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Was Rauner consultant behind anti-Schock ads?

Monday, Jul 28, 2014

* Open Secrets has a story (I’m quoted) which shows some links between Nick Ayers, the former executive director of the Republican Governors Association and Bruce Rauner’s media consultant, and the now infamous out of nowhere advertising attacks on Congressman Aaron Schock while he was mulling a GOP gubernatorial bid. Read the whole thing

Rauner’s campaign denied any responsibility for the [anti-Schock] ads. He went on to win the nomination with the help of Nick Ayers’ media buying firm, Target Enterprises, which was paid a whopping $12.9 million — making it the campaign’s biggest contractor by far. Another $133,000 went to C5 Creative Consulting, which lists Ayers as its owner.

Along the way, Jobs & Progress [the group behind the anti-Schock ads] vanished as mysteriously as it had appeared. […]

Named by TIME as an up-and-comer in Republican ranks, with a successful RGA tenure and big-name presidential campaign (even if it flopped) under his belt, Ayers was someone that a candidate like Bruce Rauner would have good reason to hire. […]

On numerous occasions — once before he worked for either Rauner or Perdue, once while working for Rauner and many times this past spring while working for Perdue — companies that Ayers led were paid by various arms of the same Ohio groups that attacked Schock and Kingston. […]

First, before and at the same time as he worked for Bruce Rauner’s campaign, Nick Ayers worked for Government Integrity Fund, which has the same board president as Jobs & Progress Fund — Columbus lobbyist Tom Norris. Jobs & Progress is the group that attacked Schock, discouraging him from making a run against Rauner.

Norris did not return a call seeking an interview. Rauner’s campaign spokesman, Mike Schrimpf (who formerly worked for Ayers at the RGA) said he did not know of any connection with Jobs & Progress Fund, and said the campaign did not track who else paid its top consultants.

It’s a bit convoluted, and there is no hard proof, but Russ Choma at OS has done a pretty good job of connecting some very big dots.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


19 Comments
  1. - Soccermom - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 3:02 pm:

    Am I alone in hoping Nick Ayers is Bill Ayers’ son? (I know, he’s not…)


  2. - VanillaMan - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 3:13 pm:

    We pretty much expected as much when it was happening. Anyone shedding a tear over Mr. Schock’s decision not to run? Nothing wrong with testing the waters, but nothing wrong with agitating those waters so he would have healthy second doubts about a run.

    The Peoria Frat Kid didn’t feel like risking his safe Peoria seat after seeing a fight for the GOP nomination. Nothing wrong with what Rauner did anymore than it is wrong whenever this kind of p-match occurs.

    OS - please. It isn’t a secret.


  3. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 3:14 pm:

    ===Nothing wrong with what Rauner did===

    Except he insists that he didn’t.


  4. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 3:21 pm:

    Mom, thanks for giving me a good laugh on a day when I needed it. Hope I can reciprocate sometime.


  5. - ZC - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 3:21 pm:

    >> “We’ve never had any contact with Jobs & Progress,” Schrimpf said in an email. “Our campaign does not track who else pays our vendors.”

    The second quote above is irrelevant, and the first is vague enough to mean almost anything. Note it was an email correspondence so it was easy enough for Schrimpf to have ducked a more specific question, were one asked.

    I am Schocked, Schocked. (sorry)


  6. - walker - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 3:33 pm:

    No rookies round Rauner.

    “Insiders” all, in this game.


  7. - Adam Smith - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 3:37 pm:

    Of course, Schock had nothing to do with it when his chief of staff left and started his virulently anti-Rauner PAC.

    Frankly, it’s about time there was a GOP candidate who could match the DPI in bare-knuckle political battle.


  8. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 3:52 pm:

    All non-denial denials from the Rauner folks. As Rich said, nothing wrong with this other than the denials…which increasingly aren’t plausible.


  9. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 3:58 pm:

    ==Of course, Schock had nothing to do with it when his chief of staff left and started his virulently anti-Rauner PAC.
    ==

    This. Both were probably to some extent behind jabs thrown at the other, both deny it, now the one with the glass jaw that got knocked out is supposed to be portrayed as some sort of victim. It’s politics, campaigns of campaigns, put your big boy pants on and move on.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 4:01 pm:

    I’m sure they all adamantly, adamantly deny it…

    …with a smirk and and a wink(?)


  11. - oz - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 4:02 pm:

    Finally take note,,,

    Caesars, the largest owner of casinos in the U.S., has two properties in Illinois, giving regulators there authority over some transactions. The company has struggled to cope with a slowdown in gambling and a debt load of more than $23 billion, the result of a 2008 leveraged buyout led by Apollo Global Management LLC (APO) and TPG Capital.

    The refinancing will increase the interest burden at Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. and result in less investment in its casinos, Levinson said. He also predicted lower tax revenue for the state and possible casino closures.


  12. - Peoria guy - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 4:04 pm:

    Rauner did it secretly to a fellow Republican and lied about it. That is enough for me to dislike Rauner. I know politics are for those with sharp elbows, but be man enough to show your face Bruce.


  13. - ChinaTown - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 4:30 pm:

    Rich, you nailed it. Lotta big dots and there was a lot of smoke at the time, but still nothing provable.

    Coordination of that nature is almost impossible to prove unless the perpetrators are morons. (See: Walker, Scott) And even in the case of emails like in WI, no one seems to care.


  14. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 5:11 pm:

    What’s to stop anyone from doing this in secret? I don’t mean just another candidate, but anyone, like say, a drug cartel or a foreign government?

    Seems easy enough. You pay some frontman mouthpiece to set it up, the secret money rolls in, you dirty someone up with negative ads, then you just blow.


  15. - ZC - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 5:16 pm:

    Give it time, wordslinger, just give it time…

    Can you imagine, if these had been the rules when Blago was running?


  16. - D.P.Gumby - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 5:21 pm:

    Rauner, the integrity candidate….


  17. - in the know - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 5:46 pm:

    interesting that the two candidates to use this tactic, Rauner and Perdue, are of the outsider well to do businessman type while their targets, Schock and Kingston, are from the more traditional political route. This reflects a strategy by the new breed of GOP standard bearer. Wonder if the other wealthy dude turned politician, discussed or used the same approach. Snyder, Scott, et al are very much cut from the same mold, CEO is the ONLY prerequisite, and government service is an albatross.


  18. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 11:40 pm:

    If Open Secrets wants to tell a great story, I want to know who was behind that deal/decision to kill the negative Rauner ads, allegedly because someone in the Quinn camp thought they were better off with Rauner as their opponent than Dillard.

    You know that sinking feeling you have when your team’s manager visits the mound and then decides to leave the pitcher in in the top of the seventh, with two on, no one out and a 2-0 lead?


  19. - vole - Tuesday, Jul 29, 14 @ 6:01 am:

    Pitch forks.


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