Rutherford sends birthday video to dead wife of ex-GOP chair

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For years, Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford has sent birthday message to various people with a video of him singing “Happy Birthday.”

He’s gotten some flack for sending these whimsical messages, including when he was the Illinois chair to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

On Monday, one of the videos of a singing Rutherford, in what appears to be an automated message, landed in the mailbox of onetime Illinois Republican Party Chair Pat Brady.

It was addressed to his wife, Julie Brady.

Happy

Birthday!

Dear Julie, A birthday should be as wonderful and unique as the person having it. That is why I make these special wishes just for you. May you have a day filled with everything that makes you happy, the warm support of good friends and memories you will cherish. May life’s simple pleasures, large and small, make this birthday one of your finest, one of your best and one of your very happiest! I hope your birthday is the perfect start to a whole year of prosperity.

The problem — Julie Brady died in May. Pat Brady sent Rutherford a terse response, saying his wife had died 15 weeks ago and her death was well-publicized. Rutherford has since apologized for the flap.

“He needs to scrub his lists better,” said Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, who is close to Pat Brady and was a pallbearer in Julie Brady’s funeral. “It’s a lesson for everyone in this business — this is what you want to avoid. This was the last thing (Pat Brady) wanted to start his day with.”

From Rutherford spokeswoman Mary Frances Bragiel: “Treasurer Rutherford (sent) an apology to Pat Brady this morning within 15 minutes of being notified. The birthday greetings are part of an automated system. Treasurer Rutherford has known Pat and Julie Brady for a number of years, and he sent a sympathy card to Pat and his family when Julie passed away.”

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