Chicago, Illinois, April 3, 2013 - I have a few questions for some of my fellow Republicans: Why are you supporting Bruce Rauner as your 2014 GOP candidate for governor?
How can you claim the Republican mantle and not question Rauner's connections to Rahm Emanuel and his history of Democrat pay-to-play style politics?
A few weeks ago, IR contributor Sam Pierce wrote a piece asking the same question of these Republicans who have aligned themselves with Rauner. Pierce included a list of Rauner and his wife's contributions to the Democrat Party and the left-wing political action committee, Emily's List.
Pierce's list is just the tip of the Democrat iceberg. Rauner's relationship with Mayor Rahm Emanuel goes back more than a decade.
Recall that, back in 2001, FCC regulations were forcing SBC to divest itself of SecurityLink. So GTCR, Rauner's firm, tapped Rahm Emanuel to use his influence with the Clinton Administration to make an exception. It was another sneaky insider maneuver. In the end, SBC financed all but $100 million of GTCR's $479 million purchase of the firm. After less than six months, Rauner's firm sold SecurityLink for $1 billion and made a quick $500 million in profit.
Rahm had no experience as an investment banker yet earned a $16.2 million paycheck in less than two years at Wasserstein Perella. Rauner and Rahm have been BFFs ever since.
For those that are not following it, Crain's has also been reporting on Rauner's contributions to Democrat Gov. Ed Rendell, a total of $300,000 in 2002. GTCR was already managing $110 million in pension funds for Pennsylvania's State Employee Retirement System. After Rendell's election, Pennsylvania doubled its stake in GTCR funds to $226 million, earning GTCR more than $4 million in fees.
These "deals" don't just happen out of thin air. Rauner is claiming to be the outsider reform candidate for governor. But his track record seems to be right out of the Pay-to-Play Handbook. Blagojevich is probably taking notes from his cell.
Still, Illinois Policy Institute's John Tillman has been touting Rauner in interviews saying that Rauner (and Tillman's business partner, Dan Proft of corrupt Cicero fame) - are the only people with the vision "bold" enough to be governor.
Exactly, what "vision" would that be? So much for the "apolitical" Illinois Policy Institute's 501c3 status.
There are others on Rauner's board that are of note - Citadel's Ken Griffin - a major campaign bundler to Barack Obama ($200,000) and top contributor to Rahm Emanuel. Between Griffin and his wife, a former executive with Soros Funds, they have contributed in excess of $200,000 to Rahm. The massive contributions have paid off. According to city records, Griffin has regular private access to Emanuel.
Griffin has a history of funding liberal Republicans and powerful Democrats - thousands to Richard Daley, Rahm Emanuel, and ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich among others. He's also been funding all of the John Tillman/Dan Proft political action committees and candidates.
Now I have heard some "conservatives" claim that Rauner's relationship with Rahm is not an issue. In fact, recently, one Republican strategist said on FOX Chicago that this just shows Rauner "can work with people to get things done."
Work with people? Rauner appears to have a habit of using his Democrat political connections to enrich himself. That's not "working with people." That's insider games. That's the pay-to-play politics of the "Combine." That's supposed to be what we, as Republicans, are against. But, then again, we have had many so-called Republicans who participate in "Combine" schemes with the Democrats.
Some people plead with me to keep hush-hush about this stuff, arguing, "Bill, it's not illegal."
But very little is "illegal" in our corrupt political system. The politicians who benefit from these practices have made sure of that. Those "conservatives" that claim a leadership mantle and then endorse corrupt candidates and practices are the highest form of hypocrite. The highest form of hypocrite being a life form less advanced than an amoeba. That may be insulting to the amoeba but there it is.
It's pretty clear to me why these "Republicans" are supporting Bruce Rauner. He has the kind of money that can help fund candidates and policy institutes and the like. But if Republican leaders are going to form alliances with Obama bundlers and Rahm Emanuel's top advisors - why stop there?
If these Illinois conservative are willing to go along with Bruce Rauner and his friend Rahm Emanuel, why don't they just go all the way and make a direct fundraising appeal to socialist billionaire George Soros?
Republicans who are supporting Bruce Rauner have some serious explaining to do. What has Rauner promised you and what have you promised him and his friends in return?
GOP primary voters are waiting to hear your answers. Unfortunately, I believe I already know.