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Rauner belatedly moves to distance self from Cellini

Thursday, Apr 10, 2014

* Bruce Rauner talked to Bernie about Bill Cellini’s presence at a Republican event this week

“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 contacted Cellini to let him know what Rauner said.

“I’m sorry he would feel that way since he has never met me and I’ve never met him,” Cellini said. “I made no effort to talk to him; he made no effort to talk to me. … Keep in mind that this dinner was not a Rauner event. I attended with the full knowledge that this was an appreciation dinner to long-time foundation members. … I was a founder and an officer of the foundation for 40 to 45 years.”

* Well, yeah, now that he’s been bashed for awkwardly sidestepping a question about Cellini’s intent to vote for him, we finally get an answer out of the guy. As several commenters noted yesterday, he should’ve been prepared to deal with that question. He obviously wasn’t.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


23 Comments
  1. - Mason born - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 11:42 am:

    Something tells me yesterday was rightly uncomfortable for Rauners Staff.


  2. - A guy... - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 11:50 am:

    His “no comment” in the first place was sufficient. That being said, staff work should have been better, no doubt.


  3. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    You can not control who “likes” you in public. You can control how you react to them.

    Quinn’s reaction was ridiculous, but not as ridiculous as walking in the door and failing to see this situation coming well in advance.


  4. - wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 11:55 am:

    Geez, kind of piling on the old guy, don’t you think, Bruce? How about “I don’t solicit or accept his support” and call it a day?

    For a long time, Cellini was in the same line of work you were — investing public pension funds.

    Cellini did his time on the Mickey Mouse charge the federales got him on — based almost solely on the testimony of your former $300K a year employee, Stu Levine.

    Remember Stu, the guy you didn’t know worked for you when you were pitching him TRS business when he was on the board?


  5. - Almost The Weekend - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    Not sticking up for Rauner’s staff, but I’m assuming majority of them are in their 20s, they would have no idea who this guy is. On the other hand, why are they not asking for a list of RSVPs beforehand especially since he is speaking and media will be there.

    Rauner has a lot of maturing as a candidate to do, with not a lot of room for error. The primary is over no more free passes from the media or your opponents.


  6. - CircularFiringSquad - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 12:05 pm:

    Mitt”LeadFeet”Rauner really can bungle in a way that makes this a three or four day story
    Thanks Mitt
    was this event held at the 7,000 seat convention or a small dinning room at a private members only club?


  7. - wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 12:15 pm:

    Notice in the SJ-R link that Bruce is enjoying a cocktail with Big Bob K.

    Like Stu and Cellini, I’m sure Bruce doesn’t know him, either.

    Perhaps he knows him as “Individual K” from the Blago indictment. Lon Monk had some interesting things to say at trial about how Bear Stearns landed that $10 billion pension bond.

    Just shaking up, Springfield, I guess.


  8. - William j Kelly - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    I wonder how belatedly it will take for rauner to distance himself from wacky jack roeser?


  9. - Just Observing - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    Wow, this story is a whole lotta nothing.


  10. - jimbo26 - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 12:24 pm:

    What does Bruce have to say about Bob?
    Robert Kjellander Springfield Consulting Group
    SJ-R.COM - $10 million for placement fees
    www.sj-r.com, 18 Aug 2005 [cached]
    Including $2.8 million to Kjellander, TRS says

    The list includes $2.8 million paid by the Carlyle Group to Robert Kjellander, owner of Springfield Consulting Group and the newly appointed treasurer of the national Republican Party.

    Using consultants to get business with the fund is legal, and neither the Carlyle Group, Kjellander nor his Springfield Consulting Group has been accused of wrongdoing.Kjellander declined to comment Tuesday.

    Federal authorities reportedly have subpoenaed TRS records concerning the placement fees paid to Kjellander, along with other pension investment documents.
    Two weeks ago, three people were indicted in connection with an ongoing federal investigation of corruption involving the fund.


  11. - Anon - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 12:29 pm:

    Yet another example that Bruce Rauner has no core. He will do or say anything to get elected. And he will spend any amount of money. Illinoisans should be terrified of this man.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 12:34 pm:

    Here is what I have picked up on with both Rauners and Rauner’s Crew;

    It’s extremes in language.

    There is black and white, right and wrong, us and them, it boils down to rarely finding common ground, but how to make the point extreme.

    Corrupt, Bribes, “adamantly, adamantly”, bad, “them”…

    Rauner could have taken Cellini being there, “I didn’t invite him”, but these bashing remarks, well after the event is done and over, goes to the speaking in the extreme, without realty standing for anything.

    As for Staff Advance, things have look amateurish fur quite sometime, and good Staff to keep the Principle out if harms way is something you should take extremely serious. The Rauner Senior Staff, while counting all the money they made on TV buys need to focus on the Ground, the Ground Game, and understanding that having the Principle look like an Amateur in the real world and press, is not offset totally by Ads on the TV.

    BTW, how is Evelyn? She on the Jason Plummer Border County Tour?


  13. - PoolGuy - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 12:41 pm:

    I think the story has merit given that people like Levine, Cellini and Bob K have been involved in funny business, or involved with 1-2 Gov’s who have gone to prison.

    Rauner, at a minimum, should acknowledge and properly respond when asked questions. and for the moment it appears he has.

    but he had Levine on his payroll, who had ties with Cellini, who went to prison for ties with Blago who is also in prison. that is bothersome when he presents himself as an outsider and that he is free of corruption himself.

    Bruce was standing in a room with Cellini and to a lesser extent talking to Bob K.

    nothing funny going on, but there is still the perception that guys like that are still around, in some form or another, after all that has happened in Illinois politics the past 10-15 years, and in the same room with a guy who is now running for Governor. it has a certain patina to it.


  14. - Jeff Trigg - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 12:53 pm:

    Did Quinn say anything about Madigan’s financial and campaign support for Derrick Smith during the primary? Even beyond Blago, it would seem Quinn has a major double standard here that an honest, non-partisan media should have a field day with.


  15. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 12:57 pm:

    Um, the picture of Rauner and Bob K in the SJR ….. I suggest CombOver Bob do a full wrap around and cover his chin..?…throat..? It’s like a bullfrog in full croak.


  16. - Bogart - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 1:44 pm:

    Over the top reaction. Lost a lot of respect for Rauner. Cellini is a good person that did a bad thing. Just reinforces Rauner image problem that he is heartless. So many better ways to distance yourself.


  17. - Louqacious - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 1:53 pm:

    Note to Rauner staff:
    1. When Liz Doody Gorman shows up to one of your events with Fast Eddie Vrydolyak, keep them both away from the press.
    2. When Aaron Del Mar shows up anywhere, keep him away from the press too.


  18. - Sangamon GOP - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 3:02 pm:

    Rauner was almost nonexistent in Sangamon county during the primary. And that was probably a smart move. But after endorsing Dillard for a second time, and carrying Dillard overwhelmingly, this event offered the Sangamon GOP a chance to create a relationship with Rauner. They blew it, big time. I am just stunned that they put a convicted felon in a room with open press…along with the GOP nominee. Horrible press for Rauner state wide. Ridiculous photos of felons and unindicted co conspirators with the nominee. Poisoned relationship between the local party and Rauner. Nice days work for Chairman Van Meter and his organization. What a disaster.


  19. - olddog - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 3:17 pm:

    Whatever else you can say about Cellini, he did a lot for the the Sangamon County Republican Party and served it loyally over the years. Rauner’s failure to find s nuanced way of acknowledging that side of the man shows a distinct lack of class on Rauner’s part. It’s amateurish, and it suggests that $18 moral compass of his isn’t working too well.


  20. - Louis Howe - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 3:26 pm:

    @OldDog….And what exactly did Cellini do “for the Samgamon County Republican Party” that wasn’t at the expense of good government and Illinois taxpayers?


  21. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 5:20 pm:

    Louis, he raised a ton of money, legally, and helped many GOP officeholders get a start, none of whom have ever been accused of more than a parking ticket.
    Since you seem to.know a lot about everything, give us an example of what you’re criticizing so.we can talk about it.

    To the Post, I don’t know what infuriates me more.about Rauner-The Sgt. Schultz act he pulls when he doesn’t want to answer a question, or the holier-than-thou attitude he puts on about politicians when he has obviously been playing in the sandbox for years. Ick.


  22. - Larry Mullholland - Friday, Apr 11, 14 @ 7:23 am:

    I know Bill Cellini and know he is indeed a good man. He company raised more investment revenue for TRS than Any other company has. He served his time and his debt to society based on charges that many find questionable. Rauner response is shameful.

    Rauner Clearly not ready for prime time. Campaign 101 would indicate any question about Cellini requires an immediate redirect to the corrupt Quinn Blagoyevich campaign and Quinn’s support for Blagoyavich through all the investigations. Quinn said he wanted to fire over 700 Blagoyavich appointees and never did. How many of Blagoyavich/Quinn appointees are now accused of fraud?


  23. - chad - Friday, Apr 11, 14 @ 10:49 am:

    Cellini and Kjellander are not the kind, grandfatherly, altruistic people some commentators seem to make them out as. The Sangamon GOP should get with it and assure that the actual operation and image they project locally and statewide is a group of people who have gone beyond beyond the ethical quicksand these individuals directly organized over a multi-decade period. Instead, the presence (and apparent rehabilitation)of these guys makes it look like the Sangamon countiers are looking to restore themselves to the “good old days”.


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