* 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.