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Republicans pounce, Holocaust survivors defend

Tuesday, Sep 12, 2017

* From the ILGOP…

Pritzker’s $100K Contribution to Blagojevich: “Sounds like pay-to-play to me”
There’s a “trend” in Pritzker’s questionably close relationship to Blagojevich

In an interview with WLS’ John Howell & Ray Stevens, reporter and Connected To Chicago host Bill Cameron said J.B. Pritzker and Rod Blagojevich swapping campaign cash and state grants “sounds like pay-to-play to me”.

Here are some other highlights from Bill Cameron in that interview:

    “I’d be surprised if it were not pay-to-play.

    “…This is kind of a trend in which you now have [Pritzker] in a relationship with Blagojevich. The first one being having been caught on tape in an FBI wiretap trying to get Blago to line him up to be State Treasurer.

    “So being pals with Blago is never a good idea because Blagojevich turned out to be so toxic. Anyone, anything he touched is poisoned.

    “And you also have the property tax break after he pulled the toilets out of his Astor Street mansion. These are things that people will remember…”

Cameron is alluding to the bombshell Tribune report where it was revealed that Pritzker and Blagojevich swapped campaign cash and state grants four days apart.

Pritzker and Blagojevich are no strangers to helping each other out.

Since 1996, Pritzker bankrolled Blagojevich’s political interests, and in return, Blagojevich and Chicago ward bosses propped up Pritzker’s failed plans to run for office.

While Blagojevich may have failed to elect Pritzker, Pritzker still held up his end of the bargain. Pritzker and his family contributed over $160,000 to Rod Blagojevich’s campaigns.

And let’s not forget when the Chicago Tribune published their first bombshell report on Pritzker’s close ties to Blagojevich this past May.

FBI wiretaps revealed Pritzker schemed with Blagojevich to be appointed Illinois Treasurer. In the same call, Blagojevich pressed Pritzker for campaign contributions. Pritzker brushed off the FBI wiretaps by saying his calls with Blagojevich were an attempt at “public service”.

Illinoisans should be worried about what Pritzker will do if he’s allowed to buy the governor’s office just like he bought influence with Blagojevich.

Notice that the Holocaust Museum is not mentioned.

* From a letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune

The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center is more than just a museum for us. It is a place that tells our stories. As survivors, it brings light where there was only darkness. And that light was made possible in large part because of J.B. Pritzker’s dedication and commitment.

In 1999, we brought an idea to Pritzker. We wanted to bring a Holocaust museum to Illinois. We hoped he might help us get our idea off the ground. To our surprise and delight, he did a lot more than that.

For the next 10 years, Pritzker stood with us at every turn. He led the way to see our idea become a reality, tirelessly giving his time and his support to make it possible. He came to every meeting. He met every survivor. It was his heart and his warmth that resonated with us.

That’s why we were saddened to read the story “Pritzker camp: Donation not tied to grant. Billionaire boosted Blagojevich fund; museum got $1M” in the Chicago Tribune. We are incredibly proud to have worked with Pritzker to bring this museum in our state and the Tribune’s story is an insult to our hard work. It is an insult to a place that tells our stories. It is an affront to so many Holocaust survivors who have found solace and hope in what Pritzker helped make possible.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

26 Comments
  1. - A guy - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 9:24 am:

    It’s not nothing. He’s going to have to deal with this. It’s not getting smaller.


  2. - Crispy - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 9:28 am:

    ILGOP doubling down on a tenuous smear-story. Tasteless, plus it makes them come off as covertly anti-Semitic. Granted, Illinois politics isn’t noted for good taste and nuance. Still, kind of a low-life move. Hope it backfires on ‘em.


  3. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 9:30 am:

    The Trib owes its readers clarity. Either show more of a connection or retract the story.


  4. - Fax Machine - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 9:31 am:

    Yeah, they don’t need to hammer this home. The Blago-Pritzker link is gradually forming in voters’ minds and the story being in the Tribune helps that along. Why get your hands messy?


  5. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 9:34 am:

    Sooner or later, the Pritzker Crew will need to put to bed the Blago stuff… move it away from inuendo and manufactured “happenstance” and address the Blago anchor and move on from it.

    It is not one bit an accident that the Raunerites want this to be about Blago and not the museum.

    That’s the point of trying and putting to bed the Blago connections others want to take to heights others just didn’t see “that way”.

    Will the Pritzker Crew finally do something to quell this narrative? Dunno.


  6. - Rocky Rosi - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 9:35 am:

    Why can’t we stay on topic and talk issues? Taxes, building business, education and public safety are the issues both camps should be talking about and throwing mud.


  7. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 9:36 am:

    A hit’s a hit, but it seems weird to keep giving Pritzker an excuse to talk about how awesome he was for helping out with the museum, especially when that’s going to appeal to a demo that Biss is now struggling with.


  8. - DuPage Bard - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 9:50 am:

    So the GOP backs out of the Holocaust Museum narrative?
    Looks like Daniel Boss and Brad Schneider aren’t the only ones scared of the members of the faith.


  9. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 9:53 am:

    The toilets-at-the-mansion story is an effin-golden gift to all JB opponents. The negative spots write themselves. It’s got legs and will sting.

    But they’re playing with fire on the Holocaust Museum. The logic on the pay-to-play charge doesn’t hold up to a minute’s scrutiny. Blago didn’t need an inducement to curry favor from voters with taxpayer money. That was his thing. And ripping out toilets ain’t the same as committing a pay-to-play felony.

    JBs opponents might want to consider the risk/reward of pursuing a shaky political charge of felonious corruption at the Holocaust Museum and by a Jewish candidate for governor.

    Some might question who and what you’re trying to appeal to. Unless that appeal is the objective, of course. We’ve seen on our TV screens that there is an openly receptive market for that kind of political message in the public arena these days.


  10. - Perrid - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 9:59 am:

    I get that smears and innuendo are the name of the game, that the perception of wrongdoing is more important than actual evidence, but I expect this kind of stuff from politicians, not reporters. I also understand the idea that if there is smoke there is usually fire, but claiming that some smoke means there is a raging inferno, which the Tribune is doing with a wink and a nudge, borders on the deceptive. Maybe JB is crooked, but you should actually make the case before you start making claims.


  11. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 10:14 am:

    ==JBs opponents might want to consider the risk/reward of pursuing a shaky political charge of felonious corruption at the Holocaust Museum and by a Jewish candidate for governor.==

    Hypothesis: campaigns think there’s enough dust kicked up on the mansion thing that they’ll get dirty, too (probably true for Kennedy and Rauner), but that they can never say “Pritzker” and “Blago” together enough. I’m actually dubious on both points, but there’s a logic there.


  12. - Responsa - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 10:15 am:

    ==Maybe JB is crooked, but you should actually make the case before you start making claims.==

    Maybe more lack of reasonable judgement by JB than “crooked” is what people see here. People genuinely do not understand why on earth JB would make a large contribution to a crooked governor at a time when he was already clearly under scrutiny for granting “favors”, and others in IL politics had already recently taken a fall. What were you thinking, Mr. Pritzker? That’s what voters will need to hear from you if you want to put this to bed.


  13. - JackOfAllTrades - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 10:18 am:

    The people of Illinois have not forgotten about Governor Blagojevich’s $25,000 donation club where 3/4 of donors got lucrative contracts as a result of donating to Blagojevich. So for “Dems” to make the argument that after already being on FBI tapes and giving over $100,000 to Blagojevich that J.B. still has a chance to motivate Democrats to the polls when his brand is clearly compromised is ludicrous. The email controversy sunk Hillary in 2016 and Blago will do the same to J.B. in 2018.


  14. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 10:19 am:

    Since the Rauner-bankrolled ILGOP is pushing this, it’s time to ask the govenor whether he believes the Holocaust Museum and Prtizker were engaged in felonious political corruption. It’s his money advancing the accusation.

    Maybe Cameron wants to ask Rauner about that Hinz column alleging a scheme to sell Rauner executive staff jobs for IPI types in exchange for $30M in campaign contributions, quid pro quo.

    Sound like pay-to-play to you, Bill?


  15. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 10:26 am:

    Maybe Bill Cameron can explain in his “expert” opinion this was “pay to play” and all these trials, and all these witnesses, and all these evidentiary items… not one time was JB questioned, deposed, subpoenaed, asked to testify, or in any way brought into the large scale Blago sphere that US Attorney through would make Lincoln “roll over in his grave”

    (Lincoln is in a tomb, but I digress… )

    If the narrative is an innuendo game of the relationship based on perceived smoke from taped conversations that lead abc led nowhere…

    It comes down to… the narrative is an overall innuendo that truthfully had no legal crutch to hold up any of it.


  16. - The Dude Abides - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 10:32 am:

    Wishful thinking Jack. Rauner has a 4 year record as a Governor. When he ran for Governor he didn’t have a record as Governor to attack but Pat Quinn did. Now it’s Ptitzger who has that advantage and he has millions of dollars to attack that record and hammer away using the simple message that after 4 years Illinois under Rauner is in worse shape than it was before he became Governor. At least 60% of the voters understand that Rauner has made things worse. The GOP plan is to throw a lot of mud and hope some of it sticks.


  17. - Paul - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 10:36 am:

    It shows the GOP doesn’t care about the significance of the museum - anything is fair game. It says a lot to the Jewish communities that the GOP isn’t with them.


  18. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 10:37 am:

    ==The people of Illinois have not forgotten about Governor Blagojevich’s $25,000 donation club where 3/4 of donors got lucrative contracts as a result of donating to Blagojevich.==

    Oh, I bet they have. I mean, they still remember Blago, and they still don’t like him and just saying his name enough times will probably cost Pritzker some votes. But I don’t think voters by and large remember Blago’s manifest problems, or care to remember, or even need to.


  19. - JackOfAllTrades - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 10:51 am:

    2016 showed us that no matter the threat is to the country Democratic voters will not be motivated to vote if they think their candidate is corrupt, untrustworthy, and uninspiring. These FBI tapes and reports of paying to play will be blasted every day until the election and Democrats won’t be motivated to go to the polls because of it. We just saw this play out nationally.


  20. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 10:53 am:

    ==These FBI tapes and reports of paying to play will be blasted every day until the election and Democrats won’t be motivated to go to the polls because of it. We just saw this play out nationally.==

    But not, notably, in Illinois.


  21. - Lester Holt's Mustache - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 10:57 am:

    ==A hit’s a hit, but it seems weird to keep giving Pritzker an excuse to talk about how awesome he was for helping out with the museum==

    This. This hit brings up a perfect opportunity to run radio, TV and print ads featuring folks from the Holocaust museum promoting all the support JB has given them over the years. “Why does Governor Rauner’s campaign insist on lying about the support JB has given to those who survived the Holocaust?” one might ask in an ad. Does the ILGOP really want to open up that line of discussion? Do you really want this particular Governor giving that goofy belly laugh response and his boilerplate tell “The true story here is this,…” on this particular subject during a debate or Q & A? Better off sticking to the toilets story.


  22. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 11:13 am:

    ===People genuinely do not understand why on earth JB would make a large contribution to a crooked governor at a time when he was already clearly under scrutiny for granting “favors”, and others in IL politics had already recently taken a fall===

    RRB raised about $2.9 million in the last month of the campaign. Click here.


  23. - Anon0091 - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 11:16 am:

    Great point Lester Holt. And a guy who lied about his grandparents has to be pretty careful about lyin’ as the walls of his glass house are really thin.


  24. - Robert the 1st - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 11:22 am:

    I might have to vote in the Democratic primary in March. I really want JB to run against Rauner.


  25. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 11:33 am:

    ===People genuinely do not understand why on earth JB would make a large contribution to a crooked governor at a time when he was already clearly under scrutiny for granting “favors”, and others in IL politics had already recently taken a fall===

    Wouldn’t it probably be roughly the same reason that a plurality of voters voted for him at that time?


  26. - Jerry - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 1:41 pm:

    ILGOP seems to have forgotten that their self-anointed leader, Rauner, bought his office with his wealth. Pot calling kettle black.


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