BLOOMINGTON -- Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford is defending his decision to use state funds to pay for a brochure that went largely to campaign contributors and other supporters of the Republican Party.
The 11-page brochure touted successes in Rutherford's first six months as treasurer and cited newspaper editorials that supported his calls for a freeze of state spending and an end to borrowing.
The Daily Herald reported that the brochure was mailed earlier this year to 850 Illinois residents. Of those on the mailing list, 566 have contributed a combined $1.6 million to Rutherford over the last 16 years, the newspaper reported Sunday, citing information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and campaign disclosure data from the State Board of Elections.
Rutherford, a Republican, says that is a coincidence.
"I get a smile out of it because the suggestion is (the recipients) were largely Republicans. Well, that happens to be the larger number of people who expressed interest in the concern of where we are on state debt and where we need to change the state public pension system," Rutherford told WJBC Radio in Bloomington on Tuesday.
Rutherford told WJBC that he won't cover the brochure's $1,400 cost with campaign funds "because then you admit there was impropriety there. There was no impropriety."
The mailing did not solicit donations.
But the Daily Herald reports that Rutherford collected more than $9,000 in donations from those on the mailing list in the four weeks after the brochure was sent out.