Posted by Barton Lorimor
* From a DGA Press Release…
Governor Bruce Rauner really outdid himself this time. Yesterday, Rauner linked “tornadoes” to the 2015 outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that killed 12 people at the state-run Veterans’ Home. Rauner’s response to the outbreak has been questioned for months, and yesterday’s statement is just the newest twist in his attempt to dodge blame.
“State and local public health authorities have looked high and low for the sources of fatal Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks at the Quincy veterans’ home. Now, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is offering a new theory. ‘Massive floods and tornadoes’ and ‘a lot of dirt.’ But Rauner offered no proof, and experts who spoke to WBEZ were skeptical.”
In fact, the National Weather Service said there were no tornadoes or unusual flooding near Quincy in July of 2015.
This is not the first time Rauner’s administration sought to spin blame onto something or someone else. An earlier uncovered email from a top Rauner official suggested the administration “tie this back” to combat veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth. Rauner still has not said if he agreed with the email.
“What’s Bruce Rauner going to blame next? Did earthquakes cause the spike in state debt? Are alien abductions really driving out-of-state migration?” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Rauner has now resorted to blaming mother nature for his failures but the truth is his administration has been a disaster of his own making.”
WBEZ posted its article last night that raised questions about the Governor’s remarks, which were made during an appearance Tuesday in Marion. Video of the event is here (Quincy Home comes up at about the 18-minute mark), and full audio is here (scroll to the 12th minute).
I have asked the Governor’s Office what information the Governor relied on in making his remarks, but according to McKinney…
Neither Rauner’s office nor the state public health department could point to any specific analysis that directly linked flooding in Quincy to the facility’s recurring Legionnaires’ outbreaks in 2015, 2016, 2017, and again this past February.
In a half dozen reports investigating the crisis at Quincy, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made no such linkage, and the head of the public works department in the west-central Illinois community told WBEZ he’s aware of no connection.