Quinn, Rauner spar over supposed lawmaker "bribes"
Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn accused Republican opponent Bruce Rauner of giving lawmakers campaign cash in exchange for votes against legislation Tuesday, but Republicans argue it was Quinn who gave Democrats state jobs after they voted to raise taxes.
"You tried to sabotage it," Quinn said of Rauner's activities related to the pension compromise that passed the legislature last year.
Rauner said he joined with fellow Republicans to work against a package of benefit cuts for teachers and state workers but "absolutely" didn't offer campaign money for votes.
"I thought that bill was a mistake," Rauner said.
The two men spoke at a joint appearance before the Chicago Tribune editorial board.
A statement from top Republican lawmakers in the Illinois General Assembly responded that a handful of Democratic lawmakers who voted to raise income taxes hours before leaving office in 2011 got jobs in Quinn's administration.
"The only person who bribes legislators for votes is Pat Quinn," the statement said.
Both House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont voted for the pension plan.
Rauner's campaign has given donations to Republican organizations across Illinois in the past couple years, particularly during primary races. And Rauner has previously attacked Quinn's Department of Agriculture director, Bob Flider, as one former lawmaker who voted for the tax increase and ended up with a state job.
Quinn accused Rauner of lying about state pension business, "profiteering" and not taking responsibility for companies in which he had stake.
Rauner claimed Quinn misled taxpayers, harmed the state's business climate, took money from special interests and continued hiring practices of now imprisoned ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
"You are engaged in the same patronage, the same corruption, the same cronyism that has plagued Illinois for decades, just like your partner and friend Rod Blagojevich," Rauner said.
Quinn said Rauner dodged responsibility with companies in which his former investment firm, GTCR, was involved. A criminal investigation found executives at a Michigan-based company falsified financial information to make the company appear more valuable. Rauner stepped down from the board and his firm sold most of its stock -- making at least $32 million -- shortly before the stock's value plummeted, the Tribune reported. Investors lost about $285 million.
"This is a classic example of what was said to be one of the biggest accounting frauds in American history. ... He ran out the door, took the profits and left all the shareholders and customers and workers holding the bag," Quinn said.
• Daily Herald news services contributed to this report.