* 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.