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Rutherford’s huge internship program

Monday, Jul 14, 2014

* Sun-Times

Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford’s office has offered an expansive college internship program during his tenure, giving more than 100 students tens of thousands of dollars in summer pay — and a plum for their resumes.

But the path to those jobs is often layered in clout, according to a Chicago Sun-Times review of the office’s program.

Documents obtained by the Sun-Times show the treasurer’s office maintained a list of applicants, alongside a notation indicating their referral.

Who made those referrals? Some of the biggest power players in the state, including elected officials, lobbyists, onetime political workers, donors.

* Telling context

But the way that paid internships under Rutherford ramped up quickly raises questions about whether clout played a role in their hiring. In 2011, the office hired 48 interns, in 2012 it hired 51, in 2013 it was 58, and this year the number dropped to 21.

A spokeswoman with the office of the governor said the office has five unpaid interns this summer – who work for college credit. The Illinois Secretary of State’s office does not have an internship program, paid or unpaid. The Comptroller’s office has 14 paid internships this summer.

If you read the whole thing it’s pretty clear Rutherford used the internship program to curry favor with other politicians and enhance his 2014 prospects. Normally, this wouldn’t be a huge problem, but with other allegations of campaign/government mixtures, this could cause him some real trouble.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


27 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 11:37 am:

    If Scotty Fawell has taught us anything;

    Never keep lists.

    @FakeRutherfordDan - if I tweet a picture of me having lunch at my desk at the Capitol, can we just ignore how I have been running my office #ListingWaysToBeSeen


  2. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 11:41 am:

    When the Treasurer tells his office to hire an intern, the office hires that intern.

    50+ of them.


  3. - William j Kelly - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 11:51 am:

    Somebody should tell rauner the primary is over.


  4. - The Captain - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    Two things:

    1) “Rutherford’s interns mainly were assigned to work in the I-Cash property recovery program and were paid $9.50 an hour, his aides say.” I-Cash is the unclaimed property program. All of the expenses for that division, including salaries, are paid for out of the State Pension Fund. That means if they were paid to work on the I-Cash program then during the middle of an historic pension crisis he used the State Pension Fund to pay for all of these interns. That is, um, remarkable. I’m guessing the labor leaders that are suing to overturn these pension reforms on constitutional grounds are going to make some hay on this. If the legal argument is that the situation is so dire that the only option is to set aside the pension clause of the state constitution then it probably weakens the argument if the State Pension Fund is being used as an intern slush fund.

    2) According to the budget book page 206 the office has an authorized headcount of 140 and yet had 58 interns. That is, um, remarkable.


  5. - When I'm in the Thompson Center I eat at Arby's - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 12:15 pm:

    Did Rutherford harbor any fantasies that his political career wasn’t totally dead and buried?


  6. - lake county democrat - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 12:18 pm:

    –giving more than 100 students tens of thousands of dollars in summer pay — and a plum for their resumes.–

    See, *this* is the kind of thing that’s serious. Rich may be right that but-for Rutherford’s other problems this report would be “no big deal” but it should be - it sure as heck is for the kids who need that money/resume plum a heck of a lot more than a Pritzger family member!


  7. - Interested - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 12:31 pm:

    Besides I-Cash, does anyone know what other state salaries, programs and expenditures are paid out of the ‘State Pension Fund’? And *which* of the State’s five ‘State Pension Funds’ are we talking about regarding I-Cash?


  8. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 12:47 pm:

    58 interns? Who drinks that much coffee?


  9. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 12:58 pm:

    The costs associated with the Illinois State Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division, including staff, computers and travel are paid with program funds and not by tax dollars.

    Mary Frances Bragiel
    Director of Communications
    Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford


  10. - The Captain - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 1:26 pm:

    The costs associated with the Illinois State Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division, including staff, computers and travel are paid for by appropriation from the State Pensions Fund. (Source, page 205)


  11. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 1:45 pm:

    ===with program funds===

    If the Treasurer’s office is spending them, they are by definition public dollars regardless of their origin.


  12. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 1:46 pm:

    Also, with respect, when is your office going to release the taxpayer-funded investigative report we were promised?


  13. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 1:54 pm:

    ===Also, with respect, when is your office going to release the taxpayer-funded investigative report we were promised?===

    You know, I thought about this during the weekend, wonder what would happen if one of the three fired, and publicly confirmed by the Office, decided to sue the Ofgice fur the release of the report in conjunction with their termination and the cooperation with the investigation prior to their own investigation and dismissal?


  14. - Tom Joad - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 2:51 pm:

    Good question OW.


  15. - The Prince - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 3:22 pm:

    Anybody who refers to himself as “The Treasurer” in the third person deserves to lose an election. Bye, Dan.


  16. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 4:15 pm:

    For crying out loud. Seriously?

    http://politics.suntimes.com/article/springfield/rutherford-sends-unwelcome-birthday-video-deceased-wife/mon-07142014-321pm


  17. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 4:31 pm:

    What 47 said. What are “program funds?” Does the treasurer have any other funds that don’t belong to the taxpayers?

    Fifty eight paid interns for a sleepy office and a clout list to boot? Not even an effort at subtlety.


  18. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 4:48 pm:

    Regarding the unfortunate birthday greeting, if only he had someone, maybe an intern, who could review that e-mail list and keep it up to date.


  19. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 5:18 pm:

    ===- 47th Ward - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 4:48 pm:

    Regarding the unfortunate birthday greeting, if only he had someone, maybe an intern, who could review that e-mail list and keep it up to date.===

    You win.


  20. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 5:28 pm:

    47th - a keen observation and valid point. Thank you for the chuckle.

    To the post, there may be nothing wrong or improper with soliciting and providing recommendations as so many explained here just a few days ago http://capitolfax.com/2014/07/08/madigan-patronage-report-leaked/ But this certainly seems another case of personal ambition run amok. As someone recently reminded us in comments, “Did you just say ‘no’ to the Treasurer?” remains a favorite catchphrase.


  21. - Anonimouse - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 6:07 pm:

    At least they were hired to be part of the I-cash program. It would have sucked if they were suckered into driving him around the state…


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    regarding unpredicted emotions.


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  26. - Anon - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 3:12 pm:

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  27. - Lawyer Association In Peoria Il - Thursday, Jul 17, 14 @ 2:27 am:

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Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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