Breaking News Bar
updated: 7/12/2014 4:39 PM

Treasurer's interns had political connections

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Dan Rutherford

      Dan Rutherford

 
Associated Press

Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford's office has offered paid internships to multiple young people with connections to influential politicians, campaign donors and lobbyists, according to a published report.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported Saturday that Rutherford's office kept a list of internship applicants and the name of the person who referred them. But a spokeswoman for Rutherford said clout played no role in who got the internships.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

The office sends letters each year to Chicago aldermen and members of the Illinois Legislature, asking them to refer applicants. Among those who did so were House Speaker Michael Madigan and U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, both Democrats, as well as Republican lawmakers.

Rutherford himself recommended a 16-year-old member of the wealthy Pritzker family for a college internship. That person -- who turned 17 during the 2011 internship and was paid a total of $1,892 -- was hired one year after a relative donated $50,000 to Rutherford's campaign fund. The same family member gave $4,000 to Rutherford's campaign fund this year.

Rutherford Spokeswoman Mary Frances Bragiel said the Pritzker family's campaign contribution and the internship were absolutely not connected. She also said the intern worked for only six weeks. The office also denied the list of referrals was a "clout list."

"In sending out the letters to the members of the legislature and Chicago aldermen -- it's a government office and who better to know about internships in state government than elected officials?" said Loriann McCabb, Rutherford's deputy chief of staff.

Documents provided to the newspaper showed the number of internships offered grew steadily after Rutherford took office. In his predecessor's final year, the office had eight paid interns. That number grew to 48 in 2011. There were 58 in 2013 -- the year Rutherford launched a failed bid for the Republican nomination for governor. The Sun-Times report didn't specify how many of those internships were given to people with some kind of political connections.

According to numbers provided by the treasurer's office, as many as 73 interns worked in the office in 2003. This year there are 21.

Office counsel Neil Olson said Rutherford expanded the program partly because he wanted more political and geographical diversity in who was hired. Olson also said he wasn't aware of any required process for how interns are selected.

Rutherford's office said interns make $9.50 per hour and are mainly assigned to work in the I-Cash property recovery program, where they have helped return more than $100 million to Illinois residents each year he has been in office.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here