Dr. Marty Makary, and Tufts Children’s Hospital chief of pediatric infectious diseases, Dr. H. Cody Meissner, who argued against masking school children due to the numerous adverse medical and physiological conditions that can occur from the masks themselves. Should their state’s medical board investigate them for their learned opinions as academic scholars? Certainly not. But here we are in Illinois and that is exactly what is happening to Dr. Henrichs,” said Rose.
“I have considered authoritative medical evidence that questions the necessity of mandatory masking in our schools,” said Dr. Henrichs. “As a result, the IDPFR has threatened my medical licensure unless I expressly support and enforce a mask mandate for all students. The IDPFR has commanded me to ‘toe the line’ or suffer personal and professional consequences. The IDPFR’s actions constitute a direct threat from the state to the well-being of my family and all board members to freely and independently exercise the duties of elected office. The health of our student body is something I place first in my public role. However, the health of our democratic system is dead if we tolerate the intimidation targeting me and chilling the independence of innumerable other elected public officials,” Henrichs concluded.
Sen. Rose, a former prosecutor, notes that attempting to strong-arm an elected official into changing his or her vote is a crime, regardless of how you feel about the merits of the vote itself.
“It is, frankly, un-American that any administration would try to threaten someone’s professional license to force them to vote in a certain way,” said Rose. “I fear this is part of a pattern of abuse of power that the Pritzker administration is undertaking to tamp out any dissent. Who knows how many others will have their licenses threatened unless they vote with the governor? Forget masks, under this line of logic, you could simply threaten any professional who disagrees with you until you get your way – on any issue! How many insurance agents, real estate agents, bankers, and other licensed professionals are on school boards? Are they all going to be threatened?” Rose continued.
Following legal analysis that concluded the actions by the Pritzker administration’s IDFPR potentially represent criminal activity under Illinois statutes, Rose was advised by his ethics officer to report the issue to the proper authorities. On Wednesday, Sen. Rose filed a formal complaint with the OEIG and has fully complied with the direction of his ethics officer.
“Right now an elected school board member is having to abstain from votes due to threats to his medical license,” said Rose. “This action by the Pritzker administration is depriving not only Dr. Henrichs of his ability to perform his duties as a duly elected official, but also depriving the people of the Mahomet-Seymour School District of the advice of the one board of education member who is best positioned to opine on the very topic: a medical doctor. This is absolutely not acceptable, and I believe it is likely criminal. In America we do not settle legitimate disagreements by retaliatory persecution. Governor Pritzker needs to stop this entire line of inquiry immediately and apologize to Dr. Henrichs.”