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Rauner wants referendum on gay marriage

Thursday, Apr 4, 2013

* This whole idea that gay marriage ought to be decided via referendum, when Illinois has no binding referendum provisions, is basically just a dodge. Likely gubernatorial candidate Sen. Kirk Dillard is for deciding the issue by referendum, and so is Bruce Rauner. From his appearance on WLS Radio this morning

Cohn: This has been an important topic that’s being discussed all around the country right now - gay marriage. Where do you stand on gay marriage?

Rauner: Gay marriage is, it’s an important issue. I think it’s best decided by the voters. Frankly either voter referendum or whatever format voters think makes sense. I think the voters should decide that issue.

Cohn: You don’t have a personal feeling about gay marriage?

Rauner: I really don’t. I think it’s best done by the voters. By society should accept it when the time is right for them. […]

I believe the voters should decide on gay marriage. That’s not lacking leadership, that’s saying voters decide. If, for example, the legislature passes gay marriage, I’m not gonna fight to reverse it. If they don’t pass it, I’m not gonna advocate for it. At the right time, the voters will make their views known. I think that’s a good outcome.

Rauner said he wants to focus like a laser on other issues that are important to him

There are many very important social issues - reproductive rights, abortion, gay marriage, other issues - and the reality is, our state is in dire, dire condition. And if we argue among ourselves on social issues today rather than focusing like a laser on our economy, on the graft in the inefficiency and corruption and waste in springfield and on our education system - which is the future for our children and the Illinois economy - unless we focus like a laser on those three issues, if we allow ourselves to get distracted by other arguments, they’re important arguments, but if we allow ourselves to get distracted, we won’t fix the core problems of the state.

He’s running for governor, not office manager.

Just because a candidate wants to focus on a set of issues and avoid another set doesn’t mean he’ll be allowed to. Eventually, he’s gonna have to answer these questions.

* Meanwhile, yesterday’s post about some of Rauner’s past business dealings prompted an ally of one of his opponents to toss some opposition research over the transom. From that OR report about Rauner’s involvement in Lason, Inc. through his company GTCR

After Gaining Control Of The Company, GTCR Installed William Rauwerdink As CFO Of Lason. “Ironically, shortly after GTCR’s original investment in Lason in the mid-1990s, the firm installed as CFO William Rauwerdink, who was fresh off of an SEC settlement related to insider trading charges.” (“Watercooler,” Mergers & Acquisitions, 8/1/11)

Rauwerdink Had Settled With The SEC Over Insider Trading Charges Shortly Before Being Hired At Lason. “Ironically, shortly after GTCR’s original investment in Lason in the mid-1990s, the firm installed as CFO William Rauwerdink, who was fresh off of an SEC settlement related to insider trading charges.” (“Watercooler,”Mergers & Acquisitions, 8/1/11)

In 2003, Rauwerdink And Two Other Lason Executives Were Indicted For Conspiring To Commit Fraud And Lying To The Securities And Exchange Commission.


Lason Filed For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy In December of 2001. “Lason Inc., once a high-flying high-tech company, soughtbankruptcy protection Wednesday, after amassing more than $ 360 million in debt in recent years.” (“Troy, Michigan-Based High-Tech Firm Seeks BankruptcyProtection,” Detroit Free Press, 12/6/01)

Lason Had Burned Through $450 Million In Cash, $220 Million In Stock, And Amassed $320 Million In Debt By Purchasing 76 Companies In 4 Years. “The company’s road from rising tech power to bankruptcy illustrates the perils of growing too fast. Risher, who joined the company in November 2000 as chief financial officer, said Lason’s prior management team spent roughly $450 million in cash and $220 million in stock to acquire 76 companies in four years. The buying spree loaded Lason with about $320 million in debt, causing a flurry of troubles over the past several years.”(Cheryl Meyer, “Buying bing, faulty books drove Lason into bankruptcy,” Daily Deal,12/7/01)

Lason’s Disastrous Acquisitions Strategy Began While GTCR Was The Controlling Shareholder. “The company’s historical strength is as a printing company for automakers and companies who needed a company to print paychecks, bills and statements. Lason acquired eight companies before 1996, and Monroe estimates the company has purchased 50 more since.” (Brent Snavely, “Lason’sbuying binge sends company into stock free fall,” Crain’s Detroit Business, 7/3/00)

Rauner Served On Lason’s Board Of Directors For Nearly The Entire Period Of The Company’s Buying Binge.

GTCR Profited From Lason While Shareholders Lost Everything

Ordinary Shareholders Were Wiped Out By The Lason Bankruptcy. “The company will cancel its current stock, now trading under LSONQ over the counter on pink sheets at 3 cents per share, and issue 30 million new shares of common stock with the majority, 26.25 million, going to the remaining creditors. Current shareholderswill get nothing.” (Jeff Bennett, “Judge Approves Rescue Plan for Troy, Mich.-Based Tech Firm Lason,” Detroit Free Press, 5/1/02)

One Shareholder Reported Losing $50,000 He Had Saved For His Daughter’s College Tuition. “David Norman feels a little vindicated today, knowing the men who may have had a hand in making his $50,000 investment disappear have been charged for their involvement in the downfall of Lason Inc. Norman, 41, of Romulus bought shares of the Troy-based company’s stock through his 401(k) plan in 2000. He thought he was getting in on the ground floor, even though the stock was trading at $2 after hitting a high of $64.94 in 1999…As for Norman, he would like the chance to show Monroe and Messinger the red ink splashed across his portfolio. “I have a daughter who is 2 1/2, and I was going to use the money to send her to the University of Michigan, but who knows now if she will be able to go,” he said. “I am afraid to invest anymore because we have been burned. What company is going to do it to us next?”” (Jeff Bennett, “Troy, Mich., High-Tech FirmShareholders Take Solace in Executive Indictments,” Detroit Free Press, 5/16/03)

Go read the whole thing.

That could make a good TV ad. More to come, I’m sure.

* And this is from the Rauner campaign…

Bruce Rauner announced the addition of Dick Uihlein, Mike Keiser and Matt Kibbe to his Exploratory Committee.

Dick Uihlein and Mike Keiser are distinguished entrepreneurs and business leaders, and Matt Kibbe is a highly-regarded figure in the conservative movement. Brief biographies of each individual are below.

“Two things Illinois desperately needs are jobs and a fresh approach to government in Springfield. I am extremely excited to add to my exploratory committee respected leaders who know what it takes to create more jobs and shake up state government,” said Bruce Rauner. “All three bring great political and business insight to the committee. I couldn’t be more excited to have their support.”

Uihlein has been a huge backer of Dan Proft in the past. Kibbe is President and CEO of FreedomWorks.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 2:56 pm:

    And so … it continues …

    Honestly … that is IT … Nothing more … zero … you’ll see … nothing. Rauner stated he is completely vetted!

    And those tax returns will be released, and an “Open Book”, with nothing to hide … because THIS is IT … He’s vetted …

    And it’s only March of 2013 …

  2. - wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 2:57 pm:

    Not exactly Profiles in Courage, Rauner and Dillard.

    Seriously, you don’t have an opinion on the subject? Do you think anyone believes that? What kind of butterballs do you take us for?

    Any chance JBT will take another shot at the Big Chair? She was the victim of a criminal conspiracy last time. At least she has some guts.

    If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 3:04 pm:

    “I plan on having a Deputy Governor for Referendums and Ballot Initiatives. Leadership demands that I let the people decide,” says ‘Gov.’ Rauner while focusing on how many pancils CMS bought last fiscal year.

    Dillard will just wait “till sundown”, look around, ask 5 random people their thoughts, and the forst opinion that gets 3 wins. It’s more complicated than flipping a coin, but democratic just the same.

    Disappointing, gentlemen.

  4. - Just Me - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 3:04 pm:

    Illinois is a republic form of government. We elect leaders who make policy decisions. If they cant make decisions then they shouldn’t be running for an office that requires making decisions.

  5. - just sayin' - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 3:10 pm:

    yeah Dick Uihlein gave half-a-million bucks to Dan Proft’s PAC days before the new limits went into effect and months after Proft came in last place in the GOP gubernatorial primary.

    Someone please tell me how people so dumb got so rich.

  6. - LincolnLounger - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 3:14 pm:

    Let’s see. Rauner meets with Ed Rendell, a candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania. Writes Rendell’s campaign $300,000 in contributions.

    After Rendell’s election, Rendell more than doubles Rauner’s firm’s stake in PA pension funds and increases the firm’s fees by more than $4 million.

    Rather than Rendell’s decision, shouldn’t the voters of Pennsylvania should have had their say about where their pension funds should have been invested?

    Is that how it works, Bruce?

  7. - Colby - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 3:35 pm:

    Y’know, one of the nicest things about being straight is that no one suggest my marriage should be put up for a vote.

  8. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 3:35 pm:

    Can we vote on Bruce Rauner’s civil rights while we’re at it?

  9. - wayne - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 3:36 pm:

    Let’s include everyone whose last names begin with a “C” or an “R” in the marriage referendum……

  10. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 3:56 pm:

    I always want to bang my head against a wall when somebody suggests people should vote on this. You don’t vote on issues of equality. And @Just Me makes the most relevant point - we don’t live in a direct democracy where we vote on everything. We elect people. It would be nice if people actually understood our system of government.

  11. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 3:57 pm:

    - Not exactly Profiles in Courage, Rauner and Dillard. -

    You said it. What’s next, let the voters decide how to craft the budget? Let the voters decide what tie to wear today?

    JBT is the toughest republican in state government, the boys club might as well start a sewing circle.

  12. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 4:03 pm:

    Going to study up, but at first read, looks pretty bad.

    This campaign may be all over but the consulting.

  13. - Just Observing - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 4:24 pm:

    Cohn: You don’t have a personal feeling about gay marriage?

    Rauner: I really don’t. I think it’s best done by the voters. By society should accept it when the time is right for them. […]

    Really… nothing? You’ve never given it any thought?

  14. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 4:28 pm:

    What we have here is a candidate who wishes to avoid exposing his personal opinion on an issue he finds himself in the minority on.

    Big deal.

    We have an attorney general who isn’t much of a fan enforcing some laws she doesn’t favor, that the majority does, (parental consent). We have an entire majority of the General Assembly trying to avoid enacting a Concealed Carry bill that not only is favored by a majority, but enacted in every single state in the United States. We have a series of governors who have openly ignored balance budget laws. We have jailed four of the last six former governors.

    What makes this issue sancrosanct over all others to a point where we want a candidate forced to state a position currently being debated before the Supreme Court, before it’s ruling?

    No candidate elected to office will embrace all public laws equally. Every one of them must find a way to meet their constitional conditions, and deal with laws with which they disagree. This issue is no different.

    If you want to kick Rauner on stupid things he says, I’m with you. But he is no different on this issue as any other candidate of publically elected official on any other issue. What he is seeming to suggest is that he has priorities he will enact as governor that will differ from the priorities of the past former governors, both jailed and free on bond, released from prison, retired from public service or gad-flying about in Chicago claiming to be a Wise Poohbah.

    Get a grip. Win well, not ugly.

  15. - Esquire - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 4:32 pm:

    Sometimes, it is interesting that so many pro choice advocates insist that I respect the Roe v. Wade decision. Some of the same people want me to ignore the Heller and McDonald opinions from the same court.

  16. - Peoria Pete - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 5:02 pm:

    Rauner might want to check out a little thing called “Prop 8″ out of California. Civil rights aren’t really the type of thing to determine by a referendum, proposition, etc.

  17. - reformer - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 5:02 pm:

    Our would be governor doesn’t want to lead. Instead he wants to institute referendums to decide issues.

  18. - Wensicia - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 5:16 pm:

    I’m not surprised. Going forward, I believe many Republican candidates will be silent on gay marriage as the polls continue to show majority acceptance.

  19. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 5:30 pm:

    - What we have here is a candidate who wishes to avoid exposing his personal opinion on an issue he finds himself in the minority on. -

    Yeah, that makes him a coward. Stand up for what you believe in, or go sit down and let the big boys handle things.

  20. - just sayin' - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 5:43 pm:

    What’s next, Rauner punts on promises to union bust?

    Money can’t buy a spine apparently.

  21. - wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 6:21 pm:

    I want a referendum on heterosexual marriage between a man and a woman.

    Seriously, let’s have a vote up or down. Just to be sure.

    Also, I want a referendum on heterosexuality.

    Some say I made a choice to be a heterosexual, but I really don’t remember it that way.

    Best I can remember, I knew I was a heterosexual before I knew anything about anything the first time I saw The Gold-diggers on the old Dean Martin Show on the black-and-white down on the farm.

    My flag was flying. Dom Deluise, no.

  22. - RNUG Fan - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 6:52 pm:

    Voters do decide budget issues Calif also voted to raise taxes and Illinois voters said no to the pension supermajority last fall as well.
    But courts can decide if voters or legislators have voted for something unconstitutional.
    Would Rauner support a vote on a progressive income tax?

  23. - wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 8:16 pm:

    –Someone please tell me how people so dumb got so rich.–

    In Uiehlein’s case, he inherited a chunk of the Schlitz fortune. He didn’t make it on bubble wrap.

    I freelance all around the city and suburbs, and Uline Corp. has the worst reputation of any corporation anywhere. Some head-hunter groups won’t even work with them anymore because of the way they treat their workers.

    Check out Monster or Careerbuilder and the openings at Uline are always a mile long. There’s a reason for that.

  24. - Meanderthal - Thursday, Apr 4, 13 @ 9:15 pm:

    ‘Just because a candidate wants to focus on a set of issues and avoid another set doesn’t mean he’ll be allowed to. Eventually, he’s gonna have to answer these questions.’
    Unless your last name starts with an “M” and ends with an “n” and has “adiga” in the middle.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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