GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner admits he's made generous contributions to Democrats Richard M. Daley, Rahm Emanuel, Forrest Claypool and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.
Putting aside that many Republican primary voters have a hard time getting beyond a Republican candidate helping those four, Rauner says, "that's it." Or at least that's what he recently told The News-Gazette:
"I've given to four Democrats: Emanuel, Daley, Ed Rendell because he was head of the DNC and he was willing to take on the teachers' unions when he was in Philadelphia and I wanted a national guy who was a Democrat and would do battle, and the other one is Forrest Claypool, who was running against John Stroger for Cook County (Board chair). Stroger was not a good guy. Claypool is honest and unfortunately he's a Democrat, but there's no Republicans willing to run in Cook County," Rauner said.
The "only four" is Rauner's story and he's apparently sticking to it.
The problem is Rauner's story is empirically false. Rauner has personally contributed to more Democrats than just those four he claims. (We'll put aside for now another empirically false statement by Rauner that "there's no Republicans willing to run in Cook County." In 2006, for example, the year Rauner helped Democrat Forrest Claypool, there was in fact a legitimate candidate for Cook County Board President on the Republican side. That was Tony Peraica -- someone I've personally never been a fan of -- but Peraica ran a serious campaign and received around 40 percent of the vote in the General Election that year.)
The News-Gazette article did a good job pointing out how Rauner has attempted to muddy the waters by blaming other contributions on his wife. "That's my wife. We have a joint checking account. I've given to four Democrats. The other stuff is my wife," Rauner told The News-Gazette.
Rauner simply isn't being truthful. First of all, it's illegal to contribute money in someone else's name -- spouse included. Second of all, the financial disclosure records maintained by the Federal Election Commission merely reflect what Bruce Rauner himself has represented.
It's time Rauner stopped trying to hide behind his wife. The "joint checking account" excuse is rubbish. As we document below, the official reports filed with the Federal Election Commission definitively show Bruce Rauner as the contributor on several other occasions. Not his wife -- and not some "joint checking account" nonsense. That's simply not how it works. Under federal law and subject to penalty of perjury, a contributor has to provide not only his or her name, but also occupation. All of the contributions documented below clearly identify Bruce Rauner, and Bruce Rauner alone, as the contributor. Rauner has had years to correct any errors, but of course no errors have been identified.
What follows are links to the campaign finance reports that definitively prove Bruce Rauner (not his wife) has been a much bigger donor to the Democrats than he's admitted. All links are to official Federal Election Commission reports. That federal agency is the definitive word on federal contributions. A guy can't simply come along later and make up his own facts -- even a guy with a billion dollars.
Bruce Rauner contributed $500 on May 15, 2001, to Democratic Senator Dick Durbin.
Rauner contributed $1,000 on April 26, 2001, to Democrat Max Baucus.
Rauner has also given a combined total of $65,000 to the Democratic National Committee ("DNC") and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ("DCCC") (comprised of $20,000 to the DNC on May 15, 2000; another $20,000 to the DNC on May 18, 2000; and $25,000 to the DCCC on March 14, 2003).
One can only guess how many Democrats were assisted by those large contributions to the DNC and DCCC, both national party committees which are closely involved in races across the country.
Again, all of the above amounts were contributed by Bruce Rauner himself, not his wife. The public records speak for themselves.
Yes, like her husband, Mrs. Rauner has also been a huge financial supporter of Democrats. But her contributions are completely separate from those detailed above. Rauner wants gullible people to believe there is some ambiguity, but there is not. The Federal Election Commission makes it easy to identify contributions by individual. Having a spouse who also contributes doesn't change the facts.
Bruce's wife Diane Rauner has generously contributed on her own to liberal groups EMILY's List (see here, here, here, here, here and here) and Personal PAC (see here, here, here, here and here). Mrs. Rauner also contributed to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (see here), Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (see here), and Democrats Barack Obama (see here, here and here), Evan Bayh (see here), Sara Feigenholtz (see here), Bill Foster (see here), Rahm Emanuel (see here), Melissa Bean (see here and here), Tammy Duckworth (see here), Amy Klobuchar (see here), Dan Seals (see here, here, here and here), John Kerry (see here), Claire McCaskill (see here and here), Debbie Stabenow (see here), Jan Schakowsky (see here, here and here), Maria Cantwell (see here and here), Mary Jo Kilroy (see here), Pat Dowell (see here), Frank Mautino (see here), Jeff Schoenberg (see here, here, here and here), Kip Kirkpatrick (see here) and Heather Steans (see here).
So it might be truthful to say Mrs. Rauner has helped the Democrats more than Mr. Rauner. But that doesn't excuse the attempt to throw additional contributions into Mrs. Rauner's column which legally belong to Bruce Rauner.
Bruce Rauner has more Democratic connections which have not been analyzed before now. Rauner was chairman of GTCR until late 2012 (Bruce Rauner is the "R" in the firm's name). Under Rauner, between 2006 and 2010, GTCR contributed $25,000 to IVCA-PAC, which claims to "promote a healthy economic climate" in Illinois.
IVCA-PAC has contributed to several Republican officials, however, the bulk of its contributions have been to Democratic candidates, officials and organizations.
Since 2006, IVCA-PAC has contributed to Democrats including Edward Acevedo, Dan Biss, Michael Bond, Richard Bradley, Kelly Burke, Will Burns, James Clayborne, Marlow Colvin, John Cullerton, Barbara Flynn Currie, Alexi Giannoulias, Jim DeLeo, Miguel Del Valle, LaShawn Ford, Mike Frerichs, Robyn Gabel, Esther Golar, Deborah Graham, Kurt Granberg, Gary Hannig, Don Harmon, Rickey Hendon, Linda Holmes, Mattie Hunter, Emil Jones, Dan Kotowski, Lou Lang, Lisa Madigan, Mike Madigan, Iris Martinez, David Miller, Stephanie Neely, Elaine Nekritz, Michael Noland, Kwame Raoul, Jeff Schoenberg, Ira Silverstein, Heather Steans, Art Turner, Donnie Trotter, Karen Yarbrough. IVCA-PAC also contributed to the Democratic Party of Illinois, Illinois Senate Democratic Fund, and Senate Democratic Victory Fund.
Rauner tells us he's the guy to improve the state's economic climate, but for years he's continued to throw money at the very people responsible for the problem. Real Republicans know that throwing more money at the problem is not a solution.
The Rauner campaign did not respond to a phone call seeking comment on this story.
Doug Ibendahl is a Chicago Attorney and a former General Counsel of the Illinois Republican Party.