Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x2 - Mitchell, McCann respond *** Rauner denies knowing about Willie Wilson cash give-away
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*** UPDATED x2 - Mitchell, McCann respond *** Rauner denies knowing about Willie Wilson cash give-away

Monday, Jul 23, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The governor held a press conference today to sign legislation that received unanimous support in both chambers. So, the press conference afterward was mainly about yesterday’s Willie Wilson event. Click here for background if you need it…

* The event was not on the governor’s public (state) schedule, but he did have someone from his campaign staff with him, so that’s a little bit problematic…

*** UPDATE 1 *** From Sen. Sam McCann…

Today, Illinois Senator and Conservative Party gubernatorial candidate Sam McCann issued the following statement in response to reporting and photographs of Willie Wilson and Bruce Rauner handing out $300,000 at an event in a South Side church:

Governor Rauner has reached a new low. For a gubernatorial candidate and a mayoral candidate to be photographed distributing cash to thousands of attendees in the heat of an election season is beyond bad judgment – it disqualifies Rauner from being Governor.

As $300,000 in so-called ‘property tax relief’ was distributed in cash, Bruce Rauner touted himself as the candidate who would fight for lower property taxes. This was a political event, and Bruce Rauner and Willie Wilson handed out stacks of cash.

This is not the kind of change Illinois needs. This is the kind of old-school Democratic Machine politics that got us where we are today. Republican and Conservative voters should reject Bruce Rauner and his attempt to buy another election.

Um, there are no photographs that I know of showing Gov. Rauner handing out cash.

* Today’s gaggle transcript


RAUNER: “No, I certainly did not and I don’t know that anybody else did.

REPORTER: “Was anybody from campaigns there?”

RAUNER: “Uh, anybody from my campaign staff? I think well one person, yeah. I think we did.”

REPORTER: “Is it true that 100,000 of that money came from you?”

RAUNER: “Well so, we should understand what happens. So, two things first. I worship at different church around the State of Illinois almost every Sunday, I try to every Sunday. And I have attended Reverend Thurston’s church, New Covenant, in the past where I attended yesterday. I was there primarily to worship, as I have done, and the Reverend asked me to speak which I occasionally do. So that’s why I was there. In terms of my money and my donations, Dr. Willie Wilson is a friend of mine and I’ve known him for five or six years. He’s a successful businessman, a successful entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He and I worked together on the issue of property taxes. Property taxes are out of control in the State of Illinois, they are much too high and some of the worst property taxes in America are in the African-American community south of Chicago and west of Chicago. There are property taxes for black families in the south suburbs – 12% of home value. Dr. Wilson came to me last year and he said, ‘Bruce could you help me? I’m putting in several hundred thousand would you join me in putting $100,000 of a donation so we can help families that are struggling and can’t pay their property taxes, to pay their property taxes.’ I said I would, I gave him $100,000 last year, and I believe he helped families with parts of my money, mostly his money. And in the last month or two I gave him another $100,000 at his request to help people pay their property taxes.”

REPORTER: “Did you know cash would be handed out yesterday?”

RAUNER: “I did not know that. I learned it after the fact and I do not support that.”

REPORTER: “Are you worried that it might be a violation of the criminal statute of the election code [INAUDIBLE]?

RAUNER: “I think the idea of handing out cash if you’re a candidate for office is outrageous. It should not happen.”

REPORTER: “Were you offended yesterday?”

REPORTER: “Well I learned after the fact, and I was pretty upset when I heard it was going on.”

REPORTER: “What are your concerns about the fact that some of this money is from you?”

RAUNER: “Well as far as I know no money of mine got handed out to anybody, we’re checking right now. If it did I’m going to demand my money back.”

REPORTER: “You said that $100,000 of the money gave out came from you.”

RAUNER: “You got to separate, what I’ve been told, you’ve got to separate out. It’s proper, and we checked the channels, doing a assistance for property tax payments for people who got checked and went through a process and got their name vetted and they got checks, that was a proper process. That’s what I was told my money went for, and I’m fine with that. I did it last year, I did it this year, and I’ll do it again next year. It has nothing to do with electioneering, it raises the profile of the issue of how unfair – African-American families in the south side paying 12% of home value in property taxes, it’s outrageous. Separate issue, I learned after the fact that Dr. Wilson was handing out cash. If that’s true, that’s wrong, it shouldn’t happen. None of my money should be used for that and I hope it wasn’t.”

REPORTER: “Where’d the money come from Governor? Was it from your foundation or – what was the source of the $100,000?”

RAUNER: “$100,000? I’ll have to check, I think it was just personal. I’ll find out, I don’t have the answer.”

REPORTER: “Did you see him handing out the cash and did it raise any concerns in your mind?”

RAUNER: “I did not anybody hand out any cash yesterday.”

REPORTER: “Did you have a conversation with Dr. Wilson about this?”

RAUNER: “I have not yet. Our team is doing their homework to find out exactly what happened and then when I know the facts I’m going to talk to the Doctor about it.”

REPORTER: “And the difference between the cash and the checks is what?”

RAUNER: “Vetting of the people who receive the money and the use of the money. I believe in helping people with their property taxes. I did it last year, and it should be vetted, the people checked, understand their property tax situation and their financial positions, and assisting those who might run the risk of losing their home. I’ve met people who were on the verge of having to be evicted because they couldn’t pay their property taxes. I met some at church yesterday. That’s fine for me as a philanthropist, I donate to many causes, that’s a worthy cause. Just handing out cash randomly to people, I’ve never done that and I think it’s not a good thing to do.”

REPORTER: “Why is it a bad thing to do?”

RAUNER: “It’s just not – if you’re a candidate for office, it’s one thing if you’re just a person and you just want to walk around and throw money I mean it’s a free country. If you’re a candidate for office, it’s not a proper thing to do.”

REPORTER: “Do you judge it violates election laws?”

RAUNER: “If it doesn’t I think it probably should.”

*** UPDATE 2 *** Press release…

Yesterday, Gov. Bruce Rauner joined Willie Wilson to hand out a reported $300,000 in cash to potential voters at New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church. With a campaign staffer on hand and after reportedly chipping in $100,000 of his own money, Rauner conducted one of the most highly unethical campaign stunts yet. In response, Democratic Party of Illinois Executive Director Christian Mitchell released the following statement:

“This is one of the most highly unethical campaign stunts Rauner has ever conducted, and it’s stunning that he would even dare show up in the black community after failing to pass a budget for four years and creating the highest unemployment rate for black people in the country,” said DPI Executive Director Christian Mitchell. “But to show up with a campaign staffer and hand out $100,000 in cash? It’s not only possible that it’s illegal, but the height of hypocrisy from someone who claims they want to ‘clean up the system.’”


  1. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:06 pm:

    Did the governor bring cash to the event, or did he give a check to Willie?

  2. - JS Mill - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:07 pm:

    Nice try governor, given your “truth” track record I am not buying it.

    Did he mention the little old lady bit?

  3. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:08 pm:

    Why doesn’t he demand the money back anyways, the appearance of impropriety is not good.

  4. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:11 pm:

    Who are goin’ to believe, Rauner or your lyin’ eyes?

    Willie, Richard Goldberg could probably give you the name of a dry-cleaner that specializes in bus-tire stains.

  5. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:11 pm:

    What did the governor say to Willie when he found out that the cash was being distributed?

  6. - Stark - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:11 pm:

    What’s he gonna do now? Break down the doors of all those folks and demand his $150 a pop back? What’s the strategy here? Just admit you dropped the ball because the double down on this will be painful to watch.

  7. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:12 pm:

    At what point did the governor find out cash was being distributed?

  8. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:15 pm:

    “Doesn’t think handing out cash randomly is a good idea.”

    This wasn’t random. This was a very specific church. Why did you go to that church, on that day to speak?

  9. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:15 pm:

    I wonder why Rauner wouldn’t mention this event on his campaign schedule? Lol.

    Yeah, demand your money back Governor. There are two thousand people who owe you $50. Good luck with that.

  10. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:16 pm:

    ===Willie, Richard Goldberg could probably give you the name of a dry-cleaner===

    Please, don’t get Goldberg started on dry cleaners. He has a story about one that lasts at least 30 minutes (but it seems like days). /s

  11. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:18 pm:

    Rauner should go back to the church next week and take a collection up for him, until he gets his $100,000 back.

  12. - Rutro - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:19 pm:

    The Bruce; I thought everyone came to this event to support the turnaround agenda.

  13. - Stark - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:23 pm:

    I wonder if Gov. Double Down can write this 100K loss off come next tax season.

  14. - Anon221 - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:24 pm:

    “Says if he finds out it was his $100k, he’ll demand it back…”

    So… was Rauner’s cash in Wilson’s hands, or the hands of the woman standing next to Wilson handing him the cash to hand out to the parishioners???

    Rauner is stuck with this through the election. He got what he paid for and a lot of “interest” to boot;)

  15. - IRS - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:29 pm:

    Did they issue a 1099 to each person too?

  16. - Annonin' - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:30 pm:

    Did laugh before he denied whatever he denied?
    The lyin’ laugh is the best clue.
    Remember this is a guy who rented a south side credit union in ‘14.

  17. - Archpundit - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:37 pm:

    I believe Rauner because as bad of a Governor as he is and as bad of a campaigner as he is, he’s cursed with bad press stories breaking out no matter what he does. It’s kinda funny mostly.

    Now that said, giving $100,000 to Willy may not have been wise.

  18. - Soccermom - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:41 pm:

    Is the Governor aware that money is fungible?

  19. - RNUG - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:56 pm:

    == Is the Governor aware that money is fungible? ==

    I’m sure he is; that’s why he had Munger stuff a bunch of cash in the State’s revolving funds so he could pay for pinstripe patronage during the budget impasse. He also did a pretty good job in the private sector of stripping cash assets out of businesses.

  20. - lakeside - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 2:00 pm:

    re: Soccermom

    “Don’t worry, folks. I have been assured it was not *my* 100,000 dollars, but, rather, a different $100,000 from the same account.”

    What does a win look like for Rauner with this approach? Wilson gives him back $100,000 and then… all those people at the church know Rauner - a guy they just got a real good look at - didn’t help them out.

  21. - Barrington - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 2:02 pm:

    So $350 million buys him the election assuming each recipient votes for Rauner.

  22. - Suburbanon - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 2:13 pm:

    Did the recipients have to sign a pledge not to vote for Madigan as Speaker?

  23. - Bruce (no not him) - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 2:31 pm:

    RAUNER: “$100,000? I’ll have to check, I think it was just personal. I’ll find out, I don’t have the answer.”
    I wish I had so much money, I didn’t know whether $100,000 came from my personal funds or not.

  24. - Northsider (the original) - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 2:33 pm:

    Rauner prefers to give out prepaid Visa gift cards in situations such as this.

  25. - Moe Berg - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 2:47 pm:

    Really seems like something Kim Foxx ought to be looking into. Interview people at the event to learn what was said and by whom. Did any of the media record it?

  26. - Anon - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 2:51 pm:

    I love the “money is fungible” argument. I use that when people tell me that Planned Parenthood doesn’t use taxpayer money for abortions.

  27. - Notorious RBG - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 3:11 pm:

    @ Bruce (no not him) - I had the same exact thought. He wrote a check to someone for $100k and has to check with someone else to find out if it was his personal account? Must be nice…

  28. - A non - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 6:52 pm:

    Really shakin’ things up.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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