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The Rauner connection

Thursday, Nov 7, 2013

* Bernie

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner has donated more than $500,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute over the last five years.

The institute, which bills itself as a free-market, liberty-based organization, promotes a range of policies and has writers in an offshoot called the Illinois News Network, which provides stories free of charge to newspapers. That is troubling. […]

I first learned of the Illinois News Network when I covered some events this summer with a new reporter from that organization — Jackson Adams. One event was at the State Fair, when reporters surrounded Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. Adams asked the governor why a 401(k)-style plan wasn’t part of a pension-reform plan. That’s a fair question, but it also is true that the policy institute likes the 401(k) model for public employees. So does Rauner. […]

Charlie Wheeler, director of the Public Affairs Reporting master’s degree program at the University of Illinois Springfield, said he looks at a news-producing offshoot of the policy institute as being part of its agenda. He had seen Reeder’s columns, but not other products of the network.

“Any newspaper that uses it and pretends that it’s real news similar to what they might get from The Associated Press or Reuters or Bloomberg is not fully informing the readers,” Wheeler said.

People give money to groups they support. Since the Illinois Policy Institute supports many of the same things as Rauner, it’s pretty tough to say he’s buying their influence. He’s their natural candidate. They don’t stress social conservatism over there, and neither does Rauner. But Rauner is a very hardcore fiscal conservative who is right in step with their viewpoints.

A conspiracy theorist could speculate that this was a Rauner creation in some ways. I’ve seen no evidence of that, but half a mil sure is a lot of cash.

* Coincidentally, Scott Reeder’s latest column is about right to work, an issue that Rauner supports

GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner supports the concept of allowing individual Illinois counties and municipalities to vote on whether they want to keep the status quo or adopt a local Right-to-Work ordinance.

But the other three Republicans running for governor wouldn’t commit to a position.

State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, and state Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard all said the political reality in Illinois is such that it would be impossible to pass a Right-to-Work law in Illinois.

Such comments show a certain lack of confidence in their political party’s ability to eventually claim a majority in the General Assembly. And it shows a lack of assurance in their own abilities to lead a disparate Legislature.

But there’s value still in asking questions like these, because they help shed light on a politician’s values and opinions. More importantly, they act as guide stones for where a politician may lead in the future.

Where candidates stand on an issue such as Right to Work is important to know – after all, it has the potential to be one of the most important economic issues facing the state.

Answers like the one given by Brady are not helpful. The state Senator from Bloomington says the reality is that the Democrats control the General Assembly and therefore Right-to-Work laws are irrelevant. He told me I was “wasting his breath” to pursue the questioning.

Brady supported right to work in 2010 and it cost him lots of union support. Calling him out on the issue now plays right into Rauner’s hands, although, again, there’s no proof of any quid pro quo here.

* From last week’s Reeder column

A few weeks ago, I asked all of the gubernatorial candidates where they stood on a constitutional amendment being promoted by Republican candidate Bruce Rauner. The measure would limit the terms of state legislators, reduce the number of senators and slightly increase the number of House members.

* Meanwhile, from Illinois Review

If Mr. Rauner points to his donations to Illinois Policy Institute and Heartland Institute as proof of his fiscal conservative views, he may also point to 58 checks amounting to $89,500 written to Republican organizations since January 2013 as proof of his “Republican-ism.”

As the story shows, he’s writing checks to lots of county party organizations, among others.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Raymond - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 1:04 pm:

    As long as we’re back on the topic of Reeder and his role as “journalist in residence” for IPI, I’d be interested in knowing who at IPI has responsibility for editing Reeder’s columns? Does that duty rise to the level of Tillman?

    Similarly, who’s responsible for editing its “news network” content? Again, does Tillman (or one of his lieutenants at the so-called think tank), have editing authority over that content?

  2. - Steve - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 1:04 pm:

    I can’t wait until we get less Bruce Rauner stories. When is the media going to get a comprehensive look at details on his wife’s love for “progressives”.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 1:08 pm:

    If you think “Brady 2010″ got hammered by Unions, wait till PPC Rauner starts the Right to Work county option.

    County option? That will not make Unions not mobilize … locally. Nope.

    Bruce Rauner is Bill Brady without ethical stances or principles(?)

  4. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 1:14 pm:

    The guy writes some powerful checks.

  5. - Juvenal - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 1:20 pm:

    It is simply unethical for a newspaper to run an IPI-generated story without disclosing that Rauner gave the IPI $500,000.

    And there may be no quid pro quo with Reeder, but it is one helluva coincidence that Rauner is the only one talking about right to work and Reeder is the only one writing about it.

    Beyond that, Reeder’s piece is at best naive, and certainly wrong.

    Illinois didnt pass Right to Work when Republicans last held the governors mansion and both chambers.

    And Rauner likes to talk up a storm, but picked a runningmate with close ties to the building trades.

    I doubt Rauner will even be whispering Right to Work after the primary.

  6. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 1:20 pm:

    If I were an enterprising sort, I would look to see who signed some of those checks to Rahm Emanuel and Rich Daley, his “under the bus thrown wife” or PPC Bruce Rauner himself.

    One wonders…

  7. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 1:21 pm:

    Tillmans comments at the end of Bernies story noting Rauner has been a big donor to BGA and that not stopping papers like SJ-R from running stuff created with or by BGA was interesting. Kudos to Bernie for including that nugget in the story.

    Makes me wonder though how frosty that Union League Club event with him and Shaw was.

  8. - Just Observing - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 1:47 pm:

    === It is simply unethical for a newspaper to run an IPI-generated story without disclosing that Rauner gave the IPI $500,000. ===

    No it’s not… its unethical for a newspaper to run an IPI-generated story without disclosure, regardless of who contributes… lots of people contribute to IPI, not just Rauner.

  9. - Makandadawg - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 1:48 pm:

    I have been watching with great suspicion the Illinois Policy Institute and especially their right to work articles. Now you tell Rauner is giving big money to them too. This is dangerous politics for the workers of Illinois.

  10. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 2:06 pm:

    “Illinois News Network, which provides stories free of charge to newspapers. That is troubling.”

    Umm, this is not remotely new. IPI/INN has been doing this for at least two years. Not excusing it as I agree that it’s highly problematic. It’s just not new.

  11. - Demoralized - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 2:11 pm:

    ==When is the media going to get a comprehensive look at details on his wife’s love for “progressives”. ==

    You certainly come up with some odd things that seem to have no point.

  12. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 2:24 pm:

    Let’s be a bit honest here;

    Bruce Rauner is buying…

    …buying credibility PPC has never earned as a Republican..,

    … buying credibility PPC needs to seem like a Republican..,

    … and Payton Prep Clouter Bruce Rauner bought a condo to be a “credible” um, “Chicagoan”, even when his Daughter was denied, so when Rauner Clouted her, they would appear, you guessed it… credible.

    Bruce Rauner lacks integrity and ethics, and is willing to pay ANY price, buy any Condo, donate to any Organization, and spin any “advocating”, teaching all watching that ANYTHING can be bought by PPC, and Rauner will pay the freight. That is what those who lack integrity do if they can, they try.., to buy it.

  13. - OneMan - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 2:52 pm:

    Such comments show a certain lack of confidence in their political party’s ability to eventually claim a majority in the General Assembly. And it shows a lack of assurance in their own abilities to lead a disparate Legislature.

    Does anyone think a GOP majority in both the House and Senate in Illinois is all that is needed to get Right To Work in Illinois?

    I seem to recall (I would have been a kid) that Thompson once said Right To Work would come to Illinois over his dead body and then invited the protesters over to the mansion for beer…

    Also it is kind of nice to see a candidate refer to political reality in Illinois.

  14. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 2:56 pm:

    I agree strongly with Makandadawg’s last sentence. Illinois has had economic recovery in the past with no need for right to work laws. These laws will further harm our workers. Here is link to a recent article that I will share again, about how right to work is failing in Michigan. It includes a chart showing the vast majority of right to work states have incomes less than the national median.

  15. - Chavez-loving Obamist - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 2:59 pm:

    He must be good for the economy. I say we let him run and run and run and run. Just don’t elect him to anything.

  16. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 3:07 pm:

    If Evelyn slips on the stairs going on the “Rauner 1″ Lear Jet, Rauner might have to write another check to “Slip and Sue”, because once Evelyn figures out you “pay”, the only thing missing is opportunity…(snark)

  17. - Perry Noya - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 3:23 pm:

    I am so old that I remember when the Ohio GOP pushed right-to-work in Ohio in 1958 and got creamed. Nationally, the pro-RTW GOP lost so many US House seats that year that they did not recover their numbers until, if memory serves, the Reagan era. So now Rauner believes that RTW will help him in the primary, whereafter he can forget it. How much are his consultants paid?

  18. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 3:30 pm:

    - phocion -,

    When did I become a brand? lol

    You go and check out PPC, and denying a worthy child a chance because his denied daughter couldn’t stomach slumming it at New Trier, and not living in Chicaho to start with… or the tens of thousands of dollars to Rahm Emanuel, or Rich Daley, or the tens of thousands to Ed Rendell and the pension work in Pennsylvania

    Check it ALL out…lol

  19. - phocion - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 3:33 pm:

    OW - I’m aware of what you’re bashing the guy about. I do not, however, share your righteous indignation. I place his ethics far above those of any elected official in Springfield. And I completely respect his life story and his desire to make things better in Illinois.

  20. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 3:39 pm:

    Is it righteous indignation, or sustain for a person willing to try to fool everyone of who he is, what he does, and his role as a government Insider, that Payton Prep Clouter Bruce Rauner seems to forget as PPC blames those who PPC tries to buy to make more money off pensions… as PPC talks about Right to Work.

    Pathetically and Ethically “challenged” and ignoring it, or calling it “political baloney” is disingenuous.

  21. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 3:40 pm:

    “distain” - stupid phone.

  22. - Samurai - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 3:45 pm:

    Can the position of Illinois Governor be purchased? Most recently McKenna and Gidwitz were defeated in their efforts to buy the Governor’s Office. Illinois voters have had a natural dislike for rich dudes who want to but their way to the Office of Governor.

    But, Rauner seems to be a different cat. He might pull it off considering all the local races he is funding and money he is tossing to political organizations. Most of the Brady backers, at least in Lake and McHenry, seem willing to set aside their conservative social views for the man with the dough. Why let your social view be an obstacle to money. I think there is a name for such people.

    Maybe the media will scratch the thin veneer to reveal the real Bruce Rauner. It is unlikely any of the other candidates have the money to expose Rauner for who he was and who he is. I also will state that having met Rauner several times, I do like Rauner the man, but Rauner the candidate is a fake.

  23. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 3:47 pm:

    === …far above those…===

    When those elected officials BUY a condo, to get a denied daughter into a school by only clout, then slam the union of teachers that taught the daughter, who only got in to be taught by those teachers, by Rich Daley’s appointee, and runs as an Outsider ..,

    When that specifically happens, ethically as PPC talks about being about … KIDS… and Education and OPPORTUNITY for kids to get into good schools…

    You let us all know.

  24. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 4:51 pm:

    “You let us all know.”

    Also let us know how ethical it is for Red State Rauner to want to weaken unions at a time of sky-high income inequality, struggling wage earners and historically-low union participation.

  25. - 4 percent - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 5:08 pm:

    With regarding to Rauner’s contributions to local parties, they are laughing all the way to the bank. I’ve spoken to a few friends that have received checks and two things are happening.

    1. They are still not supporting Rauner.
    2. Organizations that received smaller amounts are wondering why they got less and if they can get more.

    It’s manna from Heaven for them…

  26. - Just The Way It Is One - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 5:47 pm:

    That was meant to read above, “throwing his money around…” of course.

  27. - DuPage Dave - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 6:46 pm:

    I always wonder how guys like Rauner become successful in the business world when he oozes insincerity from every pore. Forget about the barn coat and motorcycle photo ops. He looks phony in a tux as well.

    Still, I’m hoping for a Quinn vs Rauner general election purely for the entertainment value.

  28. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 8:07 pm:

    It’s times like these that you long for the sober, conservative, good government politics of Toronto.

  29. - Bill White - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 9:35 pm:

    I wonder whether Bruce Rauner has ever heard of Jesse Unruh.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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