* Greg Hinz…
Just six weeks after hitching his political future and much of his government to a group of hard-line conservatives, Gov. Bruce Rauner and the newcomers are headed to couples counseling and potentially a quickie divorce.
At issue in the separation, which involves not only political control but a reported $30 million in promised campaign donations, is whether Rauner will return to the sometimes moderate style he displayed when his inner circle was compromised of veterans of former U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk’s office or instead follow the more confrontational advice of arch-conservative consultant and operative Dan Proft and of the Illinois Policy Institute, a libertarian Chicago think tank.
Already, a deal in which Proft and donors closely connected to him were to have big influence in GOP legislative races next year has hit complications, with a top Proft associate stepping down as chief strategist of the governor’s re-election campaign. And some top IPI staffers who went to work for the governor’s office were fired or quit, with others rumored to be on the way out.
Meanwhile, things could heat up even more if Rauner signs a pending bill to guarantee abortion coverage for women on Medicaid and state employees. Doing so might infuriate much of the political right, but that didn’t stop the governor from recently signing an almost-as-controversial “motor voter” registration measure and a bill limiting the ability of local police to arrest illegal immigrants.
The marriage “is over. That relationship is gone,” says one top GOP insider who asked not to be named. “I think (Rauner) quickly realized the error of his ways.” […]
What hasn’t been reported is that around that time Proft and top donors, including industrialist Dick Uihlein, offered to sharply step up activity on Rauner’s behalf.
One source says they agreed to raise up to $30 million for legislative races, something that would allow Rauner to focus his own resources on his own re-election, in which he may end up running against Democratic billionaire J.B. Pritzker. Another source says there was an explicit understanding that, in exchange, Proft would pretty much run the legislative races and IPI staffers would come into senior government jobs. A third source says the $30 million offer wasn’t made until after the July staff shakeup.
Go read the whole thing.
I’ve heard the $30 million number, too. Heaven help the governor, because the US Attorney won’t, if there was even an “understanding” that the initial round of staff firings was in any way tied to a $30 million campaign contribution.
Also, Proft called House GOP Leader Jim Durkin a “pansy” on his radio show yesterday. So, things aren’t going well.