* Labor unions funding a new campaign committee, Illinois Freedom PAC, have unveiled their first TV ad. Subscribers know more about the buy’s cost and reach and flight length, but this is basically a statewide buy and backed by big bucks. Rate it…
Bruce Rauner says he’d shake up Springfield.
News reports tie Rauner to Stu Levine. Remember him? He’s the Blagojevich crony now in prison.
Levin testified that a company financed by Rauner’s firm gave him $1 million to get state contracts by “whatever means,” including payoffs.
At the same time, Levine voted to help Rauner’s firm get $50 million in state pension funds.
Trust Bruce Rauner to shake up Springfield? He’s tied to people who shook it down.
* The new committee describes itself on its website thusly…
Illinois Freedom is dedicated to educating Illinois families about the important issues at stake in this election.
* The accompanying press release…
Illinois Freedom PAC launched a new television ad today holding gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner accountable for his insider ties to Stuart Levine, a Blagojevich crony now in prison. The ad and the facts can be viewed at www.IllinoisFreedom.com.
“Bruce Rauner says he is an outsider who can shake up Springfield, but nothing could be further from the truth,” says Michael Murray, spokesman for Illinois Freedom. “A company co-owned by Rauner’s firm paid Blagojevich crony Stuart Levine $25,000 a month at the same time that Levine, who sat on the Illinois Teacher Retirement System board, voted to give Rauner’s firm tens of millions of dollars in state pension funds. Bruce Rauner isn’t who he says he is. As a businessman he made a fortune using his Springfield ties; just think what he’d do as governor.”
Representing hundreds of thousands of working families in Illinois, Illinois Freedom is dedicated to educating Illinois voters about the important issues at stake in this election. The ad is supported by an initial weeklong buy worth more than $1 million in the Chicago, Champaign, Peoria, and Rockford media markets as well as online.
Check the facts:
• In 1981, Bruce Rauner helped found the private equity firm GTCR. Rauner worked at GTCR for more than 30 years before retiring as the firm’s chairman in 2012 as he prepared to run for governor. [Chicago Tribune, 10.19.12[articles.chicagotribune.com]]
• Rauner’s firm GTCR had an ownership stake in a company called CompBenefits Corp., that retained Stuart Levine who has been called a “notorious political fixer, federal felon and corrupt Springfield insider who helped bring down Rod Blagojevich.” [Crain’s, 3.11.13[chicagobusiness.com]]
• According to Levine, the company paid him $25,000 per month to get city and state contracts by whatever means necessary, including payoffs. Levine even admitted to paying a bribe to get a $15 million city contract for the company. [Crain’s, 3.11.13[chicagobusiness.com] & Sun-Times, 8.25.05[blogs.suntimes.com]]
• At the same time Levine was being paid by the company that Rauner’s firm partially owned, he voted to award Rauner’s firm $50 million from the state teachers pension fund. [Sun-Times, 1.14.14][parkridge.suntimes.com]
• In January 2014, Greg Hinz, a columnist for Crain’s wrote, “I’d like to report that Mr. Rauner and his campaign have forthrightly answered the questions [about his relationship with Stuart Levine]. But I still can’t… How can Mr. Rauner be trusted to clean up corrupt Springfield when he won’t fully explain how and why Mr. Levine made $25,000 a month trying to get government business for a company owned in part by Mr. Rauner?” [Crain’s. 1.15.14[chicagobusiness.com]]
I’ll post the Rauner campaign’s response as soon as I get it. Check back soon.
…Adding… Here’s the Rauner campaign’s response…
Fact Check: New Attack Ad Gets It Wrong
- - Chicago Tribune Analysis Finds No Real Link Between Rauner, Levine - -
Supporters of Pat Quinn launched advertisements today in attempt to hijack the Republican primary and defeat Bruce Rauner. The ads are based on a de-bunked theory that tries to connect Bruce to Stuart Levine.
“This ad is irresponsible and shortchanges the truth in a desperate attempt to smear Bruce Rauner,” said Chip Englander, campaign manager for Bruce Rauner. “Pat Quinn’s special interest allies will say anything to try to stop Bruce, even peddling allegations that have been debunked by the media and they know aren’t true.”
“[A] closer look at the available details suggests any such connection is tenuous at best.” – Chicago Tribune, 1/31/14
“[R]ecords cast doubt on any strong link between GOP candidate, convicted power broker.” – Chicago Tribune, 1/31/14
Bruce Rauner never hired Stuart Levine
Records show Rauner’s firm, GTCR Golder Rauner, took its ownership stake in CompDent in 1999 — three years after CompDent’s arrangement with Levine was inked.” - Chicago Tribune, 1/31/14
2003 Vote to Invest in GTCR was Unanimous
“Roll call resulted in affirmative voice votes from Trustees Bruner, Cleveland, Glennon, Klickna, Leggett, Levine, O’Neill, Phalen, Schmidt, and Schiller. Motion CARRIED.” (Illinois Teacher Retirement System, “Board of Trustee Minutes,”http://trs.illinois.gov/subsections/trustees/2003minutes/5_23_03.pdf, 5/23/03)
TRS Investments in GTCR Have Performed Exceptionally Well
Average rate of return by GTCR funds invested in by TRS is 25%.
o Fund VII: 26%
o Fund VIII: 24%
(Lynne Marek, www.chicagobusiness.com, 4/8/13)
Attack Fueled by Pat Quinn’s Special Interest Allies With Links to Levine
2003 TRS Motion to Invest Was Made by Cinda Klickna, President of the Illinois Education Association (IEA)
“On a motion by Cinda Klickna, seconded by Sharon Leggett, it was resolved: To allocate $50 million in GTCR Fund VIII, L.P., subject to satisfactory completion of contract and fee negotiations. Source of funds shall be the TRS Cash Flow account. - Illinois Teacher Retirement System, “Board of Trustee Minutes,” http://trs.illinois.gov/subsections/trustees/2003minutes/5_23_03.pdf, 5/23/03
IEA Directly Linked to “Illinois Freedom PAC”
Jean Luft is listed as chairman and treasurer of the “Illinois Freedom PAC.” – Illinois State Board of Elections, Accessed 2/10/14
Jean Luft is also President of the District 65 Educators’ Council, an affiliate of the Illinois Education Association. – District 65 Educators’ Council Website, Accessed 2/10/14
*** UPDATE *** The response to Rauner’s response…
Like I said before, you can’t trust Bruce Rauner. Levine said he was paid to secure contracts by whatever means necessary and Rauner wants us to believe that Levine changing his vote to give Rauner’s company $50 mil was just a coincidence?
Mr. Rauner just can’t be trusted. He says he’s an outsider but he’s tied to corrupt insiders like Levine. He gushed about how involved he was with ALL his companies but now pretends he knew nothing about one of the highest paid employees of one of those companies. He can’t have it both ways — that’s an insult to the intelligence of Illinois voters.
JUNE 17, 1999: GTCR And TA Funds Completed Its LBO Of CompDent. “CompDent Corporation (Nasdaq: CPDN), a leader in providing total dental benefits, announced today that it has completed its merger with the newly formed company, TAGTCR Acquisition, Inc., which was organized at the direction of Golder, Thoma, Cressey, Rauner, Inc. (”GTCR”) and TA Associates, Inc. (”TA”). Under the terms of the merger, CompDent was recapitalized and each outstanding share of CompDent’s common stock, other than certain shares held by management and other investors, was converted into the right to receive $15.00 in cash, and the existing funded indebtedness of CompDent was refinanced. The merger became effective June 17, 1999.” [CompDent Press Release, 6/18/99]
· AUGUST 9, 1999: Rauner: “We Spend A Lot Of Time Living With Our Companies On A Week-To-Week Basis, Understanding What’s Going On, And Being In The Flow Of Information, So We Can Be Helpful And Knowledgeable About The Operation.” Rauner said in an interview with The Wall Street Transcript, “We spend a lot of time living with our companies on a week-to-week basis, understanding what’s going on, and being in the flow of information, so we can be helpful and knowledgeable about the operation.” [Rauner Interview, The Wall Street Transcript, 8/9/99]
- Posted by Rich Miller
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