Former Employee: Jack Roeser also received $500K from Bruce Rauner

UPDATED 2/19/2014: For months Jack Roeser's employees have denied on social media that he has received any money from candidate Bruce Rauner.  We have also reported for months on social media that - according to Guidestar and the Illinois State Board of Elections - Roeser's organizations have received more than $440,000 from Bruce Rauner. Roeser's Family Taxpayer Network received $400,000 from 2010 to 2012 from Rauner (Guidestar.com) and $40,000 to his Renaissance PAC and additional large donations from Rauner's contributions.

Guidestar screenshots (2010-2012):

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Roeser's Champion News blog has not only endorsed Rauner but aggressively attacked the other three GOP candidates. Like the Illinois Policy Institute which also has received large contributions from Rauner, these activities raise a red flag about trading non-profit donations for political support and activity.

Chicago, Illinois, November 13, 2013 – Last week, Bernard Schoenburg of the State Journal-Register reported:

Republican gubernatorial candidate BRUCE RAUNER has donated more than $500,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute over the last five years.

The institute, which bills itself as a free-market, liberty-based organization, promotes a range of policies and has writers in an offshoot called the Illinois News Network, which provides stories free of charge to newspapers. That is troubling.

Schoenburg makes an important point about the Illinois Policy Institute’s credibility problem: The Illinois News Network’s Scott Reeder has been regularly touting Rauner’s policies for governor in newspapers around the state.

Capitol Fax's Rich Miller appeared to question whether the $500,000 was actually a conflict-of-interest and commented that Rauner is a “natural candidate” for Illinois Policy Institute to support given the group’s conservative leanings.

Really? A candidate who has made his fortune cutting deals with Democrats in return for making millions in public sector union pension fees is a “natural candidate” for the Illinois Policy Institute?

Perhaps Illinois Policy Institute isn’t all that conservative after all.

But the Illinois Policy Institute and its connected organizations and people are more connected to Rauner’s campaign than is being reported or emphasized.

Illinois Policy Institute board member Elizabeth Christie is Rauner’s campaign finance chairman. Bob Costello of the Illinois Opportunity Project – a sister organization to Illinois Policy Institute (which is housed in the same office space) is the treasurer for the PAC running Rauner’s term limits initiative.

Illinois Policy Institute’s John Tillman appears to be using every questionable legal trick in the book to help a wealthy candidate like Rauner despite his deep Democrat connections or maybe perhaps because of them.

But the real question is if Illinois Policy Institute can, arguably, misuse a 501(c)(3) group for political gain, why should any 501(c)(3) refrain from direct involvement in political campaigns?

If Tillman’s group has received $500,000 from Rauner thus far, another question must be asked: What else has Rauner promised him?

But Tillman isn’t alone in his diminishing credibility.

According to a former employee of Jack Roeser, Bruce Rauner has also given more than $500,000 to Family Taxpayer Network and Roeser's other organizations.

The employee, who asked not to be identified, says that Rauner has been close to Roeser for the last few years.  According to a search of the State Board of Elections records, Rauner and his wife, Diana, a Democrat, donated more than $30,000 to Roeser’s Renaissance PAC in 2012 alone.

Although Roeser has claimed the pro-life and traditional marriage mantel for decades  i.e. thus his organization's name "the Family Taxpayer Network,"  he was an early supporter of the socially liberal Rauner since he announced his campaign earlier this year.

Rauner told Greg Hinz of Crain’s that he“supports a woman's ability to decide early in a pregnancy,” and has refused to openly state his position on same sex marriage though he supports civil unions.

Roeser’s Champion News, which also positions its blog as “news,” has openly endorsed Rauner and has been aggressively attacking the other GOP candidates for governor – in particular, union contributions to Kirk Dillard and Dan Rutherford.

Yet no mention from Champion News on the millions in public sector union pension fees Rauner’s firm GTCR made over the decades or the thousands in Democrat contributions made – from all appearances – to secure that pension fund business.

Despite the hypocrisy, Champion News has also been attacking Dillard's positions on social issues, attempting to muddy the waters for conservative Christian voters.

When questioned about the obvious conflict-of-interest, Champion News editor Lennie Jarratt denied Rauner’s contributions to Roeser.

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  • Another good article, and I appreciate it. You connect the dots and build a telling truth, but you almost increase my anxiety. A flashlight in an expansive cavern with all the drippings and sharp crags.

    As I explained your investigation to a fellow fiscal conservative, he concluded my same question in your last post, 'are you saying there is no hope?'. I get the feeling that's not your intent. You expose the man, the Democrat in Republican clothes, (shudder) the Progressive, but what of the issues he cloaked himself in? Do you hope to destroy the concepts of fiscal conservation that this Democrat state sorely needs, needs as much as any abysmal municipality in the wide world?

    It is this fear that increases my anxiety, the same anxiety I feel when fiscal conservation is ridiculed and thrown under the bus because something politically incorrect bubbles up from the unconscious of an 110 year old Republican. Its nonsense, and is the cover of thieves and weak minds.

    Again, you've done a good job reporting and I look forward to more.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    Thanks for your note. If we can't trust the messenger, then the message means very little. To have someone with Rauner's questionable background suddenly parroting conservative principles to me - seems like a mockery. As conservatives, we have been down this road before and yet we rarely learn our lessons. The real snapshot of a person is what they have done for years - not one year, not the last six - but the last 10 or 20. So, really, Rauner is the one spoiling conservatives principles. Why? Because I don't think he really believes them. His record indicates what he believes.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    BTW - the reason I bother writing is because I do think there is hope - but not if we let people who only pretend to share our beliefs lead the way.

  • In reply to williamjkelly:

    Thanks for the response, no insult intended, just clarifying things for the Progressives, that continue to create the opposite, of everything they say they intend to do. Nihilist.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    Thank you. My larger point is - I look at what someone has done - not just what they say. Politicians say many things to get elected but they aren't divorced from their history. The fact that Bruce Rauner is paying conservative groups for their support says something about him and...them.

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    If you can't trust any of the messengers in matters of politics in Illinois then you better have confidence in the message. I think there is a bipartisan lack of confidence in Quinn's ability to do what is necessary to turn this state around. But he would likely win any contest between the lesser of two evils. Embrace the wonk and self evaluate the plans. Vote for the message. If the messenger walks the talk then we can have our cake and eat it, too.

  • In reply to Mac McIntyre:

    There is no message without the messenger. How else would we know if the messenger believes what he is saying if we try to divorce him from what he has been doing for decades. In Rauner's case - cutting political deals for union pensions business.

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