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      Experts say sexual harassment lawsuit hurts Rutherford's campaign

      Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford

      Political analysts say a lawsuit by a former employee accusing Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford of sexual harassment likely will damage the GOP gubernatorial candidate's campaign.

      David Yepsen is the director of Southern Illinois University's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. He says any kind of sexual harassment charge against a major political figure is "toxic."

      Northern Illinois University Political Science Chair Matt Streb says the lawsuit will be a big distraction from the Chenoa Republican's main message.

      The lawsuit was filed Monday in Chicago's federal court on behalf of Ed Michalowski, a former lawyer and community affairs director in Rutherford's office.

      Michalowski claims that Rutherford made inappropriate sexual advances and forced him to do campaign work on state time.

      Rutherford has said there's "absolutely no truth" to the former employee's claims.