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Rauner once declared he’d never hire lobbyists as senior staff, then he did

Thursday, Jul 20, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* A Bruce Rauner 2014 campaign promise

But the problem isn’t limited to cronies leaving government and creating lobbying empires built on sweetheart deals – we also need to stop the practice of insider lobbyists putting their practices on hold and joining the administration, only to come back to their clients after helping them rig the system. The revolving door swings both ways.[…]

No senior executive official should have been a lobbyist in their preceding 12 months, nor should they be allowed to become a lobbyist 12 months after they leave. [Emphasis added.]

His recently hired chief of staff, Kristina Rasmussen, has been a registered Statehouse lobbyist since 2010.

Notice that in Rasmussen’s former group’s latest filing, it declared its intent to lobby the governor’s office

* Nice pickup by Doug Finke

Gov. Bruce Rauner is apparently backing off of a campaign position from 2014 when he said senior administration officials should not be selected from among the ranks of lobbyists.

Rauner’s new chief of staff, Kristina Rasmussen, has been a registered lobbyist in the state since 2010, records show. Rasmussen, the former president of the Illinois Policy Institute, was registered first as a lobbyist for the IPI and later for Illinois Policy Action, an affiliated organization. […]

“Kristina has been fighting for a more prosperous and compassionate Illinois for many years, which aligns completely with the governor’s point of view,” [Rauner spokeswoman Laurel Patrick] said. “She’s thrilled to be part of the team.”

Patrick did not respond to additional questions.

* This other staff revelation, however, borders on being the liberal thought police

A second newly-hired communications specialist, Meghan Keenan, deleted her Twitter account just after she was hired Monday as a $45,000-a-year communications specialist for Rauner’s office. But POLITICO has obtained screenshots of her tweets questioning climate change, calling for defunding the Affordable Care Act, and seeming to support the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, saying “religious objections can actually expand access to abortion, birth control, etc.”

Nothing about Nazis, no racist, homophobic or violence-approving tweets. Just a couple of policy issues where she may differ from the governor.

Meh.

This particular well may have run dry for now. We’ll see.

       

52 Comments
  1. - LizPhairTax - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 9:56 am:

    First draft:

    Certainly nothing matches the atrocity of the Holocaust, but cyberdriveillinois.com is burdensome and confusing.


  2. - JPC - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 9:59 am:

    I guess I don’t get the difference. Rauner has so much wealth that his own candidacy and election amounts to hiring a lobbyist. He, and a handful of wealthy supporters, certainly have at much at stake as many organizers employing lobbyists.


  3. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:01 am:

    The clock is ticking on schools closing/sb1, and instead of barnstorming to get his message out on funding ideas, he’s spent the last two weeks responding to front page headlines about office chaos. Heck of a job on that new and improved messaging, IPI crew!


  4. - Fixer - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:02 am:

    The lobbyist angle concerns me more that Twitter, frankly. It can be great as a resource for finding info quickly in real time, but beyond that it seems to be nothing but a grade school free for all anymore.

    The lobbying then joining the administration would seem to be bordering on an ethics violation, but I’m not sure given the type of position she is in. I would have to defer to someone with more experience on that type of matter.


  5. - Sonny - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:02 am:

    We’ll see how deep the well goes when they announce more hires, only like 16 more superstars to get them fully staffed. Based on the first six, I am leaning toward continued weirdness.


  6. - Free Set of Steak Knives - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:04 am:

    The well might have run dry, but the Governor and his new team are already completely soaked, and until or unless he does something jarring to convince us that he hasn’t taken a hard turn to the right (or revealed his true nature, depending on who you ask), that is how things will be framed.

    Madigan has been trying to frame Rauner as an extremist for two years and largely failed.

    Kristina Rasmussen and her new crew have managed to do it in two weeks.

    Remarkable.


  7. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:05 am:

    Wonder if she was one of those dirty insider lobbyists the Speaker was sending over to the Senate to derail the Grand Bargain the governor was really cheerin for.


  8. - Keyrock - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:05 am:

    Off topic — have you ever had a QOTD for best commenter name? I’ve always admired LizPhairTax.


  9. - My New Handle - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:06 am:

    Most of Rauner’s actions seem to speak more loudly than his words, and the hypocrisies are getting to be almost deafening.


  10. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:07 am:

    This new messaging strategy is going great. Why, just look at all the front page headlines the Governor is getting the last week.


  11. - A Jack - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:07 am:

    Honestly Rauner needs to fire all his communications staff and hire one really good speech therapist.


  12. - ILGOV2018 - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:10 am:

    Hey JB and other Democrats running for Governor, here is another campaign ad for you….

    Use Rauner quote about lobbyists and shaking up Springfield and then tie former lobbyist Kristina Rasmussen to show the hypocrisy of his time in office.

    As far as poor Miss Keenan, she has the right to tweet whatever she wants and have her beliefs. But, Rauner and staff probably should have vetted a lot better. Makes one wonder if she is a fan of Alex Jones.


  13. - Saluki - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:10 am:

    He was talking about Democratic lobbyists. Lobbyists he agrees with don’t count.


  14. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:10 am:

    Sonny, good point.


  15. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:11 am:

    I guess this new messaging means “Flat out Hypocrisy”

    That’s fun.

    Those RaunerS, Diana and Bruce, those cocktail parties must be the bane of the pain, lol

    We know it’s not honesty, or a concern for Illinois. It’s how they, Diana and Bruce, are seen in the elite social circles, no matter the hypocrisy it costs to be… “liked”?


  16. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:11 am:

    I agree with Keyrock. When I first saw LizPhairTax I was jealous that I didn’t think of it. #ExileInRaunerville

    And “A Jack” makes a really good, and humorous, point


  17. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:12 am:

    Rauner’s words are often in opposition to his actions.

    He says what he thinks people want to hear, and then does the opposite.

    It’s called lying in some circles.


  18. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:13 am:

    #ExileInRaunerville

    Ok, not joke or hyperbole, I did a coffee “spit-take”

    The handle is genius. There’s no doubt. That hashtag take it up a notch or three.

    Wow.


  19. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:15 am:

    It wasn’t just a campaign promise. It was an executive order. None of his recent hires can register as lobbyists after they leave the governor’s office.

    Which will never happen, because loyalty


  20. - DemiGod - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:15 am:

    Woof


  21. - Reality Check - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:19 am:

    policy issues where she may differ from the governor.

    There’s the rub. “May”? Rauner wants to change colors depending on his surroundings.

    Rail against Chicago when he’s downstate. Say something different at those North Shore cocktail parties.

    Vow to sign a bill like HB40 when he needs support from suburban women. Promise to veto it under pressure from Caprio.

    Support Trump for president - without saying his name.

    Run away from questions about Trumpcare. Express vague “concern” when cornered.

    Rauner announced his candidacy in 2013, got elected in 2014, took office in 2015. It’s 2017 now. Shouldn’t voters know what he thinks about such extreme positions as defunding Obamacare, climate denial and discrimination on religious grounds?


  22. - Soccermom - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:19 am:

    I don’t think it’s “thought police” to point out that the Governor is hiring people with extremist views to serve as his spokesfolks. If the Governor is hiring people who oppose Obamacare, that tells us something.


  23. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:22 am:

    ===If the Governor is hiring people who oppose Obamacare, that tells us something. ===

    The governor himself has called Obamacare a “disaster” on several occasions.


  24. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:23 am:

    ===It wasn’t just a campaign promise. It was an executive order.===

    He didn’t put that particular item into his EO.


  25. - not again - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:26 am:

    Rule #1 of working for Rauner is your personal thoughts no longer matter. Why bother caring about what they wrote on Twitter 6 months ago. All that matters is what the polling shows today. Those are the thoughts they’ll articulate now.


  26. - Curl of the Burl - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:27 am:

    There are some very humorous comments on this thread. I suggest that Chris Kennedy check this out for tips on sarcasm and wit.

    All kidding aside this is the staffing parallel to the wave of Dem candidates who ran during the anti-Bush wave in 2006 and the pro-Obama wave in 2008 and then the GOP (or Tea Party) candidates who ran in 2010. You had a lot of green, apolitical/non-political, or outsider-type people who ran for the first time ever and a lot of their previous actions or comments/writings were indicative of that. I have no idea if the IPI and IOP folks ever thought they would be put in charge - maybe they did and maybe they did not - but this shows that sort of lack of awareness. A lot of professional staffers keep their Facebook and other social media accounts clean for that very reason. They are careful. Clearly others are not so careful.


  27. - Reality Check - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:29 am:

    Why bother caring about what they wrote on Twitter 6 months ago.

    All their frantic deleting suggests they care very much. They care that you don’t know, so the boss can keep up the “moderate” (”compassionate”, “no social agenda”) charade.


  28. - Joe Bidenopolous - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:32 am:

    ===We’ll see how deep the well goes when they announce more hires, only like 16 more superstars to get them fully staffed. Based on the first six, I am leaning toward continued weirdness.===

    This is true, but given the level of attention the new hires have received, it wouldn’t be surprising if there were no more hiring announcements…just slip them in quietly.


  29. - Joe Bidenopolous - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:35 am:

    Also agree with Soccermom’s thought police comment. Her deleted views are valid. Yes Rauner has said Obamacare is a disaster, but as Rich pointed out yesterday, he’s been silent throughout the process.

    Further, I think the thought police argument is a red herring to begin with. No one has a right to have their opinion heard without comment or dissent. If you want to express an opinion, that’s fine, just understand that others have the right to say your opinion is hooey.


  30. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:37 am:

    “Gov. Bruce Rauner is apparently backing off of a campaign position from 2014 when he said senior administration officials should not be selected from among the ranks of lobbyists.”

    Backing off? More accurate terms might be:

    Abandoned
    Discarded
    Never meant it in the first place
    Changed his mind
    Fooled you
    Outright lied

    See? Multiple choices.


  31. - Whatever - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:39 am:

    ==Nothing about Nazis, no racist, homophobic or violence-approving tweets. Just a couple of policy issues where she may differ from the governor.==

    But it was on Twitter! And Trump uses Twitter! Can’t you see the connection?! /s


  32. - walker - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:40 am:

    Will the IPI budget “outline” now become Rauner’s first balanced budget proposal?


  33. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:42 am:

    @Rich: Really? EO 15-09, Sec II (1) says they cannot negotiate future employment with any entity that lobbies their agency. And Sec II (2) says no former employee of a state agency may accept compensation to lobby any state agency for one year.

    I don’t mean to argue, but it seems it’ll be hard for any of these people to return to IPI.


  34. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:44 am:

    ===No senior executive official should have been a lobbyist in their preceding 12 months,===

    Meh, he figured out that was a dumb thing to promise. I wish he’d admit it, but I won’t hold my breath.

    So-called lobbyist bans are like term limits: they sound good to the rubes, but are just meaningless symbolism.

    Lobbyists generally understand process and history and the levers of power. Many are subject matter experts, which makes them precisely the kind of people you want to help an elected official get an agenda passed into law, something with which Rauner desperately needs help.

    The problem isn’t with insiders taking key government jobs, the problem is unethical self-dealing. Self-dealing is the problem and it isn’t limited to lobbyists. Lots of non-lobbyists can have conflicts of interest too.

    Of all of the things I think ought to disqualify Rasmussen, her background as a lobbyist isn’t even on the list.


  35. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:44 am:

    ===Really? ===

    Yes, really. Where does it say in the EO that registered lobbyists can’t be hired by the administration as senior execs?


  36. - A Jack - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:54 am:

    But you see, 2014 was well before the new policy memo of “Radical Candor,” so Rauner was exempted by his masters from honesty at that point. /s?


  37. - Don Gerard - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 10:55 am:

    Keyrock - The handle “Dave Dahl” always cracks me up…


  38. - Mrs. O'Leary's Pig - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 11:05 am:

    It doesn’t matter who was a lobbyist.
    What matters right now is who is a lobbyist. And some folks who made some good coinage the last 2.5 years trading on relationships at the senior level of the Rauner administration are all of a sudden without those relationships.
    Do I smell a Carol Felsenthal-Chicago Magazine article on the topic? Yes I do. I do indeed.


  39. - Corrupt Collectivist - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 11:16 am:

    -A Jack, I’ve modified your post slightly: Honestly Rauner needs to fire all his communications staff and hire one really good therapist.


  40. - Jack Kemp - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 11:24 am:

    “I don’t think it’s ‘thought police’ to point out that the Governor is hiring people with extremist views to serve as his spokesfolks. If the Governor is hiring people who oppose Obamacare, that tells us something.”

    You mean to tell me that a Republican opposes Obamacare?! Boy golly gee whiz guys! Stop the presses! Hold the blog posts! This could be it. He might as well quit right now!


  41. - Jaded - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 11:26 am:

    I am not sure why anyone is surprised that a guy who doesn’t seem to want to govern continues to hire people who don’t know how to govern. Makes perfect sense to me.


  42. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 11:34 am:

    ===He might as well quit right now! ===

    Nice one.


  43. - Michael Westen - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 11:36 am:

    Rauner was against a lot of things back then.


  44. - don thelegend - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 11:58 am:

    It seems that Rauner and the IPI have figured out it’s better and cheaper to be the one who is Lobbyed rather than be the one doing the Lobbying.


  45. - Juvenal - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 12:01 pm:

    What matters I should headlines like this in Rockford:

    Rauner ignoring one of his ‘reform’ ideas

    Hurts now, hurts even more in 14 months to have headlines ripping you for breaking your own campaign promises to reform government.


  46. - Huh? - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 1:29 pm:

    It is illegal, immoral, fattening or hypocrisy if the other guy does it. If I do it then it is ok.


  47. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 2:02 pm:

    Ineffective lobbyist lands on state payroll.
    Yeah, that’s a new story.
    #ExileInRaunerville


  48. - Patty O'Furniture - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 2:26 pm:

    When you spend enough time in the swamp, the smell disappears and seems normal. This is typical Illinois politics. It’s a race to the bottom.


  49. - Ann - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 4:11 pm:

    How does this scenario work out? A state worker placed people in every agency into policy positions, then resigns to be a lobbyist and now lobbies these same placements. With much success. What are the ethical and legal aspects of this situation. Is it ok? Maybe something the IEG can look into? Don’t know. Any thoughts on this would be appreaciated.


  50. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 4:55 pm:

    Ann, in your research you might also want to make sure and check the effective date of the EO


  51. - Ann - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 5:35 pm:

    Looks like it applies. Will dive deeper. If this is the case, can the state get its monies back by an IEG penalty or does this need investigated by law enforcement?


  52. - Ann - Thursday, Jul 20, 17 @ 5:41 pm:

    Maybe we can get an opinion from the Radical Candor tweet people? They seem good at this type of research. I look forward to their input on this hypothetical situation.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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