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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy| Ashlee Rezin / Sun-Times file photo

Rep. Rush son, brother on Chris Kennedy payroll after Rush endorsement

SHARE Rep. Rush son, brother on Chris Kennedy payroll after Rush endorsement
SHARE Rep. Rush son, brother on Chris Kennedy payroll after Rush endorsement

Congressman Bobby Rush’s son and brother are working for Chris Kennedy’s gubernatorial campaign — their paydays coming just weeks after Rush endorsed the Democrat for governor.

Kennedy’s third quarter contribution report, filed on Monday, shows Jeffrey Rush — one of the congressman’s sons — has been paid $11,120.19 from the campaign with his first paycheck dated Aug. 16.

His brother Marlon Rush’s first paycheck was on Aug. 4 for $3,000, with his pay now adding up to $11,354.31.

Kennedy announced Congressman Rush’s endorsement on June 19 in a Chatham neighborhood restaurant — and it was seen as a substantial endorsement that could help bring in the African-American vote. Rush served with Kennedy’s uncle Sen. Ted Kennedy, cousin Rep. Patrick Kennedy, nephew Rep. Joe Kennedy III and his brother Rep. Joe Kennedy.

Kennedy on Tuesday night said he didn’t see a conflict of interest in having hired relatives of Rush after his endorsement.

“I’m from a large family. He’s from a large family. It never occurred to me,” Kennedy told the Sun-Times after a candidate forum at Aurora University. “Look at the dollars involved and the hours that they’re putting in. It’s fair compensation, and I don’t think there’s any extra going to any . . . I don’t see it as a conflict.”

Kennedy said the two are working on “everything from meeting planning to event organizing, political outreach, interface with different interfaith organizations.”

“Pretty much soup to nuts in the campaign,” Kennedy said. “And they’ve been very, very helpful and probably surprised by the amount of work they’re being asked to do.”

Congressman Rush did not return a message for comment.

Just like Kennedy, Rush too has lost relatives to gun violence.In 1999, Bobby Rush’s son Huey Rich was shot to death on the South Side. Kennedy is the son of former U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy and nephew of President John F. Kennedy — both victims of assassinations.

Rush is no stranger to hiring relatives to his campaign, having hired his late wife Carolyn, Marlon, Jeffrey and his mother during his 2016 campaign. Carolyn Rush had been Rush’s long-time political adviser. There are no rules against employing family members within campaigns, although the the scrutiny increases as the paychecks grow. Rush came under fire in 2013 after a Sun-Times and Better Government Association investigation questioned his campaign spending, tax bills, personal finances and a nonprofit he founded.

Jeffrey Rush in 2008 was sentenced to six months in the Kane County Jail and three years probation after pleading guilty to official misconduct for having sex with female inmates. He was fired from his $54,408-a-year job as assistant supervisor of security at the Fox Valley Adult Transition Center in Aurora in September 2007.

Congressman Rush persuaded Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration to hire his son because of his law enforcement and supervisory experience, the governor’s office said after his firing.

Rush represents the South Side 1st Congressional District and was first elected to Congress in 1992.


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