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Get ready for another intra-party rumble

Thursday, Aug 31, 2017

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

62 Comments
  1. - Juvenal - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 1:54 pm:

    That ain’t just an intra-party rumble.

    There was a time not-to-long ago when promising someone $30 million in exchange for giving your friends jobs was considered a crime.


  2. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 1:55 pm:

    A Pansy???? Oh Dan, you’re all class.


  3. - Keyrock - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 1:55 pm:

    “Pansy?” I hadn’t heard that word in a while. That must sting. /s


  4. - Steve - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 1:57 pm:

    The Illinois GOP has big problems. It can decide whether it wants to stand for something different than the Cook County Democrat machine or.. be the junior partner and always be in the minority. Why should voters vote for the GOP if there isn’t much of a difference between the parties? Why? Now, it could be that Illinois is such a blue state that nothing really matters anymore.


  5. - Some - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:03 pm:

    Media can’t seem to get the IPI numbers right. 2 left. Diana Rickert and Meghan Keenan. The rest remain.


  6. - JS Mill - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:04 pm:

    “Pansy” says Mr. Tough Guy himself from behind a microphone. /s


  7. - Canonymous - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:07 pm:

    Has anyone ever stopped to consider: the fact that Goldberg is actively trying to sabotage new staff indicates he … probably wasn’t too great an advisor/ally in the first place? Every other day there’s a new story from an unnamed source. It’s a bad look.


  8. - Short Term Relationship - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:08 pm:

    When are people going to figure out you can’t work with Proft. History shows he will turn on you no matter who you are. And it won’t take long.


  9. - Anon221 - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:11 pm:

    Ah… Now we know why Team Rauner is fundraisin’. It’ not just for “pizza change” anymore. /s


  10. - phocion - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:11 pm:

    Canon, careful before you assert as a “fact” something that is merely Proft’s paranoid ramblings and his excuse for exceptionally poor performance from the new team he helped engineer in.


  11. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:12 pm:

    I get the feeling the old Superstars are providing direction to some interesting topics.

    Raising campaign money in exchange for government jobs?

    Would anyone like to chit-chat about that in front of a grand jury?

    Some words of advice: It’s a felony to lie to the federales, even if you’re not under oath.

    When federales ask you a question, it’s highly likely they already know the truthful answer.

    Finally, those that get on the federales bus dont get run over by it.

    Happy trails.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:12 pm:

    If Durkin and Brady and the GOP can try to be less Raunerite and less Uihlein and Proft…

    … I’d like to see where I can find “a place”

    Right now, I have really no choices when it comes to where the GOP and where I am 80% of the time is where I’d like to find a landing spot.

    Fingers crossed(?)


  13. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:13 pm:

    Isn’t a pansy just a flower? I get it that a pansy is a delicate flower. If I were to compare Jim Durkin’s leadership to a flower, it’d be more of an orchid. Doesn’t bloom very often, but when it does, you get education reform.


  14. - Skeptic - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:13 pm:

    “$30 million in exchange for giving your friends jobs was considered a crime.” In fact in one recent administration, the going rate was only $25k. My how times have changed.


  15. - PJ - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:14 pm:

    What stands out to me most: why would $30 million persuade Rauner to do anything at all? The man made 5x that amount in the last year alone. It’s hard for me to believe he would enter some grand bargain based on a contribution that equals a minute fraction of his yearly take.


  16. - Skeptic - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:14 pm:

    Let me rephrase, “In fact, it was rumored that the going rate was $25K.” In otherwords, in the interest of truth, it wasn’t a fact.


  17. - DeseDemDose - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:16 pm:

    Illegal or Criminal activity by IPI?


  18. - It's Denner time - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:16 pm:

    “State Rep. Tom Denner” lol.

    Cheers to Proft for shaking up the useless GOP in this state.


  19. - RNUG - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:21 pm:

    Rut oh.

    Be interesting to see if this story has legs.


  20. - Ducky LaMoore - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:21 pm:

    ===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.===

    At least now when he trots Chris Christie out to campaign, he won’t be a hypocrite.


  21. - Dublin - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:21 pm:

    Rauner has these senior government positions and they are “Golden” (exclamation)


  22. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:22 pm:

    ==the fact that Goldberg is actively trying to sabotage new staff ==

    Careful what assumptions are made


  23. - Chicago 20 - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:22 pm:

    Another Illinois Governor heading to jail.


  24. - We'll See - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:26 pm:

    -It’s Denner time-
    I think it’s more accurate to say “Cheers to Proft for shaking down the useless GOP in this state.”


  25. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:28 pm:

    Can someone ask a question about this story at the bill signing in three minutes? Whenever “off-subject” questions are allowed.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:34 pm:

    Now, to “this”

    Here’s how this went down?

    Rauner gets $30 mil.

    In exchange…

    Rauner gives up… the governor’s office to Tillman, with Diana Rauner’s “brand blessing.

    Now, this does make sense.

    Even adding Brittany Carl hire, the “wholesale” (see what I did there) changes were indeed the IPI completely taking over Policy, Connunications, and The Chief of Staff.

    Normally, that would be a fair deal… $30 million for a whole governor’s office… but here’s where it gets so delicious.

    ‘Nember Rich Goldberg? He’s my favorite so I know I do. Rauner moves Goldberg out, not even offering… at all… a spot in the political apparatus.

    Welp, the Coup couldn’t force Z out, Z was already “out”, but close enough to protect, or so you would think.

    Diana Rauner wanted Goldberg gone, the IPI in, but, Diana also had to agree to what I’m building up to…

    … circling back… Goldberg gone… Secretary escorted out… Z can’t protect… so… “when is the other shoe dropping?”

    Thwap.

    The other shoe.

    So, Z met with Rauner, probably gave Rauner the “what fer” on all this, and the whole Goldberg/Secretary thing, and “ck”, and Lance, and…

    Here’s that thwap. Z needed to move for… Please, no snickering, at least out loud… for Besler.

    Proft needed Z out. Proft had no juice, no real juice really, and Diana wanted Goldberg gone and IPI in, so… make Z, force Z to 86 himself out.

    The Coup Plotters needed Z out… so make it untenable for Z.

    Now Besler, probably at IOP not answering messages from Ken Dunkin prepares to swoop in.

    If you read the release announcing Besler taking over, it was like “Z, welp, you coulda stayed, you chose this, look what ol’ Matt got”

    Long story short…

    “@RadicalCandorIL”, Brittany Carl and “Body Guy #1″, boched AV, Bret Baier, IPI Cartoon, “as a white male”, Diana’s “brand” exposed…

    Purge… Coup failure….

    … and Diana Rauner, the Democrat, whose precious brand was tarnished within Winnetka Cocktail Parties… was again perplexed… “Why won’t anyone like us?”

    Funny thing about Coups…

    … they expose truths to those who were misled, they expose the fibs that misled the truth.

    And Diana Rauner has a brand… that can’t be fixed… $30 million… or not.


  27. - walker - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:37 pm:

    Profit has been actively recruiting candidates to Primary Republican legislators who resisted Rauner. Let’s see if anything changes. Petitions right around the corner.


  28. - Ghost - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:38 pm:

    PJ

    If Rauner ends up ahainst JB he will need every penny for his own campaign. the 30 mil would go to the other gop canidates so Rauner wouldnt have to fund them.

    Rauner bought the GOP locally by promissing to fund them, back when he could outspend any opponent. he has used that to keep them inline. But now he cant outspend JB so he needs the back up his support for the folks he bought, and he needs lots more money.


  29. - Highland IL - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:38 pm:

    Doesn’t it make sense that Proft and his sponsors elect their own GOP legislators to pick their own 4 top? Is it too late to recruit for the primaries this year?


  30. - chi girl - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:40 pm:

    I don’t get the $30 million thing.

    What campaign would the contribution be going to? Rauner’s?

    That makes no sense - no way he’s spent his $70 million yet, and he can just call up Griffin, Uihlein, Zell, or himself. I see no reason he would risk or give up anything for a mere $30 million. He’s not your average candidate in that way.

    Can someone explain this to me if I’m wrong?


  31. - chi girl - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:42 pm:

    @Ghost - just saw your post. That’s an interesting thought, but Rauner has already given himself $50 million, and JB only $21 million (although JB is actually spending it)…so it seems to me he wouldn’t be threatened by that at all.


  32. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:42 pm:

    $30 million here, $30 million there, soon you’re talking a lot of money


  33. - Keyrock - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:44 pm:

    I remember when a job just cost 1% of your salary in “campaign contributions,” along with regular precinct work.


  34. - The Captain - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:46 pm:

    Here’s why that $30 million number is interesting, it’s almost exactly the amount that Rauner has given the Illinois Republican Party in the last two cycles. If Rauner wasn’t going to give any money to the House/Senate effort and he really did want to have enough money in there to fight for control of the House it makes sense that this is the number they’d come up with.


  35. - Roman - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:50 pm:

    == if Rauner signs a pending bill to guarantee abortion coverage ==

    There’s still a parliamentary hold on that bill, it hasn’t been put on the Guv’s desk. Maybe now is the time to release it?


  36. - Retired Educator - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:51 pm:

    Well the plot thickens. No one knows who dropped the dime this time. If they do it won’t be mentioned aloud. One thought—When Madigan is quiet, he is very dangerous. He hasn’t talked much lately. He does like to do research (or have it done). I am sure the Speaker can afford a dime.


  37. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:52 pm:

    “Isn’t a pansy just a flower?”

    Makes a tasty and colorful garnish on a salad.


  38. - Thoughts Matter - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:52 pm:

    There’s probably a bed open in the Illinois wing out in Colorado next to Blago. This sounds very familiar. Don’t our politicians( even the new ones) ever learn from others mistakes?


  39. - Keyrock - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:55 pm:

    It isn’t at all clear to me that promising to donate $30 million to a campaign fund for legislators in exchange for appointing allies to Rutan-exempt positions is illegal.


  40. - Honeybear - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 3:05 pm:

    Please God let the IPI’s stay in power.
    Their hubris and incompetence
    Is totally to our advantage
    Lt. Goldberg new how to “fight the ship”
    IPI knows theory
    Not reality


  41. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 3:09 pm:

    - It isn’t at all clear to me that promising to donate $30 million to a campaign fund for legislators in exchange for appointing allies to Rutan-exempt positions is illegal. -

    It is.


  42. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 3:12 pm:

    If you guys think Rauner would risk an indictment and ruin his life for $30 million, then I have a sale on tin foil hats going on right now.


  43. - We'll See - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 3:16 pm:

    -Keyrock-
    At onetime working for the state in Kankakee County compelled one to purchase a Rambler or a Cadillac.


  44. - Skeptic - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 3:18 pm:

    Keyrock: The term for that is “quid pro quo.” The other term for that is also “illegal.”


  45. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 3:18 pm:

    Mr. raccon, history offers endless examples of rich guys and politicians who did stupid things they didn’t have to, where the downside far exceeded the upside.


  46. - Juvenal - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 3:22 pm:

    @Racoondom:

    The white collar prisons are brimming with guys who thought they would never get caught.


  47. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 3:26 pm:

    ==If you guys think Rauner would risk an indictment and ruin his life for $30 million, then I have a sale on tin foil hats going on right now.==

    Good thing the Gov’s office has a solid comms team to deal with these accusations…


  48. - Keyrock - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 3:27 pm:

    I phrased my statement poorly.

    If the exchange was so crass as to be you pay x and I hire y and z (ok, maybe not “Z”), that would be a bribe. But what if the statements were “we’ll work together and merge our efforts, and your top people will come work with me while your folks will raise a lot of money for legislators given our shared interest in their success?”


  49. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 3:29 pm:

    Willy. You obviously were in a substantial political position at one time. Your insight and chess moves are impressive. You gots some &$/@s too, taking on Rauners and the other folks. One thing, though. Usually when someone says, “to make a long story short”, “too late” comes to mind. Lol


  50. - Due - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 3:33 pm:

    Don’t see the possible connection between campaign contributions and staff reorg as even a possible criminal matter. Maybe someone can enlighten us. Your staff decisions aren’t akin to taking official action in terms of “Honest Service” under the federal criminal code


  51. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 3:34 pm:

    We’ll See - oh, yeah. And smilin’ Ed would be just outside the voting cabin (Birds Park) on Water Street on Election Day just to say “Howdy”. Along with his minions.


  52. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 3:35 pm:

    I have no idea how it all went down, and this…

    ===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===

    That’s Hinz working, and doing his own work to that.

    Speculation off those Hinz written words, I’m riffing off if that could have happened.

    Rich really speaks to the reality for me 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.===

    “if there was”

    For me, that’s everything. So…


  53. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 3:35 pm:

    Rauner currently has in his inner staff two warring factions: those that came in with the Superstars and the IPI types.

    It doesn’t take a Harvard MBA to recognize the danger there. Political types like to chit-chat with their friends and reporters about those they don’t like.

    On another front, Durkin certainly has been a loyal soldier to Rauner. Does Rauner still play ball with Proft after that juvenile on-air slur?

    Does Proft load his drawers if he sees Durkin on the street?


  54. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 3:38 pm:

    ===The white collar prisons are brimming with guys who thought they would never get caught.===

    And that they could buy their way out of trouble if they were.


  55. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 3:48 pm:

    ===were in a substantial political position at one time===

    Nope.

    Think Crash Davis, with no two-weeks in “The Show”… then go lower… then there was me.

    ===You gots some &$/@s too, taking on Rauners and the other folks.===

    As Mr. Potter says, “I sit on my brains all day”, and you’re far too geverous, I’m not half as smart as you think I may be, nor am I half as brave as I appear.

    This, I was desperately hoping, and it’s no snark because I love the set up as much as the joke…

    ===Usually when someone says, “to make a long story short”, “too late” comes to mind===

    … and now, my work here’s complete. Thank you. Perfect.


  56. - Sue - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 3:49 pm:

    Rich- you have made a highly irresponsible assertion. What possible basis is there for your USA comment?


  57. - L.A. - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 4:09 pm:

    “you have made a highly irresponsible assertion. What possible basis is there for your USA comment?”

    Read it again. You obviously missed the meaning.

    And if you read it again and still don’t get it, please don’t ask anyone to explain it to you.

    And if you do ask for an explanation after reading it again, please don’t anyone respond.


  58. - Confused - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 4:10 pm:

    Temper tantrums are for kids not adults. It comes down to money and power and IPI and Proft didn’t get what they wanted.


  59. - Flynn's mom - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 4:12 pm:

    This is Blagoesq, it’s (banned word) golden.


  60. - Flynn's mom - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 4:13 pm:

    If an elk head or fur lined cape shows up in any of the Rauner homes we could have a problem/s


  61. - Sideline Watcher - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 4:13 pm:

    What possible basis is there for your USA comment?

    um…the article.


  62. - Ok - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 4:17 pm:

    It ain’t just about the jobs, guys. It’s the veto and the A/V, too.


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* The cracks in the White Sox-Manny Machado rumors
* Hahn mum on any White Sox-Machado talks


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