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*** UPDATED x3 *** Willie Wilson denies $300K cash handout was political

Monday, Jul 23, 2018

* Shia Kapos

This one is a doozy, even by Chicago standards: Millionaire Chicago mayoral candidate Willie Wilson handed out $300,000 in cash to attendees at a South Side church Sunday. And it gets better: According to Wilson, $100,000 of it came from Gov. Bruce Rauner.

In a video aired on WGN on Sunday, Wilson is seen holding a wad of bills and handing out a few to each person in line after a church event attended by the governor. Wilson said he put in $200,000 of the money, while Rauner pitched in for the other $100,000.

A source familiar with the foundation said Rauner did pay $100,000, but it was to Wilson’s nonprofit and he was “not aware” that cash would be distributed at Sunday’s event. […]

In an interview with POLITICO, Wilson insisted philanthropy — not politics — was behind the gesture and that Rauner has donated before to give money to those in need through the foundation.

“We help people that need property taxes paid and food to eat and electric bills paid and senior citizens help. We’ve probably done this six times over the past two or three years,” said Wilson, referring to his foundation. The Chicago businessman has a rags to riches story. He’s the son of a Louisiana sharecropper who worked as a janitor before becoming an early owner of McDonald’s franchises. He’s since expanded his business interests and runs a multimillion-dollar plastic glove distribution business.

* Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel

Republican state Rep. David McSweeney asked on Twitter, “How can Willie Wilson, a candidate for Mayor of Chicago, literally hand out CASH at a public event? This is so wrong!”

But when asked about allegations of vote buying, Wilson said, “There’s no truth to that at all.”

Meanwhile, Rauner is locked in his own difficult battle for re-election.

“Gov. Rauner attended a Sunday service at the New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church as a guest of Rev. Stephen Thurston,” Will Allison, a spokesman for Rauner’s campaign, said. “The governor has attended Sunday services at different churches across Illinois since he first ran for office, and other elected officials and community leaders are often present.”

* Media advisory sent early yesterday morning by the Willie Wilson Foundation

For more than 20 years, Humanitarian Dr. Willie Wilson has given away his heart…and his money, to those less fortunate and those who simply need a helping hand. This year, the man who puts his all into everything he does is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, Wilson is stepping things up – bigger and better!

On Sunday, July 22nd at 10:00am, Wilson will give away $300,000 to assist struggling homeowners who are being threatened with losing their homes because of staggering property tax bills. Wilson will present the relief to homeowners at New Covenant Baptist Church, 754 East 77th Street, Chicago IL 60619 where Rev. Stephen J. Thurston is the pastor.

After nearly five years, Wilson increased his giving this year by a whopping $100,000! This increase was necessary due to the ridiculous property tax hikes that are strangling these hardworking homeowners. Wilson has vowed not to stand by idle and allow folks to get choked out under the weight of the outrageous tax hikes. He has also committed to working on getting the state tax bill rolled back from an 8-month term to a 12-month term to further help the residents. […]

More than 2,000 people are expected to attend this annual charitable giveaway. Wilson will also be assisting hundreds of senior citizens to purchase much-needed food and medication. Individuals who are a part of the Second Chance programs will also receive a “hand up” from the popular businessman. Individuals from Pacific Gardens and Sister House mission and recovery shelters will participate as well, and will receive crucial aid to help them on their way.

* WGN’s Tahman Bradley

Wilson’s campaign spokesman insists today’s appearance was not campaign related. But Chicago politicos on both sides of the aisle raised concerns about the event. […]

Winslow insists the campaign is not violating any campaign finance laws since it was not involved with today’s handout. But the event certainly had a political feel.

During the event, Rauner also addressed the church in brief remarks. The governor shared with worshippers that he received an award from the National Black Chamber of Commerce at in event in Washington, D.C. this past Friday, and talked about his work reforming Illinois’ criminal justice system and boosting education funding for schools. […]

“You pay the highest property taxes in America here in Chicago and the South Side and the south suburbs, “ said Rauner. “This is wrong. The system is broken and I’m trying to fix it.”

* WGN video

I’ve already told subscribers my opinion about yesterday’s cash dash, so I’ll leave it at that.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Despite Wilson’s denial that this was a campaign event, his campaign’s Facebook page broadcasted it live yesterday


Willie Wilson help those in Need regardless of race, creed, or color!

Posted by Willie Wilson on Sunday, July 22, 2018

*** UPDATE 2 *** JB Pritzker’s campaign manager



*** UPDATE 3 *** Tribune

Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman Matt Dietrich said the fact that the money came from Wilson’s foundation seems to allow him to avoid running afoul of campaign finance laws.

“As far as we can see, it looks like he didn’t use campaign funds for this,” Dietrich said. “And there doesn’t appear to have been any quid pro quo, like, ‘Here’s some money, vote for me.’ So from our perspective, it doesn’t look like there was anything illegal about this.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

53 Comments
  1. - what the what - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 9:21 am:

    Let’s just say he can legally defend this as not political (that is a stretch). it still does not necessarily qualify as a charitable contribution. he probably violated IRS rules on charitable giving

    This is one of the most blatantly criminal, corrupt and overt political stunts we have seen in a while. I am honestly shocked that Governor Rauner was dumb enough to participate and fund this. he’s normally more cautious and reserved. This is a major scandal IMO.


  2. - PJ - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 9:26 am:

    If this was done in secret, it would be investigated (correctly) as a felony. But because he sent out a press release and invited cameras, they’ll get away with it.

    “I’m running for mayor, here’s $100 for your property taxes” is the most blatant vote buying you could possibly envision without literally standing outside the polling place while you’re doing it.

    If this isn’t vote buying, what is? Do you have to explicitly say “I am giving you this money in exchange for your vote” with cameras present? Is that really the standard we want?


  3. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 9:27 am:

    People outside of Illinois think this is acceptable in Illinois. it is not. Did this happen in 2014? did governor rauner bring cash to distribute? If so, will he be doing this at other churches downstate?


  4. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 9:28 am:

    In Sunday School, I heard a story about this guy who got really mad about money-changin’ at the temple. He created quite a ruckus, knockin’ over tables and such.

    Lots of stories about that guy. The money-changin’ at the temple is one of the few where you hear he lost his temper.


  5. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 9:28 am:

    What. Fun Sunday for those lucky church members.


  6. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 9:33 am:

    A different take on ‘Palm Sunday’


  7. - Arsenal - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 9:33 am:

    ==A different take on ‘Palm Sunday’==

    Get yourself a name so we can properly credit this comment.


  8. - Retired Educator - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 9:35 am:

    This will make a great commercial for the Pritzker camp. Rauner just keeps providing gifts, to be used against him.


  9. - Anon221 - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 9:35 am:

    Rauner on high property taxes… “This is wrong. The system is broken and I’m trying to fix it.”

    $300,000 worth of “duct tape” will not fix this PR nightmare anytime soon. Rauner will be tied to this stunt of Wilson whether he likes it or not.


  10. - Northsider - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 9:36 am:

    Anonymous @ 9:33 for the win.


  11. - Iggy - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 9:37 am:

    =This is a major scandal IMO.=

    it isn’t. its obviously a questionable way to give back but at the very worst what happens? Wilson and Rauner pay fines? Would they care? Would JB really attack the gov for handing out money to struggling African American Church goers? Seems like the heat should fall on Willie and the Gov will get some mild publicity from the stunt.


  12. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 9:39 am:

    Serious question…what type of reporting has to be done with this money? It isn’t political, but what if it was taken out of political account?


  13. - Give Me A Break - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 9:42 am:

    Kinda of a “reverse collection” concept if you will.


  14. - A Young Person - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 9:42 am:

    ==A different take on ‘Palm Sunday’==

    Brilliant!


  15. - Arsenal - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 9:44 am:

    ==its obviously a questionable way to give back but at the very worst what happens?==

    “The real scandal is what’s legal.”

    ==Would JB really attack the gov for handing out money to struggling African American Church goers?==

    Sam McCann would.


  16. - Gamma Ray - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 9:46 am:

    This is nothing more than that Universal Basic Income scheme floated by progressive hero Alderman Ameya Pawar.


  17. - JS Mill - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 9:46 am:

    Rauner on the mic with a political message and Willie Wilson buying votes.

    The Church should lose its’ “not-for-profit” status.


  18. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 9:55 am:

    ==This is nothing more than that Universal Basic Income scheme floated by Nobel Prize winner Milton Freidman.==

    Fixed it for you. You’re welcome.


  19. - CatAttack - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 9:59 am:

    == This is nothing more than that Universal Basic Income scheme floated by progressive hero Alderman Ameya Pawar. ==

    It’s really not. UBI makes a lot of sense as automation reduces employment needs in more and more industries. We can’t all be Wal-Mart greeters.

    Handing out $100 bills while running for office is far, far different than working to build a sustainable economy for all.


  20. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 10:02 am:

    Rauner is the biggest corrupt insider in state history. As a sitting governor he spent tens of millions to buy the ILGOP and threatened legislators to do what he wanted. He caused more damage in his term than anyone ever before. And now this.

    This is where DPI leadership fails miserably. Call the dude out. Where’s the Pritzker campaign on Rauner’s corruption, with statements and ads? What’s worse that a super-hypocritical moral crusader?


  21. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 10:04 am:

    When does the Rauner money give away come downstate to Marion and Carbondale?


  22. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 10:08 am:

    ==When does the Rauner money give away come downstate to Marion and Carbondale?==
    Never. He needs a Willie Wilson to launder it.


  23. - Board Watcher - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 10:12 am:

    Nice to see McSweeney finally cares about the voters and citizens of Chicago. Oh, my bad he just cares about some free PR.


  24. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 10:13 am:

    –When does the Rauner money give away come downstate to Marion and Carbondale?–

    Have you taken your mansion tour yet? What more do you guys want, down there in Not-Much-Of-A-Workforce Land?

    I suppose next you’ll want public universities and community colleges.

    Collectivists.


  25. - Nothing new, move along - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 10:26 am:

    Nothing compared to all the tax money politicians in Illinois give away for patronage jobs, rigged contracts to friends/donors, et al. At least it’s his money, not our money being squandered.

    Chicago aldermen frequently give away turkeys and food and other items of value at election time. At least Willie donated through separate entity, not campaign or taxpayer money.


  26. - LilLebowskiUrbanAchiever - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 10:28 am:

    So much to unpack here.

    First, this shows how far Rauner’s political operation has fallen. Who would agree to do this? How dumb are they? What benefit did they think they would accrue? Those campaign folks that there is no investigation. If there is, their emails are going to get read. If anyone on the campaign was aware of the plan to hand out cash, they are in big, big trouble.

    Second, if I were a Republican member of the GA I’d be furious that Rauner handed over $100,000 to Willie Wilson before properly funding his own party. $100,000 goes a long way on State Rep races.

    Third, Willie Wilson is going to have hire a really good lawyer to defend this. This is definitely in violation of IRS 501(c)3 guidelines.

    Finally, the IL Attorney General has jurisdiction over non-profits in IL. It would be really interesting if she were to announce an investigation.


  27. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 10:35 am:

    –This is nothing more than that Universal Basic Income scheme floated by progressive hero Alderman Ameya Pawar.–

    That is nothing more than a weak-minded attempt to change the subject.

    If Jesse Jackson was handing out hondos in church with JB, I’m sure you’d be indifferent about it as well.


  28. - Generic Drone - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 10:44 am:

    Rauner is just spreddin himself some free speech. See, all legal now.


  29. - JS Mill - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 10:51 am:

    =Nothing compared to all the tax money politicians in Illinois give away for patronage jobs, rigged contracts to friends/donors, et al. At least it’s his money, not our money being squandered.

    Chicago aldermen frequently give away turkeys and food and other items of value at election time. At least Willie donated through separate entity, not campaign or taxpayer money.=

    Any of those jobs pay as well as Leslie Munger’s? Maybe you can find her job description or requirements beyond losing elections?

    How about those sweet deals from the tollway? Lots of sweetheart stuff there.


  30. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 10:57 am:

    Why would people need extra money to pay their “ridiculous” property taxes? JB says no one leaves Illinois because of high taxes.

    They could just remove a toilet or two and save themselves a bundle.


  31. - Langhorne - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 11:06 am:

    As rokyo used to write, “ubi est mea”.

    My property taxes are high, too.


  32. - Ike - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 11:06 am:

    Lucky Pierre - Yup, removing toilets to lower your property taxes is more corrupt than buying votes. /s


  33. - Arsenal - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 11:10 am:

    ==Why would people need extra money to pay their “ridiculous” property taxes?==

    Ask Bruce Rauner, who watched as $100,000 of his personal money was handed out to potential voters.


  34. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 11:15 am:

    How many members of the HGOP caucus would have liked to have been invited to this service? Rauner just gave more in property tax relief than he’s given to some of his most loyal green buttons.


  35. - City Zen - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 11:19 am:

    Sounds like Wilson created a new Christian denomination.


  36. - Zeep Bow - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 11:32 am:

    Geeeeez am I the only one who thought Gamma Ray was just making a joke? It made me laugh anyways.


  37. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 11:47 am:

    Lucky, wouldn’t you think MJM would offer his services for free to help the downtrodden with their sky high real estate taxes?


  38. - Roadrager - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 12:10 pm:

    ==Sounds like Wilson created a new Christian denomination.==

    Multiple denominations, actually. Tens, twenties, fifties…


  39. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 12:15 pm:

    “In Sunday School, I heard a story about this guy who got really mad about money-changin’ at the temple.”

    The Son of Man also does not like grandstanding and the super rich buying people off to make many among them poorer in many ways.

    The needle’s eye will be quite small.


  40. - Annonin' - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 12:31 pm:

    The fact the moolah came from the “foundation” is irrelevant. This makes it an “in kind” and probably jeopardizes the tax status of both the GovJunk and Wilson foundations.


  41. - WhoKnew - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 12:35 pm:

    At least these lucky Church goers didn’t have to get on a bus & go pull lever 121 for their $50 or $100…
    https://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Dunkin-Loses-to-Stratton-in-Race-for-5th-District-Illinois-House-Seat-372026302.html


  42. - Wensicia - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 12:42 pm:

    Rauner: You know I had nothing to do with this cash handout because I prefer using gift cards for my supporters.


  43. - Norseman - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 12:51 pm:

    And it’s legal to use foundation $ for campaign purposes (as evidenced by campaign streaming the event)?


  44. - RNUG - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:44 pm:

    Reminds me of a line in one of David Everson’s books, something to the effect that Democrats pay with checks and Republicans pay in cash.


  45. - Archiesmom - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:46 pm:

    And the crazy part (what, only one?) is that the state regulators say it’s just fine by them. I mentioned this to a lawyer friend as an example of what’s wrong with Illinois politics, and his answer was simple: money laundering. And we know it happens all the time, albeit in a slightly more benign way: candidate A gets a load of money from an organization, and then doles it out as he is told to to candidates B, C and D.


  46. - RNUG - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:47 pm:

    == Sounds like Wilson created a new Christian denomination. ==

    A friend and I used to joke we were going to start the Church of The Almighty Dollar.


  47. - Blocked Now? - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 3:28 pm:

    =Why would people need extra money to pay their “ridiculous” property taxes? =

    Churches get property tax exemptions based on the bogus premise that they aren’t for profit political operations.


  48. - Stumpy's bunker - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 6:35 pm:

    If this whole idea originated from a member of the BTIA(tm) to represent the Rauner campaign’s “community outreach”, I have a feeling somebody will be leaving for a “growth opportunity” soon.


  49. - A non - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 6:58 pm:

    Stinks to high heaven.


  50. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 9:41 pm:

    –LilLebowskiUrbanAchiever–

    I’m guessing you were formerly a Little Urban Rauner Superstar?

    I’m glad you’re gone. You guys were too good advancing the Rauner misanthropy.

    Give that a think.


  51. - M - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 9:56 pm:

    This looks and smells a lot like money laundering, but maybe I should call Manafort and ask him.


  52. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 10:25 pm:

    –Reminds me of a line in one of David Everson’s books, something to the effect that Democrats pay with checks and Republicans pay in cash.–

    Dude, you can’t be serious.

    Rauner piled up more than $12 billion in unpaid bills in less than than three years.

    Historic deadbeatism.

    What the heck? You’re a smart guy, why would you advance what you absolutely know not to be true?


  53. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 25, 18 @ 12:00 am:

    Straton


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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