Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bruce Rauner: An Argument "A Fortiori"

Bruce Rauner: A Fortiori

Here are a couple of important dates coming up quickly:

Wednesday, October 8th:  Judge Belz in Sangamon County will rule on the request for judgment  on the pleadings to the affirmative defense; that is, a decision whether to find the defendant Attorney General’s argument for “necessary police powers” as  inadmissible or unconstitutional.  This motion, brought last month by ISEA, RSEA, WAO, and IRTA, may be settled once and for all; but that’s unlikely.  More likely, the magistrate may decide to issue a continuance, provide a partial judgment, select for inclusion only specific arguments or parties, avoid a holistic decision on the request – opting for the Supreme Court to handle the issue in its entirety.  Whatever, it will be optimistically one more critical footstep on a legal path to an affirmation of pension security.  Mark the calendar.

Wednesday, October 15th:  One week later.  Any extensions in the filings of federal and Illinois income taxes will be due, unless one is in a war zone like Afghanistan or a federally declared disaster area like flood-blanketed Colorado…or one is maybe a clever fund manager, like Bruce Rauner. 

You might remember Bruce Rauner chose to not to release his 2013 tax returns, leaving opponents Quinn and Vallas to generate commercials criticizing his wealth in general terms.  In fact, one persistent reporter cornered Vallas until finally getting a growling bark that Rauner was just too rich to be a governor. 

Rauner promised to release his tax returns before the next important date: Tuesday, November 4th: Election Day.  But, of course he did, because the usual six-month extension on federal taxes ends just 20 days before the election.  And his mandatory allowance to maintain fiscal secrecy for the current year will end and become public/press record.  But not all of it.

While the Democrats finger-wagging attacks have been concentrating on the mathematical aspect of Rauner’s wealth – somewhere between over-opulence and obscenity – it may very well be Rauner’s charitable contributions that would provide an argument a fiorati (for still a stronger reason) to vote for Quinn to diminish Rauner’s chances.

If the eventual release of Rauner’s 2013 income taxes reveals anything worth furrowing eyebrows, it will very likely be the political charitable contributions he provided to various PAC’s and “shadow” groups which tirelessly promote the far right wind agenda of a particular cabal in our post Citizens United America.

A cursory review of his available past records indicate that Bruce Rauner has invested heavily in the far-right agenda, and they in turn have become quite ready to invest in his rise from hedge fund manager to governor of the State of Illinois. 

When you think of Rauner, think also of a four-letter word:  Koch.

One of Rauner’s most ardent supporters in Illinois is the Illinois Policy Institute; CEO John Tillman was in the front of the line to tender $5000 for Rauner’s initial exploratory committee considering his run for governor.

Of course, Tillman might have been expected to give at least that much as records indicate that Rauner has provided over $1/2 million to the I.P.I. over the last several years (http://www.sj-r.com/article/20131107/News/311079879).

And the I.P.I. is one of 30 state level ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) groups, receiving copious sums of money from shadow groups like the State Policy Network , which itself collects some $83 million annually from major corporate donors like Koch Industries, Philip Morris, Kraft, etc. (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/05/state-conservative-groups-assault-education-health-tax)  Interestingly, the donors can only suggest where their donation might be used or most helpful; therefore, the specifics of amounts and identities are washed from the donation.  All legal, all under the table.

As a recipient of money from the State Policy Network, the I.P.I. is able to shield its supporters and even those they decide in turn to support politically – like Rahm Emanuel, a politician considered malleable in the I.P.I.’s free-market argument to morph pensions into 401k’s (Guardian).  As a member of ALEC and a recipient of CATO Fund directives/funds; I.P.I.’s consistent mantra is to replace all defined benefit programs with defined contributions, a position first taken and then recanted by the challenger Rauner in the spring of 2014. (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Illinois_Policy_Institute)

Other beneficiaries of Rauner’s right-wing largesse include political groups and PAC’s which unnervingly flesh out much of his meager and skeletal descriptions of political fixes and future behaviors. When Rauner first blundered into the minimum wage fray, questioning whether there should be any minimum wage at all; he was simply parroting the position of his political colleague Ted Dabrowski, spokesperson for the I.P.I., which would deny any set wage for any work performed in a free market. 

The Heartland Institute, a right-wing group that worked endlessly to blunt or deny any scientific evidence for climate change, is another targeted benefactor of Rauner’s giving.  Indeed, Heartland Institute has used money – like the $50,000 from Rauner in 2012 – to suggest (seriously?) that drilling for oil in places like Lake Michigan is totally acceptable.  “It makes perfect sense to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Gulf of Mexico, and, yes, the Great Lakes, too…” (http://illinoisfreedom.com/news/follow-money-rauners-2-million-tea-party-groups-undermines-moderate-pose/ ).

Nearly another $1/2 million of Rauner’s assistance went to an organization devoted to the opposition to marriage equality, and while Rauner recently suggested he might have vetoed the Illinois bill that was passed, he has carefully avoided informing the public he has been spending widely to prevent any such bill from getting onto the floor of the General Assembly.  In fact, he has given Jack Rosen, the head of the Family Taxpayers Association, all the support he can, and Rosen has expressed clearly what he thinks of the LGBT platform: “We all know that it (a gay lifestyle) is a kind of death sentence.” (Illinois Freedom)

As for pensions for workers?  Rauner is nothing if not constantly vacillating.  Yet, if pensions fall under the aegis of security for those who worked their lives in hope of a somewhat comfortable and independent end, knowing the Rauner in 2012 provided another nearly $1/2 million to the Cato Institute, the Club for Growth, and Americans for Prosperity should clarify his position on pensions and Social Security and Medicare.  Each of these Koch-supported groups have strongly worked behind the scenes on the federal and local level to eradicate Social Security and Medicare as overly costly entitlements given to working class people.  

The lists go on…and on.  FreedomWorks, another conservative PAC that works to deny climate change theory and any manifestations of government healthcare (Medicare, Affordable Care Act) received another $25,000 in 2012.  Sourcewatch describes FreedomWorks as a significant tea-party group that in turn funds groups like the I.P.I.  (Sourcewatch)

In education, ironically, Rauner and at least one of the Democratics  on the gubernatorial ticket can agree: on their perception of what’s best for education.  Vallas and Rauner are clearly on the same page when it comes to supporting/promoting the privatization of public education, one of the last cash cows abruptly under the long, narrow eye of Wall Street investors interested in managing all that public money.  In this arena, Rauner’s beneficence is mammoth indeed:  Noble Network of Charter Schools received $2 million on 2012; Stand for Children, $600,000; Teach for American Chicago, $1,100,000 (and Payton Prep, $200,000)

Just as hedge fund manager Bruce Rauner considers these chosen targets of his wealth and fiscal favoritism good business sense – they will if successful return money to him as and if they can change the nature of the business environment – so too do they consider Rauner and other politicians investments to get this done.  Quid pro quo. 

Now, Illinois’ public unions and educational groups  inflict self-injury and bitterness by urging members of one organization to support Quinn, unlike the other group…


ludicrously laud Quinn for positions inconceivable to anyone remotely aware of what the current Governor has done in his “earthly” tenure.

Endorsements like “Gov. Quinn supports a continuation of our defined benefits pension plan that guarantees benefits for life” is so off-the-mark that its use to dissuade a reluctance to vote this year is dissembling and manipulative.  (IEA-R letter urging vote for Quinn)

Honesty would have forced a poignant and perhaps more uncomfortable rationale:  “While current Gov. Quinn has not been an ally nor an advocate for public workers’ defined pension benefits, our union name here encourages our members to vote for Quinn rather than Bruce Rauner, and then become active in the efforts to make significant changes in the leaderships in Springfield to assure the respect given to those who toiled for the State and seek some sense of security –as promised – in their later years.”

A winning Rauner promises a spate of Koch’s money and right wing influence in my state of Illinois that I cannot accept: I will vote to defeat him.  On the other hand, Quinn represents the worst kind of politician, a populist who plays to the people but who has no regard for the Illinois Constitution he swore to uphold and the promises to the workers in Article XIII, Section 5.  After November 4th,  I will work to find an alternative to him and those who would knowingly accept or compromise with his duplicity.



  1. In Florida, we have the choice of voting for our past Republican governor who claims that a miracle has occurred which converted him to the Democratic faith - Charlie Crist. As a protege of Jeb Bush and with the present financial support of many billionaire Republicans, Crist's conversion is impossible for me to believe in.
    Present Republican Gov. Rick Scott is truly a sociopath. Example: Scott attended and participated in a Special Olympics state level event one the morning and then in the afternoon publicly cut special needs funding in education and other social services areas. There are other examples.
    Actually, Massachusetts and other states have similar situations that are extreme examples of lesser-of-two-evils voting choices which were intentionally set up by corporate decisions regarding selection and funding of both the Democratic and Republican candidates.
    Yes, I will vote for Crist rather than Scott. I am happy that I do not have to make any physical choice in Illinois.

    There is one thing I disagree with in your conclusion, John.
    I would work very hard to have Quinn follow in Bogoyevitch's footsteps to prison, and then work to have Vallas imprisoned since he is already under investigation from his doings in Louisiana. Vallas actually is evil personified. Then I would use my time seeking an alternative candidate who will run when I am four years older. The fact that I plan to still be alive and/or functioning is an act of impudence. But, everybody has to be something. In comparison to death, impudence is good.

  2. OK John. I get it . You and the "Perfection Caucus" are not happy with Right-Wing , Koch Brother Loving -- Rauner!

    You "Guys" hate Governor Quinn -- "The worst kind of Politician" -- and that apparently on a good day -- so then what?

    What do you and the "Perfection Caucus" recommend? Stay Home? Vote for Raunner to spite Madigan and all those terrible Democrats? Certainly not vote for Quinn after months of comparing him to pond scum ....not to mention having to agree with the IEA...Oh and the IFT ...OH Yeah and the CTU...? So who do you recommend for Governor? Are your guys in the Perfection Caucus secretly for the Green Party? Now John... No -- Would of...Should of... Could of ...I know you guys who never been elected to President of your Local Union are very good at giving advice of what should have been done 3 years ago at the IEA to effect this race ....but the election is a month away ...and to the IEA's ever lasting dismay they did not follow your advice on what they "should of done" ....that's water under or over the Dam .... what is the advice of the Perfection Caucus - NOW ??? What do I do on November 4th -- when I go to vote? HUH? Stay home? Give my Vote to Rauner? That is what some of your buddies "seem to be" suggesting? Your columns are very clever sophistry John -- but I want real world advice! What do I do -- on November 4th? Bob haisman , retired teacher

    1. The odd thing about Bob Haisman's attack on you, John, is that you agree with him that we should vote for Quinn. But to satisfy Bob Haisman, you must not simply find agreement on who to vote for, you MUST buy into his reasons. Or you are a member of the Perfection Caucus. Well, John. We may not have reached perfection yet. But let's keep trying.
      - Fred Klonsky

  3. Really Klonsky? You call that an attack? Really? I think you need to re-read a few of your former Blogs.... BUT OK! OK!! John If you perceived my comments as an "attack" -- I apologize -- profusely! I don't care what your reasons are .... I just want to know who you are endorsing? "Recommending"? For Governor?

    BTW John ...is the "Perfection Caucus" recommending a Gubernatorial Candidate?

  4. Well, Bob, I am somewhat confused at your dramatic response to my post. Most bizarre, it seems we disagree to agree? I thought, as I wrote, that my own personal reasons to vote for Quinn were (in end result) the same as the IEA's and all the others you mention. Perhaps my own skills at sophistry have left me deceived as to my own intentions when I wrote it, Bob, but the only difference I have with your position is a disagreement in accepting Quinn as a "friend" to pensioners. I think we both agree, but my reasons for voting for Quinn and Vallas (of all people) simply cannot parallel yours. Perfection? I think we can agree there will be no perfection possible in this election or for the next four years of office regardless who may win. Hope that helps you see a bit more clearly what I am expressing in the post.



  5. OK John!! I re-read your blog entry .... several times. It was hard for me to find any recommendation of Quinn -- certainly not a ringing endorsement. I'm glad to know that you are going to vote for Quinn ....I did appreciate all the information about Rauner's funding of Ultra-Right Wing causes. Thanks.

    At the risk of being labeled 'dramatic' twice in one day -- is this the sentence where you endorse Quinn ..?? "....Quinn represents the worst kind of politician, a populist who plays to the people but who has no regard for the Illinois Constitution ........ After November 4th, I will work to find an alternative to him and those who would knowingly accept or compromise with his duplicity...." ??? Or was it some where else in your blog??

  6. I WILL VOTE TO DEFEAT HIM. On the other hand, Quinn represents the worst kind of politician, a populist who plays to the people but who has no regard for the Illinois Constitution he swore to uphold and the promises to the workers in Article XIII, Section 5. AFTER NOVEMBER 4th, I will work to find an alternative to him and those who would knowingly accept or compromise with his duplicity.

    I CAPPED the relevant parts for you Mr. Haisman

    No, it does not read like a ringing endorsement, nor to I believe was it meant to be.

    BTW, I AM a former local president, and I find your attitude baffling Mr. Haisman. I did not realize that only OUR opinions counted in our union.

    I am very much on the fence about what to do on Nov 4.

    Rauner is repugnant.

    Quinn is a treacherous snake.

    There is by no means a "friend to education" in this race.

    An argument COULD be made to sit this election out, if only to show the Democrats that they can no longer take our support for granted.

    A few months ago, that would have been my position.

    But Rauner continues to show more and more of his truly repulsive self.

    Then again, Quinn keeps talking too.

    And if Vallas wasn't A DIRECT SLAP IN THE FACE, then Quinn is even a bigger idiot than I suspected him to be.

    Either choice, frankly, we (OUR union), loses.

    Nor do I believe my union leadership is always right- witness PERA and OUR union's support of it.

    Quite independent of KLONSKY, I was appalled by it.

    I've been working for SEVERAL YEARS NOW, trying to mitigate the disaster that is PERA in my district.

    As KLONSKY has pointed out, we are in the unenviable position of fighting against the principles of PERA nationally, while defending it in our state.

    No thanks.

    It was a DISASTER.

    Heads should have rolled.

    Support for QUINN in the last 2 election cycles has been a disaster.

    Heads should roll.

    We SUPPORTED Lisa Madigan for X-rist sakes!

    We have endorsed SEVERAL pension thieves.


    They won't though.

    Irregardless, I will continue to support and work for OUR. Union.

    Kevin Morton
    Former president of The SASED Education Association local 57

  7. Kevin -- Thanks -- I must have been hypothesized by John way with words! I missed that one phrase -- "I will Vote to defeat him" .... Thanks!!! I feel so much better now!! Haisman

  8. That's ok Bob. This is going to be a difficult election choice for many of us.

    Frankly, I dread what four years of either candidate might bring.

    Quinn might actually be the luckiest politician in the history of politics.

    I shudder to think of what else he may be "put on earth" to do if re-elected. Maybe he reads it as divine favor.

    Rauner...my good lord, he such a clown that he might actually turn what should have been a cake-walk and turn it into a monumental defeat.

    A moderate, pro-education Republican candidate (if there is such a thing) would have won in a landslide.

    A democratic candidate who would have looked at the pension bill and said, "No, that's clearly unconstitutional, AND I WON'T VOTE FOR IT" could have challenged Quinn and beat him in the primary.

    Woulda coulda shoulda.

    We own one of those two clowns now.

    And the devil (Mike Madigan) sits back and laughs

  9. Bob,
    I prefer pond scum to Quinn. Rauner is an insult to pond scum.

  10. Most of us agree that the two major goobernatorial candidates are nightmares. My inclinations in next month's goobernatorial election are either to leave the Quinn/Rauner goobernatorial bubbles on the ballot blank or to vote for the “Republican on steroids," the Libertarian, who, thanks to small miracles, has no chance of winning. I haven't reached a final decision, though I’m leaning toward the Libertarian goober and plan to hold my nose in the event. Ultimately, my vote would hurt the Democratic goober more. I fantasize sticking it to both major goobers but that’s a mathematical impossibility. Voting for either Quinn or Rauner is definitely off the table.

    Retired teacher, liberal/progressive Democratic Precinct Committeeman, who is at odds with the *DLC leaders of the Democratic Party at the state and national levels.

    *DLC = Democratic Leadership Council: a corporate-friendly, sometimes anti-union, “centrist,” group of wealthy and influential “Democrats” who advocate conservative policies on a variety of issues. The DLC is also known as “Republican-Lite.” DLC members and sympathizers control the Democratic Party’s purse strings. They give all Democrats a collective black eye. Some prominent DLC members: Bill and Hillary Clinton, Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama, Andrew Cuomo, Chuck Shumer, and Al Gore (former member?).