Illinois governor-elect, wife put investments in blind trust

Associated Press
Posted1/9/2015 7:40 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Illinois Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner and his wife, Diana, said Friday that they are placing their assets into a blind trust to avoid conflicts of interest while he is in office, a legal agreement used by other wealthy politicians, including former presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

A blind trust means the multimillionaire Winnetka venture capitalist and his wife, president of early childhood education group Ounce of Prevention Inc., will not be involved in decisions regarding many of their investments.

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Instead, the couple is granting a legal power of attorney to New York-based Roundtable Investment Partners, which will control the buying and selling of assets, and field all communications from company and investment representatives.

Under the agreement, the Rauners have also directed that all gains from investments that have state contracts will be donated to charity.

Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf called the legal agreement "the strongest possible structure" and was "the most ethical and transparent way to fulfill to fulfill Bruce's commitment to avoiding any potential conflicts of interest as governor."

Political analyst Kevin Lampe says such a move would demonstrate that Rauner is not focused on his portfolio while he's handling the affairs of the state.

However, Lampe said, the Rauner administration should further disclose how the trust is administered, including the relationship of the elected official with the financial agent who is handling the blind trust. "We need to know, how is it managed. How blind is it, really?" Lampe said.

The announcement came on the same day as Rauner's transition committee released a lengthy report on recommendations for his priorities for his first 100 days in office. Rauner is preparing to take the oath of office on Monday.