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items tagged with Dan Rutherford

Frerichs’ Treasurer Campaign Beset by Gaffes
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2014-07-27 11:05:35

Back in January, state Senator Michael Frerichs formally kicked off his campaign for Illinois state treasurer and posted a video online touting the fact the he’d ended “free, lifetime health care for state legislators.”

Actually, Frerichs had voted against that bill in the General Assembly. Frerichs’ campaign had to pull the video and replace it with a new one, even though he’d been planning his formal launch for at least a year.

In April, Frerichs appeared to flip-flop on his longstanding position that the comptroller’s and treasurer’s offices should be merged.

Frerichs told a WBBM Radio interviewer: “People have said to me, ‘Wouldn’t it just be a lot more efficient if we just had one financial officer?’ And I’ve said yes, we could become very efficient, efficient like the city of Dixon, Illinois, who just had one chief financial officer and she was able, from this small little town, over several years to take something like $52 million away from them.” He was referring to Rita Crundwell, who in 2012 pleaded guilty to embezzling the money. Frerichs was quickly forced to restate his support for the office merger.

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Treasurer’s Investigation Smells Like a Cover-Up
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2014-02-16 17:19:31

Treasurer Dan Rutherford delivered a forceful, even believable defense of himself last week during a suburban press conference hours after he was hit with a federal lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and coerced campaign work.

Gubernatorial candidate Rutherford made a strong case that at least some of the accusations are untrue. There were some holes in his argument – some bigger than others – but it seems obvious that some of the charges are overblown.

For instance, accuser Ed Michalowski claims in his lawsuit that all the campaign and sexual pressure from Rutherford directly resulted in “leakage of cerebral spinal fluid in the brain,” which seems more than a bit of a stretch. Michalowski also takes a joking text message between himself and Rutherford’s campaign manager completely out of context. And Rutherford laid out Michalowski’s numerous financial troubles in an attempt to demonstrate that the plaintiff’s need for money was driving much of the lawsuit.

That said, I’ve had some real worries about Rutherford’s so-called “independent” internal investigation of these allegations. Rutherford announced the investigation weeks ago when he let the media know about the potential lawsuit.

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Allegations Against Treasurer Might Be the Tip of the Iceberg
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2014-02-09 11:41:24

One of the reasons people near Treasurer Dan Rutherford are so nervous these days is because of the possibility that other employees might come out of the woodwork with even more allegations.

As I write this, the publicly revealed facts are still quite thin. A now-former employee of Rutherford has claimed, without producing any hard evidence as of this writing, that he was sexually harassed and told to do political fundraising work. Rutherford has flatly denied the allegations, claiming they are politically motivated and part of a shakedown attempt that’s being pushed by Bruce Rauner, his Republican-gubernatorial-primary opponent. The former employee, Rutherford claims, demanded $300,000 through his attorney to remain quiet. Rauner has denied any involvement.

The treasurer’s office has negotiated two previous severance agreements, a fact that the accuser’s lawyer alluded to last week when she told WLS Radio’s Dan Proft: “Their standard MO is to work out standard severance agreements. That’s what they do, and they’ve been doing that the last two or three years with employees.”

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