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*** UPDATED x1 *** Edgar County Watchdogs files OEIG complaint

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

* The Edgar County Watchdogs ran another story the other day about campaign and messaging e-mails between Diana Rauner and others, including then communications director Diana Rickert. Click here to read it. They’ve been publishing other stories on this topic for a while now (Click here, here and here). Well, they’ve taken it to the next level

In light of the multi-part series we have published recently regarding the activities taking place in the Office of the Governor, specifically, Washington DC campaign figures driving policy with direct communications to state officials in the Governor’s Office, we looked closely at our Illinois State Ethics Act. […]

In this case, we have filed a formal complaint with the Office of the Executive Inspector General (OEIG).

* From the complaint

Based on included information and privileged sources, we believe Governor Bruce Rauner has given his campaign staff control over policy making decisions and communications from his gubernatorial, state government office and is, concurrently, forcing state government staff to work, against their will, on his re-election effort. […]

In conclusion, the activities and circumstances outlined above appear to be clear evidence of violation of the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, 5 ILCS 430 5-15(a)-(c). They appear to reveal a governor who violated this law as he was gearing up for his re-election campaign, allowing that campaign and those who run it to direct policy and communications for the official governor’s office.

We request an immediate investigation and resolution of this matter and the recusal of Gov. Rauner from appointing the next Inspector General, as they will be investigating this very serious case. That person needs to be independent of the governor.

* This timeline is also in the complaint

• July 10, 2017 - Gov. Rauner hires new Chief of Staff, Kristina Rasmussen, new communications director, Diana Rickert and new campaign staff as well as new general consultancy, Coldspark, for his re-election campaign.

• July 27, 2017 -Amidst debate in Congress over repeal of Obamacare, Rauner Campaign Consultant Nachama Soloveichik and First Lady Diana Rauner discuss Gov. Rauner’s public position on the issue, including which groups “can be helpful” to his re-election if he publicly opposed Congressional Republicans. Top State Government Staff, Chief of Staff Kristina Rasmussen and Communications Director Diana Rickert, are cc’d on the email.

• Aug. 3, 2017 - Diana Rauner emails Rasmussen, Rickert, Soloveichik and her partner, campaign consultant Mark Harris, advising that Gov Rauner should agree to support a K- 12 School Funding measure he has long opposed “to rewrite the narrative of the past two and a half years.”

• Aug. 4, 2017 - Gov. Rauner leads a meeting of his new state govt. staff and his campaign staff to discuss their organization structure and reporting. General Counsel Dennis Murashko expresses concerns in the meeting regarding political staff directing official staff.

• Aug. 21, 2017 -Murashko delivers a memo on Rauner’s state government office and how it is ethically and legally required to govern itself with regard to campaign staff and the re-election team. Rauner resists the memo.

• Aug. 23, 2017 Murashko resigns, giving two weeks’ notice.

• Aug. 24, 2017 Rickert and her communications team resign. Rauner’s office publicly says it is about a communications flap; privately, sources say, their departure is actually over
issues related to the memo.

• Aug. 25, 2017 Murashko is escorted out of his state office; The reason given: an anonymous OEIG complaint against him.

• Aug. 30, 2017 Rauner officially sign the K-12 school funding bill, the subject of the Aug. 3 email.

• Sept. 5, 2017 - An anonymous source tells reporter Natasha Korecki of Politico that the Murashko OEIG complaint alleged “he had misused the powers of his office.”

• Sept. 7, 2017 -An anonymous source tells reporter Rich Miller of Capitol Fax that “there’s speculation from inside that the memo Murashko wrote about politics in the governor’s office might have been drafted to somehow protect himself from the OEIG beef.”

• Sept. 20, 2017 Rauner publicly announces his opposition to the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill pending in Congress, the subject of the Jul. 27 email. The language he uses in his statement mirrors the language suggested in that email.

• Dec. 8, 2017 Murashko’s memo is leaked to Miller, who publishes it.

• Dec. 11, 2017 Korecki complains publicly that her Freedom of Information requests to the Governor’s office, asking for Murashko’s resignation letter and the memo, have been ignored. Rauner’s office responds by releasing the resignation letter, but not the memo, which is already public on account of the leak.

• Dec. 12, 2017 Rauner tells reporters that the Murashko memo was “created at my urging.”

• Jan 4, 2017 Murashko defends himself on Facebook, suggesting his “professional integrity” was tested in the governor’s office, but he chose to do the “right thing.”

• Mar. 9, 2017 The OEIG exonerates Murashko, who publicly slams the anonymous complaint as “baseless” and restates that the memo he wrote “was necessary.” He does not validate Rauner’s claim that he told Murashko to write it.

I’ve been trying to reach Rickert for weeks to no avail. But if she claims that she left over issues related to the Murashko memo and not because she was fired after all the chaos, things could get interesting.

…Adding… On background, a senior Rauner official said in no uncertain terms that Rickert was fired for releasing that now notorious “as a white male” press release without getting clearance. The official also claimed that Rickert was “clearly” the one leaking these e-mails to the Edgar County Watchdogs “in an effort to rehabilitate her reputation.”

*** UPDATE *** Governor’s office…

Rich,

This is lazy and inaccurate conjecture quoting anonymous sources. This office follows all ethics laws. If there is an investigation, we will fully cooperate.

Rachel Bold
Press Secretary
Office of Governor Bruce Rauner

- Posted by Rich Miller        

37 Comments
  1. - Leigh John-Ella - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 3:35 pm:

    Remember, just sending out a press release can cost you a couple grand in fines if it crosses the ethical line.

    https://capitolfax.com/wp-mobile.php?p=10050&more=1


  2. - Henry Francis - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 3:37 pm:

    ==things could get interesting==

    I would suggest we are already there. Mixing of state employees and campaign employees is a big no-no. Sure you are going to have state employees also working on the campaign, but they have to be very careful and clear which hat they are wearing.

    That August 4th meeting looks real bad.

    That July 27th email is bad if Rasmussen’s and Rickert’s state email was used.

    And that Rasmussen, Rickert and Murashko all seem to have lost no love with the Guv is bad. For the Guv.


  3. - Interested - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 3:39 pm:

    To think that Jerry Stermer resigned because he received two or three campaign related emails at his state email address. Imagine if these people were held to that standard! I doubt that there would be anyone left in BRs office!


  4. - Anon0091 - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 3:51 pm:

    Rauner can explain how he’s going to bury Pritzker all he wants, but in the end he’ll have to defend his abominable record that includes gems like these.


  5. - Not Rich - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 4:03 pm:

    Ol Uncle Brucie is in the deep end of the swamp..LOL


  6. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 4:05 pm:

    Dear Senior Official,

    If it is true that Rickert is leaking this stuff to ECW how does that make what she has exposed better or more reasonable behavior?


  7. - Amalia - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 4:05 pm:

    they are on top of things all over the place so this may stick. they filed a complaint against the Maine Township supervisor, and the AG issued a non binding finding of multiple violations of the Open Meetings Act.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 4:08 pm:

    The “as a white male” release will haunt Rickert for a very, very, VERY long time.

    You can think it, you can say it in a private setting…

    You can’t type it, let alone send it, or put it out as a release.

    This IS the Diana Rickert work-product.

    She can leak all the memos she wants, but Rickert wrote it.


  9. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 4:21 pm:

    Didn’t Rickerts get this ball rolling with her email FOIAs?

    The complaint filed as a result does not reflect well on her. At all.

    Surprising that IPI crew couldn’t cut it in real jobs….


  10. - Real - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 4:24 pm:

    Why are you all so focused on Rickert? Rauner is the one that will be in trouble if violations are foubd.


  11. - Real - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 4:24 pm:

    Why are you all so focused on Rickert? Rauner is the one that will be in trouble if violations are found.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 4:27 pm:

    ===Based on included information and privileged sources, we believe Governor Bruce Rauner has given his campaign staff control over policy making decisions and communications from his gubernatorial, state government office and is, concurrently, forcing state government staff to work, against their will, on his re-election effort. […]

    In conclusion, the activities and circumstances outlined above appear to be clear evidence of violation of the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, 5 ILCS 430 5-15(a)-(c). They appear to reveal a governor who violated this law as he was gearing up for his re-election campaign, allowing that campaign and those who run it to direct policy and communications for the official governor’s office.

    We request an immediate investigation and resolution of this matter and the recusal of Gov. Rauner from appointing the next Inspector General, as they will be investigating this very serious case. That person needs to be independent of the governor.===

    Diana Rauner having the political operative and the Governor’s Comm office in the same email chain doesn’t look too great.

    If Diana becomes the one to sink all this… you can’t make this up.

    The memo was written to clarify where “someone” might be confused.

    Then the writer of the memo is escorted out?


  13. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 4:30 pm:

    ===Why are you all so focused on Rickert?===

    When you write “as a white male” purposely as a response, and before you took that exact job, your sole purpose was complaining how bad the people you eventually replace were at their jobs…

    … yeah, my focus is where it should be.


  14. - Real - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 4:38 pm:

    Rickerts is not going to be punished for that statement as a result of this complaint. This complaint will hopefully get GovJunk punished. Forget Rickerts.


  15. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 4:50 pm:

    ===Rickerts is not going to be punished for that statement as a result of this complaint.===

    (Sigh)

    Rickert, after being fired for thinking “as a white male” should be in a press release, won’t even acknowledge on her Linkedin her weeks of working for state government, but writes an embarrassingly sad op-ed about… you guessed it… working for the state… never mentioning why she’s no longer there… then FOIAs the office she once worked for… right again… these emails, to then pass them on *cough* allegedly *cough* tonthe Edgar County Watchdogs… and leave the attorney who wrote the memo surrounding the complaint out to dry all these weeks…

    Rickert is an unprofessional, low grade, not even worthy of the term Flack… who now, because she couldn’t hack it as a governor’s comm person… feels the need to insert herself again.

    All this… reflects poorly on Rickert, who, in the end, wasn’t at all qualified (actually writing in a release for a governor “as a white male” and sending it out?) to handle the position she coveted.

    Capiche?


  16. - Real - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 4:55 pm:

    Rickert didn’t hire herself. She was hired and hand picked by GovJunk who is the subject of this complaint. I could care less about her statement as I believe it’s a statement Rauner made himself.. And if not she knew a private side of him that would make those type of statements.


  17. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 4:58 pm:

    ===I could care less about her statement as I believe it’s a statement Rauner made himself.. And if not she knew a private side of him that would make those type of statements.===

    Any competent Flack would never, ever either write it, or quote someone they work for saying it.

    Letting Rickert off the hook misses the whole point of what happened with the memo and why we are where we are.

    Keep up.


  18. - Real - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 5:03 pm:

    Rickert is off the hook for me. I want Rauner gone.


  19. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 5:10 pm:

    “This is lazy and inaccurate conjecture quoting anonymous sources.”

    It took them 90 minutes to come up with that non-denial denial? Super lame, Rachel.


  20. - Henry Francis - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 5:16 pm:

    Rachel,

    Thanks for confirming the Guv is in deep yogurt here.


  21. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 5:16 pm:

    Let’s break this down, shall we?

    ===This is lazy and inaccurate conjecture quoting anonymous sources. This office follows all ethics laws. If there is an investigation, we will fully cooperate.===

    “This is lazy and inaccurate conjecture quoting anonymous sources.”

    If you can’t go after the quotes, go after the “sources and… “… and yes, no denial.

    “This office follows all ethics laws.”

    As with any and every office, until they don’t.

    “If there is an investigation, we will fully cooperate.”

    Who says they won’t cooperate?

    I miss the “Rauner Word Jumble”


  22. - Back to the Mountains - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 5:34 pm:

    “[L]azy and inaccurate conjecture” is basically all they do.


  23. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 6:14 pm:

    On the other hand, I never realized the ECWd went to law school.


  24. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 6:59 pm:

    Ummmmm….I think Murashko was very detailed in the memo. I think he nailed you guys.

    buy buy IPI


  25. - Just Me - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 7:07 pm:

    This is the type of nonsense that happens when you bring in folks with zero public sector experience to run government. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.


  26. - A Jack - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 7:24 pm:

    Nixon complained about anonymous sources too.


  27. - Leave a Light on George - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 7:26 pm:

    “This is the type of nonsense that happens when you bring in folks with zero public sector experience to run government. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy”

    Or democrats like Gov. Blago


  28. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 7:31 pm:

    –Why are you all so focused on Rickert?–

    This is her play.

    –On background, a senior Rauner official said in no uncertain terms that Rickert was fired for releasing that now notorious “as a white male” press release without getting clearance.–

    Huh. I’m certain I read on the tronc edit pages that she resigned because of truth, justice, the American way and her computer didn’t work. Or something.

    If you can’t trust the tronc edit board for honesty……

    – The official also claimed that Rickert was “clearly” the one leaking these e-mails to the Edgar County Watchdogs “in an effort to rehabilitate her reputation.”–

    This what I don’t get. How does it “rehabilitate her reputation.”

    According to the timeline, Rasmussen and Rickert are clearly doing campaign politics on the taxpayer dime.

    Yet Rickert is making the beef here that makes her look like a taxpayer funded corrupt hack.

    Is that what she wants? Or is she just that thick?


  29. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 7:37 pm:

    ===According to the timeline, Rasmussen and Rickert are clearly doing campaign politics on the taxpayer dime.

    Yet Rickert is making the beef here that makes her look like a taxpayer funded corrupt hack.

    Is that what she wants? Or is she just that thick?===

    She typed “as a white male” in a release, not thinking twice about it….

    “Or is she just that thick?”

    Well…


  30. - MyTwoCents - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 8:12 pm:

    Arthur Anderson, ECWd typically go with the “we’re not lawyers but…” and then go on to opine like they are lawyers. Usually they like to advocate for the most severe consequences and charging everybody with crimes.


  31. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 8:40 pm:

    Having state employees and campaign consultants in the same email chain is a dead giveaway.

    Referencing campaign polling in an email to state employees is also a dead giveaway. Especially when you make a passing reference to it that makes it clear this is not the first time you have mentioned the poll to these folks.

    This is eerily reminiscent of Patti & Rod Blagojevich, except they were smart enough not to use emails. Or maybe Rod didnt know how to use email, it was never clear.


  32. - RNUG - Tuesday, Mar 13, 18 @ 9:13 pm:

    Lot of smoke. I expect this will keep on smoldering for a great months before it catches fire. JB could just sit back and cherry-pick the allegations for use in his attack ads.


  33. - hisgirlfriday - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 12:56 am:

    @YDD - FWIW, Rod’s performance on Celebrity Apprentice portrayed him as unable to operate a computer entirely.

    @wordslinger - I am not seeing from the e-mails disclosed by ECW that this shows Rickert doing political work on the taxpayer dime. Perhaps they show Diana Rauner, e-mailing about politics in two of the e-mails from her Illinois.gov First Lady e-mail address, trying to get state employees to do such work on the taxpayer dime by e-mailing their Illinois.gov e-mail accounts. But from these articles, there’s no e-mail back from Rickert showing what she did in response or what she did to prompt such messages from Mrs. Rauner.

    It is interesting that this series of e-mails shows Diana Rauner sometimes e-mailing them from an Illinois.gov account to their Illinois.gov accounts but at other times reached out via her gmail account to their gmail accounts.


  34. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 5:24 am:

    ==This is lazy and inaccurate conjecture quoting anonymous sources.==
    But anonymous sources were believed by Rauner’s administration. And led to Murashko’s humiliating early departure.


  35. - Amalia - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 9:08 am:

    laughing as a quote attributed to Edgar County Watchdogs appears on screen in a tv commercial. yes, those guys are for real.


  36. - Kirk Allen - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 10:25 am:

    “If there is an investigation” ???? Are they telegraphing that there will not be an investigation?


  37. - Kirk Allen - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 10:26 am:

    Not finding anonymous quotes in our work? Maybe I missed that.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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