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Dillard vs. Dillard

Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014

* As I’ve already told you, Sen. Kirk Dillard responded to these claims by Bruce Rauner’s campaign…

“Kirk Dillard is the worst type of career politician. He’s double-talking and has more clout baggage than O’Hare during a snowstorm. The fact is Kirk Dillard and the other career politicians repeatedly clouted people into the University of Illinois and never thought twice about it. Voters know he is a hypocrite and will reject him.”

* Dillard’s retort when asked about it by Mary Ann Ahern yesterday…

“The one or two people that I have ever written letters of recommendation to for the University of Illinois are there. I think the ones that I wrot actually were rejected and you can check that out Mary Ann.”


* OK, let’s check it out. From the July 16, 2009 Tribune

University logs obtained by the Tribune show that Dillard’s name was tied to seven students on the clout list since 2005. Three were admitted, but the state senator said his involvement rarely went beyond a formal letter of recommendation and that he never pushed to overturn an admissions decision.


* Back to yesterday, when Dillard was asked if he saw a pattern with Rauner…

“There’s a pattern that began when Mr. Rauner hired Rahm Emanuel when he came out of the wrought iron gates of the White House even though the mayor did not have investment banking experience. He hired Rahm Emanuel and obviously it was to help him garner business in the private sector.”


* Tribune today

But in trying to accuse Rauner of a “pattern” of clout, Dillard erroneously said Rauner “hired Rahm Emanuel when he came out of the wrought iron gates of the White House (as a top adviser to President Bill Clinton) even though the mayor did not have investment banking experience.”

Emanuel sought advice from Rauner, but Chicago’s future mayor went to work for an investment management firm, not a Rauner company. Rauner’s firm did end up doing a major deal which helped Emanuel become wealthy.

Obviously, the much bigger error was the way Dillard downplayed his involvement in the so-called admissions scandal at the U of I.

But if he wants to play in the big time, he’s got to play by big time rules.

So far, the media has been giving him a pass, mainly because it’s Rauner’s turn in the barrel. Dillard’s turn could be coming, however.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 12:34 pm:

    Attacks - keep them simple, keep them “clean” from clutter, and make them accurate, never challenge the Press on absolute facts when you can give them everything directly.

    Responses - come clean, don’t hedge, answer completely, never challenge the Press on facts.

    So easy, but I guess so hard for some to follow…

  2. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 12:37 pm:

    Dillard shouldn’t fudge on letters of recommendation. They’re hardly scandalous, no matter what the Tribbies think.

  3. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 12:38 pm:

    I’m sure Rich will post a link to the Governor’s Commission Report on the University of Illinois admissions scandal. I’m also sure he’ll add the stories from a couple of years ago that tell of Dillard’s leadership on abolishing the Legislative Scholarship Program that was the root of the problem (along with corrupt U of I officials).

  4. - Norseman - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 12:40 pm:

    Dillard’s campaign needs to read this blog more often. Yesterday, I saw better defenses of the U of I recommendations from commenters than that provided by the Dillard campaign. Geez, once again Dillard takes a step forward and two backwards.

  5. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 12:46 pm:

    Is writing a letter of recommendation for someone ‘clouting’ them?

  6. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 12:47 pm:

    How wide is that barrel you mentioned?

  7. - PoolGuy - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 12:48 pm:

    Dillard displaying his mastery of words starting with the letter “P” yesterday

  8. - veritas - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 12:50 pm:

    Rauner may not have technically hired Emanuel, but he was THE reason Rahm became an “Investment Banker” for a specific deal. The problem is the deal itself: it was a subsidiary of SBC, whose former Chairman is Bill Daley. The subsidiary was forced to sell because of a potential conflict in doing business with the city of Chicago, whose Mayor was Richie Daley. Try moving the pieces of that puzzle around - Obama’s COS: Emanuel & Bill Daley. Mayor of Chicago: Richie Daley & Emanauel. Investment Bankers on the deal: Rauner & Emanuel. Owner of the subsidiary: Bill Daley’s SBC & Rauner’s company. Of course that is all a coincidence. Ask any Investment Banker who had to work 100 hours a week for 3 years just to become an Associate - if they were lucky.

  9. - PoolGuy - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 12:52 pm:

    “…shows that Mr. Rauner has a Perpetual Pattern of Pay to Play activity in his Professional, Personal and Political life…” wow :)

  10. - RNUG - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 12:55 pm:


    Only a few are smart enough to know to come clean.

    It was local, but years ago Ossie did one of the best jobs ever on that. When asked about the “scandal” of a mayor calling the fire chief over an open position for his son (already on the fire dept.), Ossie got it right; he responded yeah, I made the call, I didn’t order anything, just asked he be considered, I did what any father would do for his son. End of story; didn’t even last one news cycle.

  11. - veritas - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 12:55 pm:

    In re Letters of Reference vs. clouting: The difference is quite obvious: there was no quid pro quo in writing letters of reference, which virtually all elected officials did. In fact - only 3 of the 7 people he wrote letters for were admitted. The quid pro quo in re Payton Prep is implicit and follows Rauner’s M.O. with the PAC that attacked Schock after a huge donation; the additional funds to invest from Pennsylvania after his contribution to Ed Rendell; and the Pension Funds to invest after retaining Stuart Levine. If it walks like a duck…….

  12. - Whatever - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 12:58 pm:

    Dillard has been such a disappointment during this campaign.

  13. - chad - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 1:22 pm:

    The U formally operated a system within which the Urbana Chancellor knowingly instructed the university’s official lobbyists to meet with interested legislators and others to formally manage their admissions requests. This was a very formal system with written records, and it was broadly known that the U was always willing to talk with political officials about their constituent admissions interests. They reported back to the legislators after meeting with top U officials, which included the urbana Chancellor himself. The process did not include quid pro quo promises, but certainly provided advantages to some students on the bubble, and a few more who were clearly unqualified. Most did not get the admissions actions they requested. Legislators who utilized this system can credibly claim to have engaged in formal constituent advocacy work through official channels. Do I like what happened? Absolutely not. I am very happy it was terminated and further believe it was appropriate that the Urbana Chancellor and U President were fired as a result. Right or wrong, the legislators were responding to a system within which U officials solicited and responded to their admissions requests. The wrongdoers in this matter were clearly on the U side — the trustees and administrators who participated were outlandishly out of line — they knowingly violated internal university statutes that administratively govern their employment activities. they were warned repeatedly by lower-level personnel that the admissions rules were being violated. Legislators? They were doing what they normally do, advocating for their constituents through formal channels. To fudge the tiniest detail here is of no advantage. Brady and Rutherford, if they want to talk at all, should simply stick to whatever facts they have, and know with precision the truth of what they say. Don’t make a non-issue an issue.

    As an aside, the investigatioin showed that the U thought it would receive favorable budgetary and other favor from Springfield as a result of operating their system. In actuality, they received nothing for their trouble. They were just suckers doling out the favors and getting nothing in return. The reality is that the U is a declining institution because it had and continues to run a totally botched lobbying program. Really sad.

  14. - DuPage Rep - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:06 pm:

    ===I’m sure Rich will post a link to the Governor’s Commission Report on the University of Illinois admissions scandal. I’m also sure he’ll add the stories from a couple of years ago that tell of Dillard’s leadership on abolishing the Legislative Scholarship Program that was the root of the problem (along with corrupt U of I officials). ===
    Please Frankie C.! I am sure every candidate could point the finger at Rich Miller when they get bad press, but he is just reporting what your guy said.
    Why don’t you do your job with the campaign and stop telling others how to do theirs’. You are not running against Chris Nybo anymore, so try an be more professional.

  15. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:21 pm:

    Cinci, could you give us a little more on how the GA Scholarship Program was the “root of the problem” at the UI admissions scandal?

  16. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:32 pm:


    Your candidate is a nightmare. I would focus on that instead of complaining about this coverage. How about you get him to pick a message - any message - and stick with it.

  17. - Frustrated Voter - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:12 pm:

    Let’s get the facts straight and read the report. Dillard wrote letters of recommendation - this conversation shouldn’t even be happening. You all are so petty . You try and make any non issue into a story. It’s Unbelievable.

  18. - Chad - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:12 pm:

    The GA scholarship program had nothing directly to do with the U of I admissions scandal.

  19. - walker - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:46 pm:

    Weak attempt at deflection by Rauner.

    Dillard did nothing wrong here with references, and was in fact a leader on killing the GA “scholarship” program, long before many others in the Senate came along.

    One earlier bill that was passed by the House, and was picked up by Dillard as chief sponsor in the Senate, was then taken from him by Leader Radogno, who put a brick on it. The reform came years later.

  20. - Langhorne - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 4:19 pm:

    Cant anybody play this game right?

  21. - Juvenal - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 8:26 am:

    A better response for Dillard:

    “I know I rub Bruce Rauner the wrong way. He thinks government should be for sale to the highest bidder, and he doesn’t like any elected official who is not for sale. He takes vacations with Rahm. Was buddies with Mayor Daley’s administration. Helped fill Mike Madigan’s campaign coffers, and he borrowed his campaign playbook from Rod Blagojevich.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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