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Cash For Votes or Mistake? $300,000 Cash Given Away at Illinois Political Event

Bruce Rauner
Ill. Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks during a dedication for former Ill. Sen. Alan J. Dixon, who passed away in 2014, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., July 8, 2016. The visitor control center was dedicated to Dixon, who gave 43 years of public service to Scott AFB and the state of Ill. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jodi Martinez/Released)

Politicians paying for votes is nothing new, but it has perhaps never been as brash as it was last Sunday when at an event headlined by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and Chicago Mayoral candidate officials handed out $300,000 in cash.

The incident took place at a Sunday Church service on Chicago’s South Side where Rauner told the crowd, “We’re honored to help you pay your property taxes. Happy to do it.” According to POLITICO, Wilson then stood inside the church with “stacks of cash” and handed out bills to passersby.

Rauner’s team told Politico Rauner had already left the church when Wilson handed out the money and thus hadn’t violated any laws. They also claimed Rauner’s comment about being happy to pay attendees’ property taxes was in reference to Rauners work with Wilson’s private foundation and not in reference to the cash giveaways.

POLITICO reported Wilson told them the money given away was from his foundation and that $100,000 of it came from Rauner himself.

Part of the issue though is that Rauner campaigns on an anti-corruption platform and portrays himself as an anti-corruption crusader.

In a June 18, 2018 op-ed in the Chicago Sun Times Rauner opened with the statement, “To unleash our full potential, Illinois needs to end corruption in state government.”

“Beyond embarrassment, the people of Illinois have also been forced to deal with the harmful consequences of corruption: state government dominated by the Chicago political machine and pay-to-play politics,” Rauner continued.

While he was not present while the cash was being present, Rauner has still been strongly criticized as a result of what happened.

Ken Menzel who serves as general counsel at the Illinois State Board of Elections said: “It looks kind of skeevy.”

“If that were the threshold for Illinois politics, the chambers would be empty,” he added.

While reflecting on the recent issue as well as the problem of corruption in Illinois, Burt Odelson who has been an election attorney for the past 45-years said: “It’s always happened, it just depends on what scale, what magnitude … Situations close to this but smaller in scale were prevalent back in the day. Not to this magnitude and not to this openness, but yes, I’ve seen this before.”

Rauner has since responded to the incident, and on Monday he noted that he was not aware of what Wilson had planned to do and his campaign said they disapproved of Wilson handing out cash at the event.

Governor Rauner has supported the Willie Wilson Foundation to help people hurt by the rigged property tax system in Cook County. He was not aware that any cash was going to be handed out at the event,” campaign spokesman Alex Browning said Monday. “The governor respects Dr. Wilson’s philanthropic pursuits, but believes distributing cash is inappropriate for any candidate seeking public office.”

The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform told POLITICO that while nothing illegal transpired at the event, the actions were certainly questionable.

“But there definitely are ethical questions that need to be asked,” said Eric Bradoch, an analyst for the non-partisan public interest group. “Is it right for a governor to go to an event where he knows charitable donations are being made and also at the same time promote himself as a candidate for governor?”

 

What Corruption Really Means For America – And For Both Parties

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20 Comments

  1. Roberta Coyle July 28, 2018

    Corruption at its finest

    Reply
  2. Sharon Knerr July 28, 2018

    Illegal, isn’t it?

    Reply
  3. Ginny Celano July 28, 2018

    Where else but Chicago?

    Reply
  4. Ronni Sampson July 28, 2018

    Arrest him.

    Reply
  5. Ethel Fabonan-Gibson July 28, 2018

    Looks like Russian money is starting to circulate. Our democracy is priceless and any intent to weaken it should be called out and exposed.

    Reply
  6. Pamela Owen Minkemann July 28, 2018

    Buying votes is illegal, in case you forgot.

    Reply
  7. Mary Hope Mayorga July 28, 2018

    Goes along with what Trump is doing

    Reply
  8. Mary Fink July 28, 2018

    THIS IS WHAT’S GOING ON IN ILLINOIS!!! SOMEONE NEEDS TO INVESTIGATE THIS!!
    RACHEL MADDOW OF MSNBC IS MY CHOICE!!!

    Reply
  9. Jerry Schroader July 29, 2018

    Bribery

    Reply
  10. Marilyn Jackson July 31, 2018

    We are devolving into a dictatorship.

    Reply
  11. Pat Ward July 31, 2018

    Republicans corrupting voting to favor trump deplorables.

    Reply
  12. Mary Urech Stallings September 20, 2018

    Isn’t that highly illegal???

    Reply
    1. Chari Hayes September 20, 2018

      Mary Urech Stallings
      Yes.

  13. Chari Hayes September 20, 2018

    He is a thug.

    Reply
  14. Denny Charles Sr. September 20, 2018

    Had to be Democrats

    Reply
    1. Gary J. Weber September 20, 2018

      Had to be Chicago, what a pit.

    2. Ray Duffett September 20, 2018

      The truth is that Democrats don’t have to buy votes or cheat. Smart people will always vote for progressive ideas only morons vote for conservative ways. Republicans gerrymander or shutdown voting places or win with electoral college. The Democrats have lost the presidency 3times now but won the popular votes. The smart people want Democrats to win. Stupid people that work for a living and vote Republican vote against their own best interest. Not one Republican has voted to help America or the American people unless you are filthy rich

  15. Kerry Denise September 20, 2018

    Hmmmmmmm!!!

    Reply
  16. Sue Ross September 20, 2018

    There is no line the republicans won’t cross to get their way. Despicable. Vote Blue

    Reply
  17. Alex Garcia September 20, 2018

    Hmmmm it’s in Mexico???😂😳😂😳

    Reply

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