Illinois Democrat candidate for governor and heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune J.B. Pritzker continued to face damaging headlines this weekend over his longtime ties to convicted ex-governor Rod Blagojevich. During an editorial board meeting at the Chicago Tribune, Pritzker received intense questions from moderators and attacks from fellow Democrats over his conduct on the FBI tapes.
The Chicago Tribune summed up the forum well, noting that Pritzker “found himself at the center of an attack-filled forum Friday as Democratic governor rivals accused him of being an insider who benefited from property tax breaks and questioned his relationship with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.”
In a statement that is sure to cause heartburn for Pritzker, the Hyatt heir claimed that he did not do “anything wrong” during his conversation with Blagojevich, despite clearly engaging the kind of pay-to-play politics with Blagojevich that has bankrupted Illinois.
J.B. Pritzker: “I have not been accused of any wrongdoing. I have not done anything wrong.” Watch here.
CBS Chicago reported that Pritzker was “under fire” at the forum over the Blagojevich tapes, while ABC Chicago said that Pritzker continues to be “haunted by wiretapped conversation with Blagojevich.”
J.B. Pritzker’s decision to defend his conduct with Blagojevich, which was caught on tape just days before Blagojevich was arrested, continues to show that Pritzker lacks the judgement needed to hold elected office.
The governor and other Republicans have been making a lot about Pritzker’s “I have not been accused of any wrongdoing” response to the Blagojevich story. But here’s a Rauner spokesman back in 2013 fending off claims that there was something hinky going on with Stu Levine…
“Bruce has never been accused of wrongdoing.”
It’s a standard line.
But, whatevs. Politics gotta be politics. Have at it.
* Meanwhile, I think the best line on Friday was delivered by Sen. Daniel Biss…
The biggest tussle was over the FBI tapes — recordings that show J.B. Pritzker angling with then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich for an appointment as state treasurer. The conversation is featured in an ad put out by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s re-election campaign.
“I’m just a little baffled as to why were you talking to this guy about these kinds of things,” editorial page editor John McCormick told Pritkzer.
“I was simply seeking the opportunity to do public service,” the candidate responded.
Primary opponent Daniel Biss chimed in: “If that phone call was your definition of public service, you’re doing it wrong.”