Gubernatorial candidate Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale lashed out at opponent Bruce Rauner on Monday following a Sun-Times investigation that Rauner used his clout to get his daughter into an elite Chicago public school then followed up with a $250,000 donation.
“I worry…what Chicago child was not let in to Walter Payton High School that had that advantage that Bruce Rauner’s daughter or anybody else’s daughter might have after going to such a great high school,” Dillard said at a news conference on Michigan Avenue. “I’d like to know who didn’t get in because his suburban daughter got in.”
This marks a new headache for Rauner one week after the Winnetka businessman reversed course on a previous suggestion to lower the minimum wage by $1 an hour in Illinois.
“There are two sets of rules. There are the Rauner rules and then there are rules for regular people,” Dillard said. “If Mr. Rauner is the nominee, there will be a drip, drip drip of stories continuing now through the election that will become a river and flood the Republican parties’ possibilities of beating Pat Quinn in the Fall and Illinoisans will then be subjected to a continued economic and social downswirl in the state of Illinois.”
Rauner lashed back, with his campaign saying that Dillard, as well as the other two contenders in the race — Dan Rutherford and Bill Brady — all had written clout recommendations for students to get into the University of Illinois.
“Kirk Dillard is the worst type of career politician. He’s double-talking and has more clout baggage than O’Hare during a snowstorm,” said Mike Schrimpf, Rauner Campaign spokesperson. “The fact is Kirk Dillard and the other career politicians repeatedly clouted people into the University of Illinois and never thought twice about it. Voters know he is a hypocrite and will reject him.”
Dillard responded by minimizing the number of letters he had written and saying he believed his picks were rejected.
“The one or two people that I have ever written letters of recommendation to are there, are public … This is just one story,” charging Rauner’s conduct was part of a pattern.
Dillard was asked about his own tenure as chief of staff to former Gov. Jim Edgar and whether he ever made recommendations based on clout.
“As the governor’s chief of staff I didn’t make recommendations for anything,” Dillard said.
Did he make considerations based on clout in that time? Pass them through the governor?
“I didn’t,” Dillard said. “No, not me.”
For his part, Brady, who criticized Rauner’s ties to Stuart Levine on Sunday, said the Rauner revelations on Monday “stain the integrity of our party.”
“Again we see more evidence of Bruce Rauner’s attempts to wield his clout through his checkbook. It’s more political insider pay-to-play we don’t need or want in Illinois,” Brady said in a statement. “Clouting his daughter’s admission to a prestigious public magnet school and following up with $750,000 in donations to the schools smack of insider politics that stain the integrity of our party and strain the trust of Illinois citizens.”