The campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Kirk Dillard is accusing fellow GOP candidate Bruce Rauner of "pay-to-play" politics as a result of an endorsement Rauner won this week from the Palatine Township Republican Organization.
Rauner's campaign and Palatine Township GOP Committeeman Aaron Del Mar flatly deny the charges of "pay-to-play."
A Dillard news release sent out Thursday accuses Rauner of making campaign contributions to the Palatine Township GOP and Del Mar's political committee in exchange for the group's official endorsement.
Rauner gave $1,000 to the Palatine Township GOP and $2,500 to Del Mar's committee this year.
On Wednesday, Rauner finished with 65 percent of the votes of Palatine GOP members, Dan Rutherford had 20 percent, Dillard had 11 percent, and Bill Brady had 4 percent.
"This is the height of pay-to-play," said Glenn Hodas, Dillard's campaign manager, in the news release. "Rauner and his allies are basically buying votes while making it appear as though he's getting widespread support."
Dillard's news release states Rauner's campaign "was also believed to have paid the $25 membership fee required for several individuals to attend the endorsement session and cast their vote."
Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf said that wasn't the case. "The Rauner campaign spent no money last night, however we do greatly appreciate the endorsement as well as the free publicity generated by other campaigns touting our victory," Schrimpf said in an email.
Del Mar, who is also chairman of the Cook County Republican Party, said donations didn't have anything to do with the Palatine Township GOP's endorsement of Rauner. In fact, Del Mar says, Dillard himself made a $250 contribution to the committee this year.
"I believe Bruce Rauner is the best candidate for governor we have," Del Mar said. "He represented very well to our organization and won our endorsement. Period."
Del Mar also denied that Rauner "paid anybody's dues."