Illinois Governor Pat Quinn
August 11, 2014

Quinn Calls On Rauner To Confirm Debates

Gov. Pat Quinn has called on Republican challenger Bruce Rauner to "come out of the gopher hole'' and commit to debates ahead of the general election.

Quinn's campaign says the Chicago Democrat has confirmed his appearance at eight debates and forums ahead of the Nov. 4 election along with a ninth potential venue.

Rauner's campaign says the businessman plans to appear at a number of debates and will announce those dates "soon.''
Quinn told reporters Monday that debates are voters' best chance to see candidates side by side on the issues.  
Rauner participated in fewer debates than his GOP opponents ahead of the four-way March primary, something that prompted criticism from those challenging him.
Quinn is seeking a second full term. This is Rauner's first run for public office.

Bruce Rauner takes questions at the Illinois State Fair Thursday.
(John Knowles)
August 08, 2014

Rauner: 'Nothing Sinister' About Investments In Cayman Islands

The Republican nominee for governor has come under political scrutiny after a report revealed his connections to offshore investments.  But Bruce Rauner insists that the practice is common.

Rauner's campaign has largely been propelled by his fortune.

A recent report by the Chicago Sun-Times details that a portion of his earnings have connections to the Cayman Islands - considered a tax haven for the wealthy.  Until he stepped down to run for governor, Rauner was head of a capital investment firm, GTCR, which has several investment pools there. 

At an appearance at the Illinois State Fair Thursday night, Rauner insisted it's a "widespread, common practice."

"What my firm did is what many, many financial firms do and I think the majority of venture capital firms and private equity firms do, and that is - when they invest in a foreign company, a non-U.S. company, they'll set up an investment vehicle, often in the Caymans, so that their limited partners are treated, for tax purposes, the same was as, as if it was a U.S. company," he said.

Gov. Pat Quinn's campaign has long tried to paint Rauner as so rich, he's out of touch.  This week, he said stashing money in foreign countries is "not patriotic."

July 26, 2014

Quinn Says State Will Help Care For Unaccompanied Minors

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn says the state is prepared to help "in whatever way necessary'' to preserve the well-being of unaccompanied children who've crossed the border into the United States fleeing violence in Central America.

At a bill-signing ceremony Friday at the University of Illinois Urbana campus, Quinn said the state will do what it can to help these children, but he wouldn’t specify what that help might look like…

“We’re prepared to do what’s right, and I think it is very important that Illinois adhere to that standard when it comes to those who come to us seeking refuge from violence and cruelty, and if they’re children it’s a special obligation," said Quinn.

Quinn said he met last week with the U-S Secretary of Health and Human Services about the situation. HHS says 305 unaccompanied children have been placed with sponsors as of July 7th this year --- the sponsors are often family members. U-S Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) says 429 additional unaccompanied minors were being held at government shelters as of July 8th.

Meanwhile, Quinn’s Republican rival Bruce Rauner calls the situation a "federal government failure". He says the U.S. needs a humane, prompt response that controls the border and ensures children are returned home safely.

Bruce Rauner
(Seth Perlman/AP)
July 22, 2014

Bruce Rauner Unveils Plans To Lower Income Tax

Republican candidate for Illinois governor Bruce Rauner says he’s willing to negotiate with lawmakers on lowering the income tax rate. 

Rauner recently released several new tax proposals, including raising sales taxes on services like janitors and travel agents.

He also has said he wants to gradually decrease the personal income tax. But he hasn’t said just how quickly he’d like to see that rate drop.  Rauner gave a few more details Monday.

"Here’s what my commitment is," he said. "We need to roll the income tax back from 5 percent back to 3 percent where it started within a four-year period. And I think 3.75 is a good place to step to next, but we’ll work out those details with the General Assembly."

Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn has advocated for keeping the income tax rate where it is - at 5 percent. His campaign said Rauner’s proposal would result in billions of dollars in cuts. They say a lot of the state’s budget must go to certain things. So most cuts Rauner would need to make would hit education and social services.   

July 21, 2014

Rauner Continues To Push For Term Limits

Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner says he's continuing his efforts to impose term limits on Illinois legislators.

Rauner spoke Monday in Chicago and has made term limits a major piece of his campaign against Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. He says "voters deserve a voice.''
Rauner is leading a committee that gathered signatures to put a measure on the November ballot. It would limit legislators to eight years in office.

The Republican from Winnetka said he’ll keep on trying - regardless of how the courts rule.

But a lawyer for top Democratic lawmakers sued, and a Cook County judge ruled last month the initiative didn't meet constitutional requirements to be on the ballot.

"If we can’t do it through the courts, we’ll do it through the political process with candidates," he said.  "Get them in office, so we get term limits, change that culture in Springfield."

Last week the Illinois Supreme Court said it wouldn't hear a direct appeal.
Rauner says they're asking the state's appellate court to hear the case on an expedited basis.

Bruce Rauner
(Amanda Vinicky/IPR)
July 18, 2014

Rauner Vows To Keep Fighting For Term Limits Referendum

The Republican candidate for Illinois says he's not daunted by the state Supreme Court's decision not to review a lower court ruling barring a question on lawmaker term limits from appearing on November's ballot.

Chicago businessman Bruce Rauner was behind the ballot initiative. The decision means it will be very difficult to get the question on the ballot in time for the August 22nd ballot certification deadline.

"We hope to get the Supreme Court to review it now”, said Rauner on WGLT Radio’s Sound Ideas program. “They said that it needs to go through all the court levels below, so we're taking it to the appellate court next. Hopefully, we'll win there. If we don't we'll take it to the Supreme Court.”

Rauner says entrenched Springfield politicians are to blame for the court delay. But he says if they can’t the term limits question on this year’s ballot, they’ll keep trying.

"If it's blocked by the politicians this cycle, we'll get it on the ballot eventually so the voters can decide on this issue”, said Rauner. “They deserve the right to decide directly themselves."

The court this week denied the Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits' appeal of a Cook County circuit court ruling. That court had decided the measure didn't meet constitutional requirements and ruled the petitions invalid. 

Rauner says his group secured more than twice the number of signatures necessary.

July 16, 2014

Lawmakers To Meet Wednesday Over Quinn's Anti-Violence Program

Former members of Governor Pat Quinn's administration subpoenaed by a bipartisan legislative commission are supposed to testify Wednesday, unless lawmakers call it off.

That's what they've been asked to do by federal prosecutors who are also looking into a troubled anti-violence program. 

A state audit made clear that the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative was poorly managed when it was rolled out, before Quinn's last run for governor. 

But there are deeper questions - like whether politics played a role in which organizations got state grants. Questions to which Sun Times columnist Mark Brown said voters deserve answers.

"Some of the money was rushed out at the time of the November 2010 election, and that's suspicious-looking and we need to find out more about how that came to be," he said.

Brown said the bipartisan commission should go ahead with its investigation, regardless of the feds' request to hold off.

Media and political strategist Tom Bowen said a delay could be good for Quinn, in his tight race against Republican Bruce Rauner.

"Having it out of the headlines for 90 days, you know, could be beneficial for him getting his footing back, because you know most of the public polls in this race have the governor down at the moment," he said.

But Bowen said that would leave the potential of damaging headlines resuming just weeks before the November election, leaving Quinn little time to recover.

Meanwhile, Quinn's administration has released thousands of emails to a panel of lawmakers investigating his troubled anti-violence program.

Senate Republican spokeswoman Patty Schuh says members of the Legislative Audit Commission received an estimated 2,000 emails linked to the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative on Friday and are currently reviewing their contents.

UPDATE:  Gov. Pat Quinn says Illinois will have the "strongest grant oversight'' nationwide after widespread problems were identified with his 2010 anti-violence program.
The Chicago Democrat signed legislation Wednesday that applies federal guidelines to how the state awards grants and strengthens grantee rules. However, some opponents of the legislation have said it doesn't go far enough in stopping possible misuse.  
Quinn's signing of the bill comes as a legislative panel is digging through the details of his Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. Meanwhile, federal and county officials are also investigating the program.  Quinn has said that he addressed problems.
In a Wednesday statement, he says what happened was "unacceptable.''

July 11, 2014

Governor Candidates Make Accusations On Transparency

Allegations of hiding information and impeding transparency are bubbling up in the race for Illinois governor.

Republican Bruce Rauner was in Springfield Friday.  He claims Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn is hiding and creating diversions while federal officials probe a 2010 anti-violence program.

A legislative panel is also investigating.
Rauner's campaign released a television ad Friday blasting Quinn.  He says lawmakers should go ahead with their plans  - he says they can work in parallel with the feds.

But he says Gov. Quinn holds the key to real answers about what all went on.

"The core issue is that Gov. Quinn has been hiding and avoiding," he said.  "And the best what to deal with this is for him to come forward."

Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson calls Rauner's allegations "laughable.'' She says Quinn has answered reporters' questions almost daily about the investigations.
Anderson says Rauner needs to answer questions about campaign donations to Chicago Democrats after a business partially owned by his investment firm won a Cook County contract.

Earlier this week Quinn said Rauner should release full tax returns, including for 2013.  

The Illinois governor's race is one of the most competitive nationwide.

Democratic Lt. Gov. candidate Paul Vallas calls on GOP gov. candidate Bruce Rauner to release his full tax returns during a news conference in Savoy, IL.
(Jeff Bossert/WILL)
July 10, 2014

Vallas Echoes Quinn's Call For Rauner Tax Disclosure

Governor Quinn’s running mate Paul Vallas was traveling the state Thursday, carrying Quinn’s call for GOP challenger Bruce Rauner to release his complete income tax returns.

Quinn made the same call at a plumber’s union hall in Chicago on Tuesday. And at a plumber’s hall in Savoy Thursday morning, Vallas said Rauner should give more details on both tax filings and his fiscal proposals for the state.

Vallas told reporters that his message to Rauner was, “Disclose your taxes! Disclose the schedules for the last three years. Disclose your plans, articulate your agenda. Let us know what your plans are for the state of Illinois. Let us know what your long-term financial plans are for the state. We’re simply asking our opponent to be honest and transparent with the public. And so far we’ve gotten very little. It’s been a very stealth campaign.”

Vallas pointed to a recent Chicago Tribune report which said Rauner used special accounting methods to avoid paying Medicare and Social Security taxes in certain years, and to drop into a 15 percent tax bracket. The former Chicago schools CEO says both he and Quinn have released their full tax documents, and that Rauner should do the same … so that the public knows if he has any conflicts of interest, or made use of tax loopholes.

News reports say the Rauner campaign has said he’s filed for an extension for filing his 2013 returns, and would make them available before the election. A call to Rauner's campaign by Illinois Public Media seeking comment was still awaiting a response at noontime on Thursday.

A call to Rauner’s campaign office seeking comment had not yet been returned (as of late Thursday morning.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, left, and his Republican rival, Bruce Rauner, shake hands after they appeared together for the first time before the 2014 general election, during the annual meeting of the Illinois Education Association Friday, April 11, 201
(M. Spencer Green/AP)
July 07, 2014

Voters In Bad Mood Shaping Gov's Race

The people of Illinois are feeling particularly gloomy about their state, with its high unemployment, billions of dollars in debt and decades-long battles against corruption.  

The bad mood surfaces in public-opinion polls that startle even the pollsters. And now it's shaping one of the nation's most competitive governor's races.  

The race pits Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn against businessman Bruce Rauner, an untested multimillionaire. The contest boils down to the incumbent's insistence that it's not as bad as it used to be versus the challenger's exhortations to throw the bums out and start over.  

One survey showed that more people want to leave Illinois than anywhere else in the U.S. The cynicism among voters was also evident in the March primary election, which had the lowest turnout on record. 

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