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Using a family member to get back at a columnist

Monday, Aug 11, 2014

* Last October, Bernie Schoenburg tried to get some answers from Bruce Rauner about the candidate’s land holdings outside Illinois. After multiple attempts, he didn’t succeed

I asked why he was reluctant to provide specifics.

“There’s no hiding here,” Rauner said. “We’ve got to focus like a laser. … You know what? At the right time, we’ll be talking in detail about all my investments and all my tax returns and all that stuff. Today, it’s focused on jobs, schools, taxes and term limits.”

* After the Tribune reported on Rauner’s Montana/Wyoming property in more detail, Bernie followed up with the campaign

Interestingly, the campaign’s on-the-record response the next day came via email from Steven Yaffe, who happens to be my 19-year-old nephew from New Jersey who has completed his freshman year at the University of Chicago. He said he recently joined Rauner’s communications team as press assistant, and I was the subject of his first on-the-record response.

“Press assistant”? Hardly. Read on

Last month, Yaffe became part of a story about the gubernatorial campaign when he was ousted from the site of a Quinn event by an Illinois State Police trooper assigned to Quinn’s security detail. Yaffe was working as a “tracker,” which is a campaign operative assigned to record actions of the opponent. As seen on a WLS-TV story on July 22, Yaffe’s video shows the trooper telling him to “stay out” and Yaffe’s protestations that it was a public event.

So, Rauner’s campaign apparently promoted a 19-year-old tracker to “press assistant” and then they tell him that his first assignment is responding to his uncle’s inquiry?

What a bunch of jerks.

Not to mention that the kid chose politics over blood. But he’s just a kid. The Rauner campaign, on the other hand, apparently has no shame.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 11:26 am:

    ===Not to mention that the kid chose politics over blood.===

    Ah, to be young and Dopey.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 11:29 am:

    ===Not to mention that the kid chose politics over blood.===

    The 19 year old man…man… is truly a child in the game of politics;

    Your Uncle will bring you soup if you’re sick, Rauner and his crew will bring you Tom Hagen choices against the people who care about you.

  3. - Just Observing - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 11:30 am:

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say he chose politics over blood. It’s not as if he stuck a knife in Uncle Bernie’s back and walked away. The kid is free to give his spin to Uncle Bernie, and Uncle Bernie can interpret the information as if he would with any other campaign staffer. Clearly the Rauner campaign thought they were being clever using the nephew, but overall its just a learning opportunity for young Steven.

  4. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 11:33 am:

    And remember this guy is the “reformer” and can never be found close to the scene of his biz scams. Gotta wonder why some cannot hire a free lancer to wander around and get some pixs of Flip/Mitt’s spreads, maybe know on neighbors doors..just too busy we guess. Good news that Flip has probably peaked

  5. - William j Kelly - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 11:36 am:

    According to a new rauner poll Yaffe is more respected than Pierre Salinger.

  6. - Wally - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 11:39 am:

    Bernie’s kid worked on the Obama campaign and his nephew chooses to work on the side of the R’s. Rauner continues to “mess” with Bernie. ‘Ol Bernie needs to chase down some dem info and write about it, plenty out there.

  7. - A guy... - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 11:40 am:

    Remind me again how this young man became “part” of the story. Might be a little ’cause and effect’ here. Hard to give a 19 year old a lot of responsibility, but hey, idiots don’t get into the University of Chicago. Let’s see how it plays out. Bernie should have sent better gift cards in those birthday cards over the years. May not be the favorite uncle.

  8. - Percival - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 11:44 am:

    It is not the Rauner staff alone. There is a vein of amorality in the GOP establishment (and their staffers) in Illinois. Normally, it is hidden behind cloaks of social conservatism and family values. When it surfaces, it’s not pretty.

  9. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 11:44 am:

    Does that mean he’s working for Lance Trover?

  10. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 11:50 am:

    “Hey kid, want to help us give your uncle the finger with a non answer? We’ll give you a promotion!”


  11. - OneMan - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 11:53 am:


  12. - Downstate GOP Faithless - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    I thought it odd when reading it this weekend too. I am willing to look the other way, but knowing Trover for as long as I have, he is better than this stunt.

  13. - Dirty Red - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 11:57 am:

    Percival, are you making a baseless point or just testing lines for the next DGA ad?

    To the post - This could make for an interesting reception for Rauner by the Springfield press corps on Thursday.

  14. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    You know what this is evidence of? That Bruce and his boys can focus like a laser on their operation and who is in it, no matter how trivial or petty. That doesn’t bode well for Mr. No Responsibility for every firm GTCR owned where something was fraudulent or unethical. If they can get in the weeds like this, what is Bruce hiding about all the fraud squads he created and operated?

  15. - William j Kelly - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 12:02 pm:

    Newton minnow appears in new rauner commercial praising Yaffe and denouncing Salinger as a corrupt bumbler.

  16. - warhed - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    Th whining increases in direct proportion to Rauners lead in polls. I love it!!

  17. - So.... - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 12:04 pm:

    ==Does that mean he’s working for Lance Trover?==

    That’s Edgar Fellow Lance Trover

  18. - Wally - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 12:04 pm:

    Maybe, just maybe, this story isn’t very relevant when you read the story just above this one.

  19. - too obvious - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 12:08 pm:

    “The Rauner campaign, on the other hand, apparently has no shame.”

    Kudos to you Rich for speaking truth to power.

  20. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 12:09 pm:

    =That’s Edgar Fellow Lance Trover =


  21. - 47th Ward - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 12:11 pm:

    Pick a fight with Bernie Schoenburg? Great idea!

    And somebody is going to get a sore back from stooping so low. Stay classy Raunerbots!

  22. - SAP - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 12:12 pm:

    The problem when you focus like a laser on just the stuff that you want to work on is that your other duties suffer. Rauner isn’t running for Governor of jobs, schools, taxes, and term limits. He is running for Governor of the State of Illinois. He isn’t allowed to ignore the stuff he just doesn’t feel like working on.

  23. - Percival - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 12:16 pm:

    Dirty Red - just a voice of experience, unfortunately. I’ve dealt with it many times.

  24. - Mighty M. Mouse - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 12:16 pm:

    ===The Rauner campaign, on the other hand, apparently has no shame.===

    You noticed. I think you can safely take the “apparently” out of that sentence.

  25. - Jake From Elwood - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 12:18 pm:

    Is this a future headline?
    “Rauner campaign announces hire of _______ Miller to handle all inquiries to and from all Springfield-based media subscriber services and blogs.”

  26. - Anonymoiis - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    I guess in missing what the catalyst for outrage* is here.

  27. - wordslinger - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 12:22 pm:

    This is a first. Rauner actually knows something about someone who works for him.

    I’m trying to think of a good reason as to why you’d manufacture this obvious, uncomfortable conflict. I don’t think there is one. It’s just nasty.

  28. - Cheswick - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 12:23 pm:

    The Rauner campaign’s hostility towards Bernie is, well, open and notorious comes to mind.

  29. - Shark Sandwich - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 12:24 pm:

    At the risk of being called “willfully ignorant”, I don’t see the ‘revenge’ angle here. Can someone explain how the nephew’s connection to Bernie S. ‘Gets back at’ Bernie for asking a question? Seems like it is more of a slimy endearment tactic than a ‘that will show him’ moment. Am I reading more into the headline than what was intended?

  30. - Cheswick - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 12:32 pm:

    @Shark Sandwich: It’s not a question. It’s THE question. Bernie was the first to ask Rauner directly about his daughter’s entrance into Peyton Prep. Rauner lied. Bernie caught him on it. And they’ve begrudgingly (if that) gave Bernie the time of day since. (somebody correct me if I’m wrong.)

  31. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 12:36 pm:


    Bruce Rauner…

    ===“I want to get to know every legislator on a first name basis. I want to get to know them, their families, their hopes, their dreams, their fears, their weaknesses, their vulnerabilities. I want to get to know them well.”===

    Guess that goes for the Press too?

    “..,I want to get to know them, their families, their hopes, their dreams, their fears, their weaknesses, their vulnerabilities. I want to get to know them well.”

    Tom. Hagen.


  32. - Norseman - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 12:44 pm:

    This continues to show that this crew is not ready for prime time. If Raunervich manages to squeak by Willy, Bernie (and Rich) will have a lot of juicy stories to write about goofs made by his administration. Of course, Raunervich will forget who’s working for him.

  33. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 12:59 pm:

    = If Raunervich manages to squeak by Willy, Bernie (and Rich) will have a lot of juicy stories to write about goofs made by his administration.=

    You mean these types of campaign skills, behaviors and “motivations” are supposed to translate well into positions for our next generation of “Great Administrators?” I’ve often wondered about that.

  34. - Ginhouse Tommy - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 1:08 pm:

    I have made my opinion clear on this matter before so I will cool it, but this type hiring and back door cheap politics is classless. I’m no fan of Bernie but this was a cheap shot. It also reflects poorly on the man at the top because he is the one who appointed all these people who do the hiring. I know trackers are necessary, but like Rich said, this was done without conscience or shame. It makes you wonder if Mr. Rauner does win, who is he going to appoint to all of the Agencies of the State considering this recent lack of judgement or class.

  35. - Nicole - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 1:22 pm:

    Bernie is complaining about rich people while his nephew goes to U of C. That is pretty funny.

  36. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 1:24 pm:

    ===Bernie is complaining about rich people while his nephew goes to U of C. That is pretty funny.===

    “- Nicole - is assuming ‘only’ rich people go to U of C. That is pretty funny. ”


  37. - William j Kelly - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 1:31 pm:

    In all seriousness this really shows Rauner’s amateurism to have a tracker overshadow his campaigns message. At this rate Rauner probably couldn’t even get elected comptroller!

  38. - Nicole - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 1:35 pm:

    Right. It may be that part of the nephews tuition is covered by financial aid that is funded by an endowment established and bankrolled by…rich people.

  39. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 1:48 pm:

    - Nicole -


    Where the man goes to school is not relevant.

    Turning on blood for cash. Dopey.

  40. - Nicole - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 1:54 pm:

    Yes. I am bitter. The six winters I spent in Palo Alto were awful.

  41. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 1:56 pm:

    - Nicole -,

    So you must be rich? lol

  42. - walker - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 2:52 pm:

    Could it be the young man decided to show some independence from his kin?

    Lighten up. Campaign staff can focus on stupid trivia and stunts, just to keep the chuckles flowing. The longer campaigns last, the more juvenile foolishness creeps in. No need to notice it much.

  43. - A guy... - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 3:03 pm:

    “Where the man goes to school is not relevant.”

    Yeah, tell that to the admissions office at U of C, or….any college in America. Here’s a stereotype that proves out pretty well Willie; Most of the kids at U of C are very intelligent kids. Most of them have access somewhere to a boatload of cash. Usually home.

  44. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 3:08 pm:

    ===Here’s a stereotype that proves out pretty well Willie; Most of the kids at U of C are very intelligent kids. Most of them have access somewhere to a boatload of cash. Usually home.===

    I am sure it works that way at Dartmouth too then, you know with the Rauner Library, Rauner Dormitory, and the Daughter with the father paying $250K after Clouting her into a high school she didn’t qualify to be in…

    …”most”?…Money buys anything …except honesty and integrity, ethics and morals…

    Right? Exactly right.

  45. - Jaded - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 3:25 pm:

    “Politics over blood?”

    I believe that Bernie’s wife’s maiden name is Yaffe, so Steven would be her blood relation and not Bernie’s.

  46. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 3:32 pm:

    Oh - Befuddled -,

    I guess snark befuddles you.

    Your critique on my style is a bit simplistic and seen through the lens of scorn and distain. I guess I am under your skin(?)

    This ain’t the kiddie pool

  47. - SAP - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 3:35 pm:

    Bernie doesn’t complain about Rauner being wealthy–that is Pat Quinn’s job. Bernie complains about Rauner’s refusal to answer Bernie’s questions truthfully (or at all).

  48. - Budget Watcher - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 3:55 pm:

    Perhaps the Rauner folks assigned his nephew to respond in hopes of lessening the tension between Bernie and the candidate.

  49. - A guy... - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 4:12 pm:

    “This ain’t the kiddie pool”

    But some days is does start at 0 depth. lol.

  50. - 1776 - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 5:13 pm:

    With all due respect, the kid is a student at the University of Chicago so he’s got to be bright. Maybe they’ve started giving more responsibility and thought he’d have an easier time with his uncle before being fed to the sharks. I’ve seen lots of interns talk to the media albeit maybe not at the gubernatorial level.

  51. - Amalia - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 5:44 pm:

    the kid is obviously a big wet puppy who will do whatever. He’s young. hope he will learn to step aside if there is a personal conflict. but the staffers who used him, they are world class jerks.

  52. - Oh, please.... - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 5:46 pm:

    Of course, these people are callous and have no shame…they think they can manipulate everyone - not just the voters. Sad, really. Our state deserves so much better.

  53. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 6:10 pm:

    I agree 100 percent with you Rich. But on the other hand, Team Quinn had to pucker up a bit when they found out that Bernie’s nephew was the kid who got the not-so-nice heave-ho from Trooper Hothead.

  54. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 10:59 pm:

    Ginnhouse Tommy - “but like Rich said, this was done without conscience or shame” lol

    We are talking about the same state here right Tommy?

    I think sometimes you just gotta give someone the middle finger. Great move in my opinion.

  55. - steve schnorf - Monday, Aug 11, 14 @ 11:05 pm:

    O,p-actually our state gets just about exactly what it wants and deserves in gubernatorial elections. Remember, we vote ‘em in: they don’t seize powers in coups. When we get good ones we deserve it, and we can’t duck out when we elect bad ones. For example, we could have had either Jim Ryan or JBT instead of Rod, but we, not some sinister hidden force, decided we didn’t want them

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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