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*** UPDATED x1 *** Question of the day

Friday, Aug 28, 2015

* Yesterday’s story about Mrs. Rauner’s group blasting away at Gov. Rauner’s child care cuts sparked a Mary Mitchell column

But don’t think this is a real Rauner vs. Rauner showdown.

As president of the Ounce of Prevention Fund, part of Diana Rauner’s job is to keep the organization focused on its mission of supporting early learning programs for at-risk children.

Right now, that mission is being threatened by her husband’s budget ax, but you don’t see Diana Rauner out front on this issue.

Instead, the Ounce of Prevention Fund distributed the unsigned “Action Alert” by email to the organization’s database.

Diana “Rauner signs off on all of our advocacy efforts,” said Megan Meyer, a spokeswoman for the organization.

“I can’t speak to whether she saw this particular alert. The Ounce statement has not been authored under Diana’s name, but she is aware of and reviews all of our statements,” Meyer said.

That makes the situation even more ludicrous.

Frankly, I would have expected Diana Rauner to have greater sway over her husband when it comes to this issue. […]

During Gov. Rauner’s campaign, Diana Rauner argued that her role at the Ounce of Prevention Fund was not a conflict of interest, even though the organization gets a lot of its funding from government grants.

That sounded disingenuous then, and it certainly looks disingenuous now.

I’m not sure that she really substantiated or justified any of her points in that column. So, it’s up to you.

* The Question: Should Mrs. Rauner stay on as president of the Ounce of Prevention Fund? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


online survey

*** UPDATE *** From the Ounce…

Dear Editor:

While we applaud the Sun-Times for drawing attention to the Child Care Assistance Program changes, we are disappointed that rather than focus on the impact of changes—the families who are faced with the difficult decision of providing for their families or ensuring their children are safe and cared for—the Sun-Times instead chooses to sensationalize Rauner vs. Rauner in Mitchell: Illinois’ first family at odds over budget cuts.

For more than 30 years, the Ounce of Prevention Fund has fiercely advocated to ensure that young children living in poverty have access to the quality early experiences they need to succeed in school and in life, and that parents have the resources they need to ensure quality experiences for their children.

During this time of unprecedented budget uncertainty and assault on low-income families, the Ounce has been on the front lines with our advocacy partners, battling to urge the General Assembly, governor and administration to work together to find a fair, fully-funded budget that serves all of Illinois’ citizens.

From formal statements conveying our point of view to time-sensitive action alerts activating supporters and media stories highlighting the families and providers at risk, the Ounce has been vocal. We have publicly advocated against child care changes and urged an end to the budget impasse that is holding our most vulnerable citizens hostage. We have worked with partners in early learning and other social services organizations to highlight the impact of this ongoing budget stalemate. And we have worked within all facets of the government, meeting with legislators and the administration, and filing formal complaints, comments and requests for hearing.

As always, our entire organization—from our board of directors to our leadership to our staff—is fully committed to our mission and continues to serve children and families in need.

Anne Lea Tuohy
Chairman of the Board
Ounce of Prevention Fund

- Posted by Rich Miller        

54 Comments
  1. - Rufus - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:08 pm:

    She can do more good than bad.


  2. - UIC Guy - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:11 pm:

    She’s doing more good in her job than he’s doing in his. One of them should go, but it should be him, not her. (Any chance of it, d’you think?)


  3. - Harvest76 - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:12 pm:

    I can’t speak to her ability to sway her husband on this issue, but I would suggest that, as long as the organization’s goals of advocacy are not being hindered or watered down BECAUSE of her leadership, I see no reason to call for her removal. Furthermore, I would argue that the mere appearance of divergence of goals in the governor’s mansion does little to bolster his position and is likely a good thing for the organization in the long-run… assuming there is a long-run.


  4. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:12 pm:

    In all fairness, she was in her position first. Bruce should resign his position since he created this conflict of interest. /snark


  5. - @MisterJayEm - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:13 pm:

    Yes.

    Because it raises from nil to vanishingly unlikely the probability that someone in the governor’s office will have contact with a person who genuinely cares about Illinois’ at-risk children.

    – MrJM


  6. - hisgirlfriday - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:14 pm:

    I voted no. She was useful as a fundraiser when Mr. Rauner was pretending to be bipartisan but now apparently she has no influence on the governor and/or he is going extra hard on her priorities so as not to show favoritism.

    either way, as long as she has a 100k paid staff member she shouldnt be director of this.


  7. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:16 pm:

    The comment I made yesterday;

    If it’s just window dressing that the First Lady is ineffective because the Governor won’t fall victim to conflicts, why would “Ounce” … want… to be a “prop” for Gov. Rauner and his integrity?

    The point the First Lady wanted to stay shouldn’t be to give my husband “conflict of interest cover at the cost of a group I advocate for… for free.”

    The crux of this all is;

    Is it worth it for “Ounce”, the Governor, and Mrs. Rauner to dance around the relationships and influences as “Ounce” actually faces real problems from a real Administration?

    It’s hubris and ego… and math… all at play.

    Voted “No”,

    My comment above from yesterday, and the real bottom line;

    “Mrs. Rauner, can you or can’t you, advocate for us (Ounce) when it comes to your husband? Will you put YOUR name out there challenging the Governor, your husband?”

    Why should she have to answer.

    Walk away, she can do more outside the unneeded spotlight on all three; Governor, spouse, spouse’s “employer”


  8. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:18 pm:

    I voted yes. The days of having the little wife sit on the sidelines wearing white gloves, a pretty dress and a pearl necklace are long gone.

    She is gainfully employed by that organization as President, whether she takes or doesn’t take a salary. Unless the critics can show that “Ounce” receives special favoritism from the State due to her husband, then there is no problem.

    Mary Mitchell in an uncharacteristic manner, was way overreaching on this one.


  9. - Go Huskies - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:18 pm:

    Voted yes…but i do wish someone would ask her if she has personally lobbied the governor. She should be doing so in her role as president imo.


  10. - Timmeh - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:22 pm:

    Meh. I voted yes, but…

    Are donors to Ounce going to stop donating to prevention programs because of the Rauner connection? If so, then maybe she does need to go.


  11. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:27 pm:

    ===Unless the critics can show that “Ounce” receives special favoritism from the State due to her husband, then there is no problem.===

    I voted “no” because, well, if Mrs. Rauner is ineffective, abd can’t push Ounce’s agenda without a possibility of looking at it, especially the way this Governor IS slashing social services, what does she actually bring to the table as worth with her husband AS governor?


  12. - JS Mill - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:27 pm:

    Voted a conflicted “Yes”.

    Louis’ point- “The days of having the little wife sit on the sidelines wearing white gloves, a pretty dress and a pearl necklace are long gone.”

    This is compelling for me, her job should not be sacrificed for his job. That is not the society we live in anymore, thankfully.

    If the economic were different, this would likely be a complete non-issue as well.

    Maybe there is a conflict of interest, I used to have stronger feelings on this, but politics is filled with them and this is the least of Rauner’s real conflict’s of interest.


  13. - Anonin' - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:34 pm:

    We voted “YES” she can whisper some words to WingMan and get some cash before hubby and the GUMBY Young People’s chorus ever notice


  14. - Amalia - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:40 pm:

    she’s entitled to her own work. as long as there are not conflicts, i.e. he is playing favorites, and she discloses whatever she needs to disclose, she is the agent of her own life.


  15. - Apocalypse Now - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:41 pm:

    Voted, yes. There are elected officials all over who have conflicts with spouses, children, siblings, etc. If there is no real conflict, then those trying to make one should focus their efforts on “all the Conflicts of Interest”.


  16. - Archiesmom - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:44 pm:

    Yes. Until you can show me that she isn’t doing her job - for any reason - I think she stays.


  17. - the Patriot - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:48 pm:

    You get a lot of free pub because of the first lady involvement. Just because she won’t use personal influence for a personal favor does not make her irrelevant.

    I guess democrats would feel better if Rauner did a presser with his wife and said he could not possibly cut the program because his wife is involved.

    She is the first lady, she is trying to help kids. Just because she can’t fix 40 years of Madigan’s mistakes by sleeping with the Governor, does not make her involvement bad.

    If you could, the governor’s mansion would have more traffic than the bunny ranch.


  18. - DuPage Don - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:59 pm:

    I voted yes, because her motivations should not be in question. She has dedicated her time to charity and is a wonderful humanitarian no matter what you think of Bruce Rauner……however, I say she should urge the board at An Ounce of Prevention to consider renaming their organization A Ton of Assistance. Just a thought that came to me!


  19. - Politix - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:01 pm:

    No. She should step down. Her spouse has priorities that are exactly opposite of Ounce and the community Ounce serves is suffering for it. Her inability/unwillingness to do anything about it is a great argument for her resignation.


  20. - Politix - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:03 pm:

    “Until you can show me that she isn’t doing her job”

    Have services been provided? Is her agency meeting it’s goals? As a result of her husband’s decisions, the answer is a clear no. Not only is this reflective of ineffective leadership, her role there is a conflict of interest.


  21. - Bogey Golfer - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:04 pm:

    Voted ‘yes’ - husbands and wives do sometimes have careers which conflict. If she could somehow influence the Gov on Ounce of Prevention, but he denied funding of all other social programs, that would be conflict. Gotta believe that had a chat before the election that this could come up.


  22. - Juvenal - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:06 pm:

    I voted Yes because I think that is a personal decision for Mrs. Rauner and her board of our directors.

    That said, I think there is a disconnect between Executive Director Rauner saying that child care should be a top priority and First Lady Rauner having a Chief of Staff.

    I would advice the former to cancel the latter.


  23. - Left Leaner - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:12 pm:

    Yes…at least as long as she and the Board of Directors remain in agreement about her chairmanship and/or membership.

    Is there a little bit of a credibility issue here for both sides? You bet. But that’s up to them to decide.


  24. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:13 pm:

    No. Where is her forceful, public advocacy for Ounce? Testimony in committees, press conferences, etc. Isn’t that what presidents of other such organizations are doing?


  25. - Politix - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:15 pm:

    K, I’ll bite. Where is it? Under the couch? Between a secret wall in the Governor’s Mansion? Where?”

    THIS!!!!


  26. - Politix - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:16 pm:

    +++++No. Where is her forceful, public advocacy for Ounce? Testimony in committees, press conferences, etc. Isn’t that what presidents of other such organizations are doing?+===

    Sorry I meant

    THIS!!!!!


  27. - Flynn's mom - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:16 pm:

    No. She does not seem to be very concerned about the cuts made and the cuts proposed. She will cause Ounce to lose vital support. I would have voted yes if it seemed that she was advocating for her agency and those it serves.She’s been strangly silent given someone in her position.


  28. - Wordslinger - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:18 pm:

    No vote, don’t care.

    The group lost all credibility when it’s president went on the TV to give goo-goo soft and fuzzy cred to the guy who’s now “devastating” everything it allegedly stands for.

    It’s a like a Kardashian show, contrived and shallow conflict.


  29. - Anon. - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:19 pm:

    Absolutely yes. If there is any conflict between her presidency and the policies of the Governor, it is for the board of Ounce to decide whether they want her, and for the Rauners to work out between themselves if she does stay. If there were any notion that she was using her relationship with the Governor to get some kind of plum job with big pay and no work, that would be different, but no one is saying that.


  30. - Left Leaner - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:21 pm:

    Side note: Has Diana Rauner been in the Capitol building on behalf of Ounce and its clients?

    If I’m the CEO of a nonprofit where lots of clients are about to lose access to services they depend on, I’m in Springfield. No question. If that’s a question for her, then the Board needs to consider whether her ability to effectively do her job is being compromised.


  31. - crazybleedingheart - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:23 pm:

    I’m with Wordslinger.

    I want kids to be taken care of and am horrified by what is happening in our state.

    I can’t get behind rooting for DRauner and her clubby cause to exert undue influence on BRauner.


  32. - Not quite a majority - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:29 pm:

    No. I think Ounce is not being served well in this scenario. Instead of their point person being out front on the issue, they’re forced to ‘hide in the light’. PRs are great canary cage liners — what’s needed is real advocacy and that means, as others have said, testimony and constant beating of the drum.


  33. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:40 pm:

    I dunno…

    The whole back and forth about the effectiveness of Ounce and the Governor’s wife, and trying to balance the Governor, the First Lady of Illinois / President of Ounce, and Ounce’s Mission, is it worth the ego to still lead for either the First Lady or the President of Ounce or that they’re one in the same?

    An unneeded headache it seems.


  34. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:41 pm:

    ===As a result of her husband’s decisions, the answer is a clear no===

    So, he never woulda done this if she wasn’t in that job?

    C’mon.


  35. - OneMan - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:46 pm:

    screwed up my vote, would say yes she should stay on, voted no.


  36. - A guy - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:46 pm:

    I vote Yes, because it’s up to her and her board.

    The Governor is going to have “conflicts” with everything and everyone in the state. That’s just the nature of being Governor. Other state leaders have direct conflicts. He’s married to someone with a career. It’s not up to anyone but her and her board.

    I’m sure they saw this day, and this reaction coming. Dopey article.


  37. - Joe M - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:47 pm:

    If she is not going to be in the forefront of advocating for her agency (including advocating for state appropriations) then she should resign - and let someone who will take over.


  38. - Buzzie - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:51 pm:

    No. As president she should be in front of microphones making her case and not hiding behind press releases.


  39. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:56 pm:

    I vote yes, not a fan, but yes. What does she do in her role as first lady - in particular with her $100,000 state paid assistant/scheduler?


  40. - GOP Extremist - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 2:17 pm:

    Yes. Ms. Raunerr is just a tax payer. She could be a useful tool as well. Bruce should schedule an open meeting with his wife and convince her to get Voice to tone down the rhetoric and help him get his Turn Around Agenda passed. Then he can run down to Texas and pick up some jobs. DONE!! Illinois will become the most compassionate state in the land. Everybody wins.


  41. - Politix - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 2:22 pm:

    Rich, I should’ve said “as a result of the Governor’s decision.” Could be any governor.

    As if it couldn’t get worse, the governor is her husband. And this doesn’t pass the “What if YOUR husband did that” test. Flatly, boldly rejecting my values, standing in the way of services for CHILDREN for the sake of ending collective bargaining? That’s a deal breaker. She should resign out of embarrassment if for no other reason. I mean grow a spine already, lady.

    This is probably too harsh.


  42. - hisgirlfriday - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 2:37 pm:

    speaking of people losing jobs, rich can we have a thread to discuss today’s firing of the highest paid illinois public employee, tim beckman?


  43. - walker - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 2:41 pm:

    Not my business.

    She can make her own analysis and decision.


  44. - Anonymous - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 2:59 pm:

    I guess I’d like to see audited financial statements for Ounce of Prevention. I have no idea how effective they are and how much of the money goes to ‘the cause.’

    All I know is that they supposedly had revenue of $51,889,718 in 2012/2013 and expenses of $52,410,422 the same year.

    If they’re doing good work, I say there’s no conflict. If they’re spending it all on salaries, then maybe it really is a conflict.


  45. - Mama - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 3:19 pm:

    I voted NO because her husband controls the funding for her organization as the governor of IL.


  46. - anonlurker - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 3:36 pm:

    Was on the fence on this but now leaning NO.
    PC @ 1:13, FM @ 1:16, LL @ 1:21 and Buzzie @ 1:51 have it right. She should be out there, front and center, doing her job. Not hiding from it…like her husband.


  47. - Wensicia - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 4:08 pm:

    It’s up to Ounce of Prevention whether she stays or goes. I don’t think it’ll make a difference either way, not for the children.


  48. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 4:15 pm:

    Yes.

    The board seems happy with the job she is doing.

    They are still criticizing her husband’s budget plans and lobbying, without any interference from her. And though her name may not be on the public ==Action Alerts==, she still gets more time with the governor and gives them a better chance than any replacement ever would.


  49. - Enviro - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 4:16 pm:

    Yes, because she cares about the children. We need someone like her to advocate for quality early learning programs for at-risk children.


  50. - Skeptic - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 4:23 pm:

    I’m conflicted as well. While I agree with Louis that First Ladies in White Gloves are a thing of the past, I also think you can’t complain about potential conflicts of interest with Madigan and his practice if you give DRauner a pass. Or to paraphrase Louis, “Unless the critics can show that [insert person] receives special favoritism from the State due to [insert politician here], then there is no problem.”


  51. - Wordslinger - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 4:26 pm:

    Patriot, dude, I’ve gotta party with you, as long as you’re not strapped, which I’m sure you are all the time.

    Going from “40 years of Madigan” to “sleeping with the governor” to “bunny ranch” in just a couple of sentences is inspired.


  52. - Children, children, children - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 4:34 pm:

    I voted no. It is a conflict of interest to have the Govenor’s wife lead an organization that receives state grants.

    Couldn’t Mrs. R work for the Bounce Network, the Ounce’s national organization?


  53. - IL17Progressive - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 4:47 pm:

    This appears to be nothing but a scam. Male acts all tough, demanding, aristocratic. As wife plays the we’re so nice role. Rather standard good guy bad guy con!


  54. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 9:26 am:

    Being a good democrat she should invite madigans over for tea


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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