* Background for this letter is here. From the Senate Democrats…
May 19, 2017
Executive Inspector General of Illinois
Office of Executive Inspector General, Division of Investigations
Inspector General Hickey:
It has been brought to our attention that records and information from Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration and the Illinois State Board of Education were provided to a political group funded by the governor’s campaign. This is disturbing. The citizens of Illinois deserve honesty and integrity at every level of government.
Please consider this a formal request that your office research and investigate this situation.
If you or your office need additional information or have questions, please contact us.
State Senator Andy Manar (D-48)
State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-40)
State Senator Donne Trotter (D-17)
Assistant Majority Leader
State Iris Y. Martinez (D-20)
Assistant Majority Leader
State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-19)
State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-49)
* The JB Pritzker campaign stepped in as well…
“It’s despicable that Bruce Rauner and Republicans would resort to leaking fake news in order to slow down progress for our state, and specifically for education,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Galia Slayen. “Students in Illinois shouldn’t be held hostage while Rauner tries to slash important programs and prevent their teachers from making a decent living. Illinois families deserve a governor that works to solve problems, not create them.”
* OK, now, if you click here, you’ll see a pdf of the original story on Dan Proft’s Kankakee Times website.
The story has since been updated without labeling it as an update to add these two paragraphs…
The state funding cuts wouldn’t take effect immediately. Manar’s bill also includes a temporary “hold harmless” clause that would effectively delay them for two years.
The ISBE analysis was conducted last summer, after Manar unveiled his school funding proposal. It is the last known analysis of the bill.
As a Republican pointed out to me a few minutes ago, the ISBE analysis referred to is of SB 231, which was introduced last year. That analysis is available online. Click here and then scroll down to the SB 231 link to see it.
* I just talked to Proft and here are some quotes…
Everything Manar said at that press conference is false. We got no information from the governor’s office. None. Zero.
We got the numbers from Reboot Illinois. We did the story based on the last, best numbers we had.
The real story is that the Senate voted on that bill without any numbers… without knowing the implications of state funding schools… By their own admission, they don’t have the numbers.
*** UPDATE 1 *** At my request, Proft sent me the e-mail chain with Reboot. I redacted all e-mail addresses and phone numbers. Click here.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Press release…
The Rauner Administration released the following statement regarding the Senate Democrats’ false accusations. The following is attributable to spokesperson Eleni Demertzis:
“The Senate Democrats today jumped the shark. One cannot leak something that is on a public web site. Their false and outrageous accusations have been disproven, and they should apologize for manufacturing blatantly false accusations.”
*** UPDATE 3 *** Press release…
State Senator Andy Manar is urging Illinois school superintendents to be aware that misleading figures are being peddled about Senate Bill 1, the school funding plan that passed in the Illinois Senate this week.
Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office this afternoon acknowledged the figures are inaccurate and outdated but stopped short of denouncing them.
“This appears to be a textbook example of fake news. I am disturbed as to how and why this information was put out there and framed as official information from the Rauner administration, clearly with the intent of confusing and misleading people about Senate Bill 1,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat.
“Senate Democrats have asked the executive inspector general to look into that, but right now I want to make sure school superintendents are aware that outdated information is fraudulently being passed off as up-to-date news about Senate Bill 1.
“Furthermore, I hope Gov. Rauner and Education Secretary Beth Purvis will follow our lead and alert school officials about this misleading information to set the record straight. Anything less makes them complicit in a concerted effort to jeopardize Illinois’ shot at achieving meaningful school funding reform.”