Flyers promoting anti-Rauner rally banned from state offices

SHARE Flyers promoting anti-Rauner rally banned from state offices
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Revised flyer after initial one was prohibited as political activity. Provided photo.

Flyers promoting a Downstate rally — while criticizing Gov. Bruce Rauner — were removed from state offices after a Rauner administration memo dubbed them “prohibited political activity.”

“Take it to the Capitol. Rauner is wrong,” the flyer read, in announcing a rally next Wednesday at the Illinois State Capitol to fight for workers rights, social service agencies and schools, among other entities affected by the budget stalemate. The group Illinois Working Together — a coalition “defending all working families from anti-worker attacks” — plans to join the state’s major unions and religious groups at the rally.

The Rauner administration memo was sent on May 6 to agency ethics officers regarding the flyer. It reminded them that while the state welcomes free speech of its employees, they must ensure that state facilities have “no appearance of impropriety or partiality.”

The memo says the state and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees had agreed that the union wouldn’t post political speech on its bulletin boards in state offices.

“The union bulletin board is not a public forum, nor does the union have unfettered use of the board,” the memo reads.

The memo says advertising a rally is allowed, but “when the flyer states, in its largest type, that a particular elected official ‘is wrong,’” and advocates particular political positions, it has engaged in political activity.

Anders Lindall, spokesman for AFSCME Council 31, said Illinois Working Together, as well as other unions and community groups have been circulating the flyers for weeks.

They received word on Monday through the memo that the flyer was “prohibited political activity.”

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Lindall said, adding the Ethics Act defines political activity as support for a “campaign” or “political organization.”

“The memo appears to be an attempt by the governor’s office to silence public service workers,” Lindall said.

In response to the memo, the group Illinois Working Together released a new flyer, this one replacing Rauner’s name with “Censored.”

The memo and flyers were first reported on Capitolfax.com.

Rauner is Wrong Rally May 18

Censored is Hurting Il

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