SPRINGFIELD-Bruce Rauner either is a candidate who puts his money where his mouth is when it means coming up with novel ways to help reinvigorate struggling areas on the South Side.
Or, he’s a crass politician merely intent on throwing big bucks at African-Americans in a bid to win their votes and tamp down the big majority Gov. Pat Quinn needs in Chicago to win re-election in November.
Identifying the real Rauner depends on which side of the gubernatorial race one is on a day after WLS-TV aired a piece outlining how the multimillionaire, during a campaign event on the South Side with African-American activists, offered to invest $1 million of his own funds in a credit union there.
Quinn’s supporters pounced on Rauner’s gesture Friday, deriding it as a bid to “purchase votes.”
“This is the guy who’s going to shake up Springfield? What a fraud,” said Rikeesha Phelon, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Governors Assocaition. “This is a deeply cynical move by a billionaire who’s trying to use the millions he made exploiting seniors, workers, and families to purchase votes. It won’t work.”
Rauner’s campaign defended the Winnetka Republican and belittled Quinn for his $54.5 million Neighborhood Recovery Initiative anti-violence grant program that is now under federal investigation.
“For Bruce Rauner, this is putting his own money where his mouth is, helping create jobs, business opportunities, and a better life in African-American neighborhoods – a cause he has pursued in his private life for decades,” Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf said Friday.
Here’s the WLS-TV report by political reporter Charles Thomas: