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Trib reporter denies Pritzker story was a Rauner leak

Thursday, Jun 1, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* If you click here and watch this video, you’ll see JB Pritzker blame the Tribune’s Blagojevich story yesterday on Gov. Rauner’s campaign…

When I decided to run for governor, it was clear to me that Gov. Rauner and the GOP had nothing except the kitchen sink that they wanted to throw at the Democrats and particularly at me because Bruce Rauner’s afraid to run against me.

And, so, this is a nine-year-old tape that they are leaking in an attempt to distract from the fact that 700 days into this administration, into this failure of a budget, this governor has done nothing for the people of the state of Illinois.

He’s chosen to do this on the 700th day. A day when at the end of session it looks like we won’t get a budget for yet another year. So, Bruce Rauner having failed, the GOP having failed, this is their massive attempt to distract.

Pritzker said more about that later in the same media availability and then said much the same thing during another avail he had last night. Click here for that one

It’s clear that Bruce Rauner and the GOP have nothing to run on, and so they are simply attacking… I knew when I decided to run for governor that they were going to throw the kitchen sink, that they were going to try to take down all the Democrats, particularly me because I think they’re mostly afraid of running against me in the general election. […]

So, what are they gonna run on? They can only run on trashing Democrats and introducing this idea of a nine-year-old leaked tape and attacking me.

* But the Tribune’s Jeff Coen was on WBEZ this morning and was asked about his source

We don’t ever talk about sourcing on these kinds of issues. I know the [Pritzker] campaign threw out a Bruce Rauner allegation. That’s not correct. I can say that. […]

This is Tribune reporting going back over … We have had routes for information on this case. I mean for me personally I’ve been protecting sources on this case back to 2006.

* Audio

* I asked the Pritzker campaign if they still stood by the allegations that this story was leaked by Rauner and/or the GOP to “distract” people…

“This is a continuation of attacks Bruce Rauner and the ILGOP have already made and the leak happened to coincide with the 700th day of session, where the governor failed to pass a budget for a third year.”

So, they tightened it up a bunch and dropped the direct connection allegation.

* The Pritzker campaign does appear to have some legit beefs about the way this story was reported out. They say they were only given an hour to respond to the story and weren’t told that tapes even existed. The Tribune reporters, the campaign claims, wouldn’t even read them any excerpts from the Blagojevich conversations, which is why the campaign’s first response seemed so oddly off-topic.

The question remains as well whether a federal judge’s order sealing these tapes was somehow violated. Remember, this was a huge issue back in the day. Blagojevich kept demanding that the judge “Release the tapes!” and the judge wouldn’t do it. This was a private conversation that didn’t result in any charges or even any testimony and yet it’s now public.

Campaign opposition researcher Will Caskey said this in comments yesterday

I’m working in the gov primary for another candidate and am disgusted by this entire story. Nonpublic incidental collection should never be used for anything other than its intended purpose; that’s the entire reason the FBI is allowed to wiretap suspects. […]

This is the second time incidental collection from the Blagojevich trial has been used to embarrass a political target outside the investigation. People should be fired over this, and it’s disgusting nothing will happen.


  1. - Sue - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 11:44 am:

    JB sounds like Trump- forget the substance and focus on the leakers

  2. - Trapped in the 'burbs - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 11:45 am:

    We already face the prospect of two lousy choices for governor.

  3. - jacketpotato - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 11:45 am:

    You got to admit the timing was great, if you wanted it to get buried. The Budget, Gov and Madigan will be sucking all the air out of the room.

  4. - DuPage Saint - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 11:47 am:

    Well if this is one of the tapes that the court ordered sealed and someone leaked it proper remedy would be a contempt citation. I am sure Judge Zagel would love to hear the matter and he appears so reasonable

  5. - JS Mill - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 11:48 am:

    =forget the substance and focus on the leakers=

    Ok, focus on the substance. There isn’t any.

  6. - Aleak - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 11:50 am:

    JB is the new Mike Flynn

  7. - Blue Bayou - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 11:50 am:

    Rauner: desperate.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 11:50 am:

    (This is snark)

    “Was it from someone in… Ohio… ?”

    (This is the end of the snark)

  9. - Chicagonk - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 11:50 am:

    Sue - I notice that parallel as well. And it makes you wonder what will be the next story to come out.

  10. - Selma - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 11:51 am:

    “People should be fired over this, and it’s disgusting nothing will happen.”

    Whole lot of that going around these days.

  11. - Anon0091 - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 11:54 am:

    With all due respect to Jeff Coen, we all know there are ways for campaigns to do things without their fingerprints on them. How naive can you be?

  12. - Lord of the Fries - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 11:56 am:

    For someone who is often vile in his comments about public figures, it is odd Caskey is so upset about this. Are we sure he doesn’t work for Pritzker??

  13. - Rocky Rosi - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 12:04 pm:

    This leak most likely came from someone high up the food chain in the FBI or a judge. This is why a lot of people don’t run for public office.

  14. - Illinois O'Malley - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 12:04 pm:

    I wondered how that tape got to the tribune as well, US Attorney and FBI fought its admission with Blago but was ok leaking it to the Tribune

  15. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 12:05 pm:

    I’d like to think it’s Robert Blagojevich, but that’s the romantic in me…

  16. - Soccermom - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 12:07 pm:

    Anon0091 is right. How the heck does Coen know who’s really behind the leak?

    And then there’s this: “”We don’t ever talk about sourcing on these kinds of issues.”

    Except for sometimes…

  17. - Anon E. Moose - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 12:07 pm:

    “We don’t ever talk about sourcing on these kinds of issues.”


    “That’s not correct. I can say that.”

    So you just did the thing you said you never do? Because you have no credibility? Got it.

  18. - Montrose - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 12:07 pm:

    Sue- Where do you see Pritzker focusing on who leaked the tape? Casey did, but other than using the word “leaked” in his statement, there is nothing there.

  19. - Soccermom - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 12:08 pm:

    OW, that’s some multilayer funny right there.

  20. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 12:10 pm:

    - Soccermom -

    Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Hey… Always glad to see you around too.

  21. - Amalia - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 12:11 pm:

    Love OW’s romantic notion!!!!

  22. - Anon0091 - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 12:17 pm:

    As to the Trib not even reading them the tape excerpts, cmon Jeff/Todd. That’s just chickencrap stuff. You give the campaign enough time to respond and you read them the material. Then let them respond. The way they did it almost makes it look like they’re playing for another team.

    Also, it’s unlikely to come from the Feds because there are huge penalties attached to that kind of misbehavior and it’s not worth it to them. So you look to who had access to the unpublished unadmitted tapes and it could only be the lawyers - primarily on the defense team.

  23. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 12:24 pm:

    - Amalia -

    And people say I’m heartless…

    To the Post,

    The tapes coincided with May 31st, the end of session, and these notions of Rauner’s failures and before Pritzker could go negative on Rauner too…

    The Pritzker Crew needs to show serious chops getting thru all this and pressing on.

    “We’ll see”

    Right now, oppo on Pritzker and answering that oppo is a glaring weakness, even with the challenges that Crew faces with this tape.

  24. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 12:29 pm:

    I like that the Trib stood up for its candidate, in this blatant misrepresentation of facts by JB and the Dems. Thank goodness their objectivity and ethically honest reporting saved poor underappreciated Bruce.

  25. - Evanstonian - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 12:34 pm:

    Meh. Play in dirt, you get dirty. Maybe the Democrats should choose a candidate who’s not a billionaire who can call a governor to ask to get appointed to a seat because he wants it.

  26. - AlfondoGonz - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 12:42 pm:

    Fact is, I’d vote for Blago over Rauner. Honest.

  27. - Keyser Soze - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 12:45 pm:

    Leakapoloza. But, is it true?

  28. - Arsenal - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 12:53 pm:

    I doubt anything’s ever going to come out of how the tapes got out, if only because the most wronged party politically can’t pursue it.

    But it probably serves Pritzker’s purposes for everyone to now focus on the meta-story. If that’s where we head, that’s pretty good spin on the part of Team Pritzker.

  29. - Brian Garvey - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 12:59 pm:

    Wow. So JB Pritzker talked to Blago then dropped him? No deals, no illegal acts? How scandalous. But I’m sure it’s far more serious than Bruce Rauner’s “mysterious” TRIPLING of his personal income one year after becoming Governor…

  30. - Soccermom - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 12:59 pm:

    Anon0091 —
    “The way they did it almost makes it look like they’re playing for another team.”


  31. - me - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 1:01 pm:

    Hat Trick for JB: Madigan, Berrios, and Blago. Oh, my.

  32. - Fax Machine - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 1:09 pm:

    Rauner’s only hope of winning is a scorched Earth negative campaign and the only Dem candidate that would work with is Pritzker.

  33. - Moe Berg - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 1:10 pm:

    The Trib is owned my Ferro. Ferro is for Rauner.

    Like most of us, reporters are scared of losing their jobs and benefits, with little in the way of savings to fall back on, and mortgages, student loans and college bills for the kids. It’s nice to imagine they are a high-minded bunch of Woodwards and Bernsteins, but there are few profiles in courage, few Dave McKinneys.

    At best, we mostly get both sides are to blame reporting; that’s safe and offends no one. Forget truth. Sell subscriptions and please advertisers. They know to toe the paymaster’s line. Ferro has made it clear. They work for an oligarch/plutocrat who is in league with another one, Rauner. This is our new reality in America.

  34. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 1:12 pm:

    ===the only Dem candidate that would work with is Pritzker.===

    I highly doubt that.

    In 2016, Rauner went scorched earth in just about every House race Raunerites felt they could win.

    That’s their M.O.

  35. - Fax Machine - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 1:20 pm:

    You can make an otherwise lost-in-the-wash State Rep candidate nothing more than a Madigan pawn, won’t work with a Gov candidate who people will get to know by seeing him on the news, debates, etc.

    Not that Rauner won’t try - JB’s the only one a negative barrage could stick to so that he is as underwater as Rauner. He still could win of course, I just think Rauner has the best chance of beating him.

    However, JB being the nominee makes it the least likely that the GOP “fires Madigan” because all the union money goes to GA candidates not the Gov’s race. That’s why Madigan’s making phone calls for JB.

  36. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 1:24 pm:

    ===JB’s the only one a negative barrage could stick to so that he is as underwater as Rauner.===


    The other candidates are immune to a negative campaign?

    You need to take a nap. I don’t think you have any idea how campaigns work.

    ===However, JB being the nominee makes it the least likely that the GOP “fires Madigan” because all the union money goes to GA candidates not the Gov’s race. That’s why Madigan’s making phone calls for JB.===

    Yeah, um…

    Pritzker or no Pritzker…

    Rauner is going to try to make it all Madigan, including all the announced candidates.

    Your world sounds fun. Are there unicorns and cotton candy there too?

  37. - Anon0091 - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 1:33 pm:


    What do you think of this new negative ad by Pritzker?

  38. - W Flag - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 1:36 pm:

    Mark Brown of the Sun-Times opined that the story on J.B. was a legitimate news story. So there.

  39. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 1:40 pm:

    Caskey is right. If someone in law enforcement or the court system is leaking these tapes, they shouldn’t be employed in that sector.

  40. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 1:42 pm:

    - Anon0091 -

    I’ll have my take on Rich’s Post…


  41. - Ward Heeler - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 1:42 pm:

    Seems that there was a candidate for US Senate named Barack Obama who fared pretty well by exploiting the contents of court files that were originally sealed. Remember Blair Hull and Jack Ryan?

    Whatever became of him?

  42. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 1:50 pm:

    ===Remember Blair Hull and Jack Ryan?===

    Tribune sued over Ryan’s divorce file. Hull’s was a Chicago police report, I think.

  43. - In A Minute - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 1:54 pm:

    Pritzker and others defending him are right to the degree they are upset that FBI tapes that ought not to see the light of day outisde a criminal courtroom have been aired.
    But boy, do the tapes make Pritzker look like an opportunistic political jock sniffer of Blaogojevich.
    The person leaking these must not have a beef with Emanual or those tapes would be out by now, right?

  44. - Ward Heeler - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 2:13 pm:

    @Rich Miller:

    I recall the Tribune got a court order to access the one court file (Ryan). I cannot recall the circumstances concerning Blair Hull clearly after more than a dozen years. I do remember Hull’s ex-wife got a state position promoting film productions in Illinois that made some of us think that Blagojevich was repaying a debt to a big donor.

    The issue that I had is that the reading public does not always get that salacious allegations are commonplace in domestic relations cases especially when big dollars are involved.

  45. - Ward Heeler - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 2:15 pm:

    @In A Minute:

    That was one of the questions addressed in Mark Brown’s column today. What was Pritzker thinking in that he was still talking to Blagojevich after many savvy political people were beginning to distance themselves from the governor and rumors of impending investigations were running rampant.

  46. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 2:39 pm:

    –We don’t ever talk about sourcing on these kinds of issues. I know the [Pritzker] campaign threw out a Bruce Rauner allegation. That’s not correct. I can say that. […]–

    Could we get a third voice in your head to break the tie?

  47. - Team Warwick - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 2:54 pm:

    I know for a fact that Blago routinely asked people for $10- 50k donations to get their job. One i know personally who did pay he did get the job. “Gus” an African immigrant accounting type at IDOT. He said it to my face. He has language difficulties and is culturally gullible i think because of his home country, but yes he paid to get a higher higher paying job under Blago and he went around telling eeveryone. The job he got did not appear to match his resume and experience level. Pretty obvious it did not. I worried he would get in a bind right away on that mismatch.
    So anyway, the tape where he asks Mr. P to do that pay for jo donation is classic Blago. He asked them all to do that

  48. - Team Warwick - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 2:57 pm:

    Ps -Gov. DUHQuinn did not clean house to get of rid of all the donation for job payees.
    they are still here amongst us

  49. - eire 17 - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 3:06 pm:

    When Topinka ran for Governor the Dems couldn’t show her doing the polka with George Ryan enough. JB just met his polka partner and his name is Rod.

  50. - NorthsideNoMore - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 3:11 pm:

    JB B learnin the hard way. History is a nasty thing in the political realm. He needs to call spin master and wrapper Jimmy James Carvel JB needs a little “drag a $100 dollar bill through the trailer park…..” diddy to put this behind him.

  51. - Amalia - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 3:28 pm:

    @ eire 17…..”JB’s polka partner and his name is Rod.” hilarious.
    Let’s dance. I have first dibs on polka with OW!

  52. - Arsenal - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 4:43 pm:

    ==JB just met his polka partner and his name is Rod.==

    Problem is, Ryan was much fresher in people’s memories, and his LG never won re-election in her own right…

  53. - Arsenal - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 4:48 pm:

    Also, the Trib PR department could end up being Pritzker’s best friend here, because they’ve spent the whole time since the story broke on a victory lap. The more this is a meta-story, the happier JB is gonna be.

  54. - walker - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 7:30 pm:

    Just don’t see this one lasting the summer. Blago is pretty old news now. Easily spun into Blago tried to get paid but PB said no. Clearly PB didn’t need the job.

    Links to Madigan and property tax reduction are more current and damaging.

  55. - HoiPolloi - Friday, Jun 2, 17 @ 8:25 am:

    Spaulding on tape with Blago - priceless.

  56. - Shirtless man on horse - Friday, Jun 2, 17 @ 10:17 am:

    Next he’ll blame the Russians.

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