Rutherford won't release independent probe yet

The independent probe into accusations of sexual harassment and improper campaign work against Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford will remain a secret for now, his attorney said.

Attorney Peter Andjelkovich said he advised Rutherford not to release an independent report by former FBI agent Anthony D'Angelo, nor to talk further about the claims that threaten to derail his candidacy for governor. Litigants shouldn't be “walking around litigating the case outside the courtroom,” Andjelkovich said.

But the move comes days after Rutherford stood at a Schaumburg hotel and gave a detailed rebuttal to former employee Edmund Michalowski's accusations, even providing text messages and travel vouchers to try to knock down the claims.

“I absolutely want this thing out there as soon as possible and as public as possible,” Rutherford told The Associated Press.

Andjelkovich said people shouldn't draw conclusions from the secrecy.

“There is nothing to hide,” he said.

More information could come out as Michalowski's lawsuit progresses. But before the March 18 primary election?

“Unfortunately, these things don't go fast,” Andjelkovich said.

Standing ground

The Libertyville Township Republican Organization endorsed Rutherford for governor weeks before he held his first news conference about the accusations.

Do Libertyville Township GOP leaders regret that decision?

Vice Chairman Keith Gray says he does not.

After all, he says, allegations of this sort aren't necessarily rare in politics, and Rutherford deserves the benefit of the doubt, especially if it might be hard to find the full truth of the matter before the March 18 primary election that pits Rutherford against businessman Bruce Rauner, state Sen. Bill Brady and state Sen. Kirk Dillard.

Here's why Gray says he backed Rutherford: “Dan has been in Lake County helping Republican candidates for the last six years.”

Gray, for example, said Rutherford helped him with his 2008 campaign for Illinois Senate against Democratic state Sen. Terry Link of Waukegan.

There are enough Democrats in Springfield to bypass the governor's will if they stick together, so if a Republican beats Gov. Pat Quinn in November, he'll need to help get more Republicans elected to Statehouse seats if he wants to get things done, Gray said.

“It's going to take him pulling a lot of people along with him,” he said. “A governor's not going to be doing it alone.”

Gray said his organization was impressed with all four candidates for governor, but Rutherford's work in Lake County paid off.

Most suburban groups have backed Dillard, of Hinsdale, or Rauner, of Winnetka, in the GOP primary for governor.

Who's the boss?

Gray says the Libertyville Township GOP's decision came down to Rutherford and Rauner, but there was some concern that Rauner's rhetoric against “government union bosses” could send public employee union members running to vote for Quinn in November, even though the Democrat spent a few years working hard to cut their retirement benefits.

“If they're energized, they're going to get out and vote.” Gray said.

Big money

Those union bosses poured more than $1 million Thursday afternoon into a campaign fund, the Illinois Freedom PAC, that's paying for negative TV ads to try and keep Rauner from winning in March.

Here's the tally: $500,000 from the Illinois Education Association campaign arm, $500,000 from the Service Employees International Union and $250,000 from the Illinois Federation of Teachers.

While they're opposing Rauner, they're not backing Brady, Dillard or Rutherford.

Duckworth going to Sochi

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth will head to Sochi next month to lead the country's delegation to the Paralympic Games, the State Department announced.

The Hoffman Estates Democrat, who lost both her legs after her helicopter was shot down 10 years ago in Iraq, has since finished the Chicago Marathon in a wheelchair and said she's honored to go to the games.

“It is a sad fact that in many countries around the world, the disabled are hidden, considered to be an embarrassment and not afforded the accommodations needed for them to lead productive lives,” she said in a statement. “The athletes of the Paralympic Games are an inspiration for the disabled citizens of the world and an example of what we can accomplish.”

Who's backing whom?

The Republican Organization of Elk Grove Township announced this week they'll back Rauner for governor, Doug Truax of Downers Grove over state Sen. Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove for U.S. Senate, state Rep. Tom Cross of Oswego over DuPage County Auditor Bob Grogan for Illinois treasurer, and Larry Kaifesh of Carpentersville over Manju Goel of Aurora for Congress in the 8th District.

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