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*** UPDATED x2 *** Quinn attacks Rauner over Cellini

Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014

* Bill Cellini attended Bruce Rauner’s Sangamon County Republican event last night

“The first time I heard him tonight,” Cellini said when asked his thoughts about Rauner so far in the governor’s race and whether he was supporting him. “He was very impressive.”

“I’ve been a Republican all my life, and he’s the Republican candidate,” Cellini said of Rauner. […]

When told that Cellini described him as “very impressive,” Rauner sidestepped a question about whether he welcomed an endorsement from Cellini, who sat near the front of the room during one of Rauner’s two speeches.

“I don’t know,” Rauner answered. “I didn’t even know he was here. I don’t really know him. I can’t comment on that.”

* Gov. Quinn’s campaign e-mailed this hyperbolic missive today…

As first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, while in Springfield last night Billionaire Bruce Rauner met up with infamous corrupt insider Bill Cellini, who proceeded to endorse Rauner. Instead of immediately renouncing Cellini, a convicted felon, Rauner told the Chicago Sun-Times he “couldn’t comment on that.”

One of the most powerful insiders in Springfield, King of Clout Bill Cellini was caught in an extortion plot to shake down Oscar-winning producer and investment mogul Thomas Rosenberg for a major campaign contribution. Cellini was released from federal prison last November for his role in the political fundraising scheme.

“Clearly Billionaire Bruce Rauner is afraid to alienate the King of Clout,” said Quinn for Illinois Deputy Press Secretary Izabela Miltko. “Mr. Rauner claims to want to root out corruption and ‘shake up Springfield,’ yet when faced with an endorsement from the King of Shakedowns, mum’s the word.

“Instead of saying no to the King of Clout, Mr. Rauner said he ‘can’t comment on that’ – and that’s the real Bruce Rauner.”

This is not the first time Rauner has partnered with corrupt insiders who have conspired to cheat taxpayers, in order to gain political support. Currently imprisoned Stuart Levine – whom Cellini conspired with in the shake down scandal – was making $25,000 a month on Rauner’s payroll while sitting on the board of the Teachers Retirement System and voting to give Rauner’s investment firm GTCR a $50 million contract to manage it. Rauner failed to disclose the conflict of interest and still hasn’t returned the hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees he collected from the deal.

When he served as state treasurer, Governor Quinn took on Cellini on behalf of Illinois taxpayers regarding the financing of the Abraham Lincoln Hotel.

Rauner didn’t “meet up” with Cellini. C’mon, already.

But Rauner’s refusal to reject the “endorsement” does show his inexperience on the campaign trail. This ain’t the primary, Bruce. Up your game.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Cellini and Kjellander? John Kass’ head might very well explode

Bob Kjellander of Springfield, a former member of the Republican National Committee, said after participating in a small-group discussion with Rauner that the candidate “did an outstanding job. He said Rauner is picking up support with African-American ministers, and there will be “some major Hispanic players in the city of Chicago as well.”

*** UPDATE 2 *** From the Rauner campaign…

Bruce is running against the corrupt, insider ways of doing things in Springfield and obviously renounces Cellini.

While you can’t control who endorses you, you can control who you endorse - and that’s why Pat Quinn is making another ridiculous attack. Pat knew about Rod Blagojevich’s corrupt dealings and vouched for him anyway, calling Blago ‘honest’ and ‘ethical’ and someone who ‘always does the right thing.’

This is the biggest lie yet from Quinnocchio. Quinn should have resigned and helped expose Blagojevich, instead Quinn stood by him.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


54 Comments
  1. - Commonsense in Illinois - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:03 am:

    And so the hyperbole begins…


  2. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:16 am:

    ===This ain’t the primary, Bruce. Up your game.===

    This is not the Primary, indeed. You keep this amateurish side-stepping, both Rauners will get eaten alive.

    This Rauner Campaign reminds me of the line in “Primary Colors” as Billy Bob Thorton’s character sees Larry Hangman speak in front of thousands as an apparent front-runner.

    “He’s nervous. He’s the man now.”

    The “Howard Dean” Rauner, and the amateur way that worked earlier could impact that Commercially-made persona pretty quick.


  3. - anon - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:16 am:

    thats some weak advance work by the Rauner campaign. Somebody should have noticed that Cellini was there, particularly since he was in the front row!!! Once noticed, a strategy should have been developed on how to deal with the situation. Based on Rauner’s flat footnedness, I dont think such a strategy was developed.


  4. - Sir Reel - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:16 am:

    Excuse me but didn’t Governor Squeaky Clean defend a certain former Governor now serving time in Colorado?


  5. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:18 am:

    The thing to do is to say that the name sounds familiar and when the reporter explains who it is, say “That’s nice.”

    That said, nobody cares. People have enough ammo against Rauner other than “A corrupt guy who cozies up to rich people said he liked the rich guy.”


  6. - OneMan - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:18 am:

    I mean come on, it’s one thing to have a convicted felon say nice things about you, that’s bad.

    But having run for election twice with a guy who turns out have been committing felonies while you served and ran with him, that’s different.


  7. - fed up - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:25 am:

    When Quinn was Blagos running mate he called him an honest man,I recall in 2012 Gov. Pat Quinn endorsed U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson over primary challenger Debbie Halvorson, So I dont know how high and mighty pinocchio pat should be.


  8. - PoolGuy - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:27 am:

    so know Rauner has Stu Levine, Cellini and Kjellander baggage? but he is still the outsider that is going to shake up Springfield and rid us of all the corruption.

    my how things never change. those same 3 guys were all over Blago’s reign and long before. not good Bruce.


  9. - Timmeh - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:33 am:

    Anonymous @10:18 was me.


  10. - Ray del Camino - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:34 am:

    “Quinnocchio?” Still? It must do well in focus groups, I guess.

    To me it sounds like an eighth-grade class president race.


  11. - Trader Vic - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:42 am:

    Did Pat forget about this?
    http://www.suntimes.com/9537035-417/felon-cellinis-family-still-profits-off-state.html


  12. - OneMan - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:45 am:

    To me it sounds like an eighth-grade class president race

    well those sort of tactics worked for Rod, remember Judy dancing with George Ryan?


  13. - A. Nonymous - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:48 am:

    Rauner’s entire primary campaign was hyperbolic. To wit, Rauner was closer to Cellini in that meeting than Quinn was throughout Blago’s entire reign of error. Rauner’s comeback in Update 2 above is old news - settled 4 years ago when Governor Brady used it to win 2nd place.

    Smart Quinn move to attack directly at Rauner’s supposed strength - “outsideryishness”.

    Instead, as another commenter pointed out, it’s “Levine, Kjellander and Cellini. Oh my!”

    …and…

    “Billionaire Bruce claims he’s an outsider but that’s just so he can hide the fact that he pals around with corrupt insiders.”


  14. - Amalia - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:48 am:

    it’s the combine, stupid.


  15. - OurMagician - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    “a person who’s honest and one of integrity.” Pat Quinn on Rod Blagojevich when running on the same ticket the 2nd time.


  16. - downstate hack - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    Quinn will be tied directly to and in much more difficult terms with Gov. Blago, than he can ever attached Rauner with Levine or Celini. He ran with Blago and heartily endorsed him for a second term even as the scandals around Blago were quite apparent.


  17. - great advance work - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    Rich’s intro mischaracterizes the event. Advance staff would have had every reason to think that Cellini would be there in the first row to give his blessing because it wasn’t a Rauner event. Rauner was speaking at a “Springfield Republican Foundation” event. That would be the king of clout’s personal political organization that he was Treasurer of as recently as 2010.

    Why would anyone be surprised that Cellini was there when outsider Bruce made a special trip to Springfield to speak to his organization? The massive advance fail was even showing up for the event.

    Former Rauner employee Stu Levine must have put in a good work for Rauner with Cellini. I’m not sure how he thought this was effective outreach though.


  18. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    –Bruce is running against the corrupt, insider ways of doing things in Springfield and obviously renounces Cellini.–

    Obviously, he didn’t, when asked a direct question, as shown on the linked video.

    Cellini and Big Bob K? Were Orville Hodge and Paul Powell in the back row? Len Stratton and Big Bill Thompson in the parking lot?


  19. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:03 am:

    Example number 2,34893493839 of Mitt Rauner thinking on his feet and looking some tied his shoe laces together. Since the Cellini connection had been widely broadcast most expected Mitt would deftly deflect.
    Instead the whimp dropped another ball.


  20. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:04 am:

    Quinn is playing with fire. He was not a tepid supporter of RB, he was a major piece of the re-election effort. Statements on record of him supporting RB, calling him honest. This AFTER it was plain as day that RB was in the crosshairs of the US Attorney. His statements will be put on a loop and played endlessly. Endlessly.

    I ain’t no knee jerk fan of Rauner. This vote is gonna be harder than any in recent memory. Where’s Pat Paulsen when we need him?


  21. - Mason born - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    I’m curious about the Chicago News Market just how big of a deal was the Cellini trial?

    Seems to me Rauner may have not connected the dots as to who Cellini was.I doubt he could have skipped the event, he needs all the help with Sangamon county he can get. His staff should have expected a Cellini question and been ready.


  22. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:08 am:

    That is kind of funny and kind of a stretch. If we’re going to start attacking people for what questionable characters have said about them, well… there are more than a few such folks who are similarly “connected” to Quinn.

    And what was that Quinn said about Blaho being an “honest” leader a few years ago.

    This was a bit of a reach, to put it mildly.


  23. - A guy... - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:12 am:

    Much ado. It was handled properly. “No comment” goes to the adage “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. It wasn’t his party, he didn’t control the invites, he didn’t in the least accept any endorsement. PQ teed it up for him with his re-characterization of what occurred. That does go to Pat’s credibility. Dopey all the way around here. Perhaps he’d had been better off channeling the Speaker and saying “Who?”


  24. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:20 am:

    –Quinn is playing with fire. He was not a tepid supporter of RB, he was a major piece of the re-election effort–

    Was he really? How so?


  25. - Ahoy! - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:43 am:

    –Quinn should have resigned and helped expose Blagojevich, instead Quinn stood by him.–

    It’s a decent point, while saying he should have resigned might be too strong, Quinn did stand by his man.


  26. - A guy... - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:45 am:

    Shouldn’t Roland Burris be weighing in on this? Very much snark.


  27. - PoolGuy - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:47 am:

    I get the Quinn stood by Blago in 2006 thing. but Cellini and Big Bob K endorsed Rauner, not Quinn. and Levine worked for one of Rauner’s companies, not for Quinn. just sayin’.


  28. - Mason born - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:55 am:

    As for Cellini endorsing Rauner, isn’t that kind of non-news. If someone flew to Colorado and asked Blago who he endorsed anyone think it wouldn’t be Quinn.

    A partisan D’bag is going to endorse his parties nominee no matter who it is.


  29. - Chris - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    “Shouldn’t Roland Burris be weighing in on this?”

    Roland is more than happy to add “Governor” to his tombstone, if someone would offer him the job.


  30. - Dave P. - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    What about Liz Gorman and Aaron Delmar in Cook County? Rauner sure as heck fire wants their endorsement according to Sneed.
    I agree. Bad advance work. They shoulda made surr Cellini and KJ were not their and he shoulda made peace and shown up with Dillard.


  31. - PoolGuy - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    point taken Mason. but i would bet Blago would back the lower tax guy or pick no one…


  32. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    Gee, I thought it was 1.7 million Illinois voters who re-elected Blago in 2006. Who knew that Quinn was the mastermind all along?

    Out of those 1.7 million voters, I bet today you couldn’t find 10 who would cop to it.


  33. - Jake From Elwood - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 12:15 pm:

    Quinn is to Blagojevich as Rauner is to Stu Levine.
    This Cellini stuff is overblown. Too aggressive of press release and too defensive of a response.


  34. - A guy... - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 12:21 pm:

    === wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    Gee, I thought it was 1.7 million Illinois voters who re-elected Blago in 2006. Who knew that Quinn was the mastermind all along?

    Out of those 1.7 million voters, I bet today you couldn’t find 10 who would cop to it.====

    We agree on this one. It’s almost laughable to think Quinn did anything more than become the accidental Governor after all that nuttiness. After that he won. That changed things, no accident anymore. This is just a stupid barb in a tit-for-tat discussion over a silly encounter at a political event.


  35. - Cheswick - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 12:25 pm:

    I was a little shocked at how Sangamon County Republicans seem to have welcomed Cellini back into the fold with open arms. Like nothing happened.


  36. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 12:33 pm:

    It certainly did not hurt Blago that his running mate, someone largely affiliated with “good government” efforts for many years, stood by him and vouched for his integrity at the time.

    In fairness, Quinn was in a tough spot. There was not much else he could do, short of resigning or turning on Blago in public.

    That infamous quote will haunt him for a long time, though.


  37. - Mason born - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 12:48 pm:

    Poolguy

    You may be right but that would mean Blago had a few principles. Personally i think he picked the low tax issue to get reelected. Then again the only person he ever seemed to worry about was the guy he saw shaving.


  38. - Chi - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 1:07 pm:

    Cellini has been charged, tried and convicted for his actions. And Rauner still didn’t know how to handle the situation. Quinn never backed Blago once the truth came to light, and contemporary accounts never placed him anywhere near the decision making nexus of the Blago administration.


  39. - Larry the Cable Guy - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 1:31 pm:

    Hey, the old gang’s back together again, save Stu. Let’s raise one for him until he gets out and happier days are here for him too!


  40. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 2:31 pm:

    Man. Why reopen that can of worms. That just cries out for a “And who was around when Blago was Governor” response. Dopey move.


  41. - D.P.Gumby - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 2:46 pm:

    While hyperbolic, it does play to the meme that Rauner is a phony.


  42. - A guy... - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 3:02 pm:

    === Larry the Cable Guy - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 1:31 pm:

    Hey, the old gang’s back together again, save Stu. Let’s raise one for him until he gets out and happier days are here for him too!====
    If this is true, someone better invite Jim Edgar and George Ryan too. Still funny?


  43. - Jeff Trigg - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 3:08 pm:

    It is entirely possible that both Quinn and Rauner are right about each other that neither of them much care about, or will do anything about the rampant corruption and insider deals and politically motivated handouts and patronage jobs and business as usual in Illinois of helping the rich and powerful. Perhaps neither of them deserve of our votes, and we deserve more and better choices.


  44. - Mason born - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 3:25 pm:

    “Perhaps neither of them deserve of our votes, and we deserve more and better choices.”

    Absolutely true, but unfortunately those are the choices we have.


  45. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 3:26 pm:

    “Perhaps neither of them deserve of our votes, and we deserve more and better choices.”
    Amen.


  46. - Anon. - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 4:00 pm:

    ==While hyperbolic, it does play to the meme that Rauner is a phony.==

    And it reinforces the notion that the Governor is a phony. Do I get free refills on my popcorn at this show?


  47. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 4:00 pm:

    Bill was “welcomed back into the fold” because most folks in Sangamon County, R or D, still don’t understand exactly what he was convicted of.
    Even Quinn got it wrong.


  48. - A guy... - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 4:17 pm:

    AA, to be completely fair Bill Cellini might not even be sure what it was that actually “stuck”.


  49. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 6:40 pm:

    a guy, on that we can agree.


  50. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 9:25 pm:

    Two thinks strike me.

    First, the whole “renouncing” thing seems eerily reminiscent of the baptism scene in the original “Godfather”

    And two, somewhere out there floating in the ether is probably a briefing memo on the Sangamon County event that didn’t make it into the reading file, and the last part probably goes something like this:”And oh, Boss. I almost forgot. If Bill Cellini happens to be there, DO NOT p__s all over him. He’s one of the most well thought of guys in the county, by Rs and Ds alike. 17% might not be bottom.”


  51. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:01 pm:

    –First, the whole “renouncing” thing seems eerily reminiscent of the baptism scene in the original “Godfather”–

    Oh my.

    Schnorf, that’s awesome!

    On the order of crazy, geeky, “Godfather” trivia:

    The baptism/whacking montage was a last-minute decision by Francis. The hits were already filmed, but he didn’t know how to edit them together. The solution was the baptism.

    The baby, by the way, was Sofia, a great filmmaker in her own right.

    Now you got me going, Schnorf.

    The “newspaper” montage, after the Solozzo/McCluskey hits, was filmed and edited by Francis’ best friend, George Lucas. The piano player with Willie Cicci was Francis’ old man, Carmine.

    The Michael/Vito scene toward the end — “Senator Corleone, Governor Corleone” — was written on the fly, on the spot, by Robert Towne, the author of the best screenplay of all time, “Chinatown.”

    The death of Vito — with the grandson, with the oranges, among the tomatoes — was Brando, all the way.

    The shooting script had Vito dying off camera.

    Brando insisted that Vito had to be seen to die happy, with a loved one, to justify his gangster life. They were losing light, and set it up and did it in one take, on the fly. Absolutely brilliant.

    That’s enough, now, Schnorf. I’ve been going off on baseball for 48 hours. Get me going on “The Godfather” and I might starve to death.

    Don’t you dare bring up Stan Musial or Bob Gibson.


  52. - Norseman - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:42 pm:

    === “I found out last night he was there,” Rauner said. “I didn’t know he was there. Bill Cellini’s a bad guy. I wish he wasn’t at the room yesterday. I didn’t know who was in the room, and I’m not happy he was there. He’s not a good person.” ===

    I saw the above in Bernie’s column and immediately thought of point 2 raised by Steve (he beat me to expressing it), i.e. Rauner’s crack staff would had prepared him for Cellini’s presence. Reading Rauner’s response to reporters and Quinn’s slam, I have to laugh about the fact that this goof doesn’t seem to know anybody or anything that is going around him. I suppose he didn’t know Bob Kjellander either as he and Bob were chatting a few feet in front of Bill Cellini.

    How can this fraud root out corruption if he can’t recognize a convicted felon just feet from him? The truth is that he won’t. Just like Blago didn’t.


  53. - Late to the Party - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 7:57 am:

    Here, in a nutshell, is one of the biggest problems with our current political climate:
    from the story ==“I’ve been a Republican all my life, and he’s the Republican candidate,” Cellini said of Rauner. ==

    Too many people support a candidate because of his affiliation with ‘Party X’ instead of supporting a candidate because he is the best candidate.


  54. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 8:06 am:

    ===with our current political climate:===

    Oh, c’mon. Partisanship of the sort you speak of has actually declined over the centuries.


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        * Attorney wants use medical marijuana earnings to fund education
        * Michael Carrigan: Illinois can’t afford another year without a raise
        * Esther Cepeda: How to really enjoy the holidays
        * E.J. Dionne: Thank a politician today
        * Our Opinion: Help combat hunger this holiday season
        * Eugene Robinson: On replacement, caution urged
        * George Will: Thanks, or something
        * Quote of the Day: Nov. 27, 2014
        * Illinois attorney general files notice of appeal in pension case
        * Quinn grants clemency to 126 ahead of holiday


        * IYB sneak peek: New shop strikes a chord
        * Illinois Route 66 gets electric charging stations
        * Second act of Black Friday shopping in full swing
        * Pope urges more Muslim opposition to IS in Turkey
        * Austin police: More than 100 rounds fired
        * Ferguson protests move to retail stores
        * Religion calendar, Nov. 28, 2014
        * Rollover on I-55 sends four patients to BroMenn
        * Police searching for woman last seen in Normal
        * The world goes around and around in the Bucky Dome


        * Cheerful shoppers hit the stores but Thursday openings diminish crowds
        * Meet the 10-year-old actress who has her sights set on Broadway
        * Batavia woman repairing the world in several ways
        * Pepole to be thankful for: Cherie Murphy, Elgin
        * Lawlor, Maine expected to retain Lake County leadership posts

        * Congressmen sound alarm over anti-Asian ca...
        * Rep. Lipinski Urges Ways and Means Committ...
        * Rep. Lipinski Urges Ways and Means Committ...
        * Reps. Lipinski and Roskam Lead Effort to S...
        * Lipinski on track with new rail policy pos...
        * Lipinski: New Mixture in Washington May Ge...
        * Lipinski Welcomes Archbishop Cupich, Thank...
        * Next Generation Supercomputing Technologie...
        * Sen. Wicker joins bill supporting Hong Kon...
        * Defeats, Retirements Cost GOP Some Democra...

        * Durbin to chair hearing on civil rights, F......

        * Just say no to new Iran sanctions...
        * Obama, Congress dig in on Iran sanctions...

        * Small Business Saturday is tomorrow!
        * Thorner: Rick Santorum answers Northwestern students' questions
        * Retiring Illinois lawmakers bring home the pension bacon
        * The billionaire pension thief John Arnold puts his money on Rahm.
        * Rauners serve meals to needy on Thanksgiving Day
        * Register for GRI in Peoria by midnight tonight! #ILGRIturns50
        * What can be done to solve important housing issues?
        * You won’t believe what PAAR is driving to do
        * Heartland collects ‘Toys for Tots’ in McHenry County
        * Video: Illinois housing market trends #IARmarketStats


        * Governor Quinn Announces Investment to Help Regional Food Banks Better Serve Those in Need - Governor’s Investment Will Ensure Lower Cost and Higher Efficiency for Services Reaching Nearly 2 Million Illinois Residents
        * Governor Pat Quinn Takes Clemency Action
        * Governor Quinn Statement on Abner Mikva Receiving Nation’s Highest Civilian Honor
        * Department of Insurance Announces Multi-State Settlement with Symetra Life Insurance and Symetra National Life Insurance Company - Illinois will share part of a $1.2 million penalty against Symetra Life regarding Life Insurance policies
        * Avoid Foodborne Illness This Holiday Season




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