Gov. Pat Quinn cast his gubernatorial Republican opponent Bruce Rauner as unpatriotic Tuesday after a recent disclosure that the wealthy venture capitalist has channeled at least part of his fortune to the Cayman Islands.
“Bruce Rauner is not running for governor of the Cayman Islands. He’s running for governor of Illinois, and the people of Illinois are entitled to the facts,” Quinn said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. “It’s known for secrecy. It’s known for being a tax haven for those who want to avoid taxes.”
On Sunday, the Sun-Times reported that at least five investments by Rauner or his firm were held in a country that has no income tax and a financial system cloaked in secrecy. The Rauner campaign has insisted Rauner met his legal tax obligations. Rauner has yet to release his 2013 taxes, but promises to do so by Oct. 15.
“These billionaires and these runaway corporations, they are not patriotic in my opinion,” Quinn said. “They should invest in America and not get into tax-avoidance plans.”
Rauner’s camp hit back.
“I don’t know who Quinn is talking about, but it isn’t Bruce,” said Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf. “Bruce and Diana haven’t used overseas accounts to reduce their taxes and they donated tens of thousands to military and veterans charities — just recently, Bruce attended an honor flight. If Pat Quinn wants to throw around words like unpatriotic, he should think about all the veterans who still can’t find a job because of his failed policies of high taxes and high unemployment. On a day when America suffered a brutal attack in Afghanistan, Pat Quinn should be ashamed of himself.”
However, Quinn faced his own questions at a Tuesday news event where he announced the expansion of health care company Valence, which is tapping state tax incentives as part of a program in which it promises to add 500 jobs and spend millions to grow in Illinois. Quinn was asked about recent reports that federal money intended for hurricane victims ended up going into a controversial anti-violence program.
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., asked for an investigation last week. Kirk sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development asking to probe how Hurricane Ike money was spent in Illinois. Quinn said parts of Cook County were hit by heavy rains and flooding.
“It had the approval of Housing and Urban Development to do microloans to the areas that were affected,” in Cook County, Quinn said.
In a reference to a group under scrutiny, Chicago Community Ventures, Quinn said when issues were raised it was removed from the program. He added that another group has successfully carried out a similar mission, giving out 400 micro-loans to areas affected.
Also Tuesday, the Rauner camp and a pro-Quinn PAC released new TV attack ads in the race as Rauner took a break from the stump in Illinois. Rauner is spending part of the week at his 6,000-square-foot, $2.2 million Montana ranch that sits atop in hundreds of acres. While in Montana, Rauner will attend a fund-raiser at a nearby ranch; tickets for that event cost $500 to $5,000 per person.
The event host, Gwen Wagner, said she’s supported the Rauner family’s involvement in the community as well as Rauner’s recent bid to buy up thousands of acres of land in Montana.
“They been supportive of the community from 4H … to firefighters,” Wagner said in a phone interview. “It’s just a wonderful support network that they’ve done. They’re good people, good family people. That’s why I’m supporting them.”
Rauner’s campaign said the candidate heads to Montana every August with his family.