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Rauner Reverts Back to Far-Right Economic Agenda with Rasmussen Hire

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New Chief of Staff Seen as Obstacle to Legislative Progress in Illinois

Yesterday, Bruce Rauner announced a new Chief of Staff, Kristina Rasmussen, formerly the head of the right-wing Illinois Policy Institute. Rauner’s pick was seen as a lurch to the right for the Governor, and a doubling-down on his no-compromise style of politics. Just a few headlines drive home this point.

Greg Hinz, Crain’s Chicago: “With new chief of staff pick, Rauner signals war.”

Mark Brown, Chicago Sun-Times: “Rauner brings in new (far) right hand for re-election fight.”

Mark Brown continued in his story (emphasis added):

“In picking Kristina Rasmussen, president of the Illinois Policy Institute, to take over for Richard Goldberg, the point man on Rauner’s failed ‘grand bargain,’ the governor is taking an ideological turn to the right in preparation for his 2018 re-election fight. Or perhaps it’s more of a return to the right.”

Mark Brown reminds readers of where Rauner’s true politics lie – with the far-economic right. Just this past January, with the budget in disarray, Rauner attended a three-day Koch Industries Summit. Not including the more than $625,000 Rauner donated to the Illinois Policy Institute, Rauner’s given at nearly $200,000 to Koch network organizations or allies. The Illinois Policy Institute itself is a close ally itself of the Koch Brothers operation, getting money from Koch-allies and joining hands with ALEC.

Rauner has always pursued a far-right economic agenda in disguise. His agenda syncs up almost perfectly with the Koch Brothers. Both Rauner and the Koch operation aggressively push Right-To-Work legislation, seek to repeal Prevailing Wage Laws and curtail Workers’ Compensation, and advocate for a flat income tax.

Really, Rauner just admitting what he has always been.

“Bruce Rauner is done pretending that he will govern in the best interest of all of Illinois voters, and instead is doubling-down on the failed leadership that lead to two years without a budget,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “The damage of Rauner’s self-inflicted crisis was extreme – every resident’s debt increased, the state was pushed to the edge of fiscal collapse, and jobs were driven out of Illinois. Now Rauner’s obstruction threatens schools’ ability to open in the fall. Illinois families have suffered enough under Bruce Rauner’s failed leadership.”




2012: Rauner Family Foundation Granted $150,000 to the Americans for Prosperity Foundation. According to its 2012 IRS 990 form, the Rauner Family Foundation granted $150,000 to the Americans for Prosperity Foundation in 2012. [Rauner Family Foundation, IRS 990, 2012]

  • Americans for Prosperity Foundation is the “Political Education Arm of the Koch Network.” According to the New York Times, “Their secret weapon is the Grassroots Leadership Academy: a training program dreamed up by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, the political education arm of the Koch network, and intended to groom the next generation of conservative activists to shape the future of the Republican Party.” [New York Times, 9/7/16]

 2012: Rauner Family Foundation Granted $10,000 to the Cato Institute. According to its 2012 IRS 990 form, the Rauner Family Foundation granted $10,000 to the CATO Institute in 2012. [Rauner Family Foundation, IRS 990, 2012]

  • Charles Koch Helped Found Cato Institute, Family Has Donated More than $30 Million Dollars. According to the New York Times, “Charles Koch helped found Cato in 1977, and his family has donated more than $30 million to it over the years. But he and Mr. Crane had a bitter falling-out over management and philosophical differences, and the Kochs had been angling for Mr. Crane’s removal for years.” [New York Times, 6/25/12]

2012: Rauner Family Foundation Granted $25,000 to FreedomWorks. According to its 2012 IRS 990 form, the Rauner Family Foundation granted $25,000 to the FreedomWorks Foundation in 2012. [Rauner Family Foundation, IRS 990, 2012]

  • FreedomWorks Received $12 Million from Koch Family Foundations. According to a column in the New York Times, “The other major sponsor of the Tea Party movement is Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks, which, like Americans for Prosperity, is promoting events in Washington this weekend. Under its original name, Citizens for a Sound Economy, FreedomWorks received $12 million of its own from Koch family foundations.” [New York Times, 8/28/10]

2012: Rauner Family Foundation Granted $10,000 to the Jack Miller Center. According to its 2012 IRS 990 form, the Rauner Family Foundation granted $10,000 to the Jack Miller Center in 2012. [Rauner Family Foundation, IRS 990, 2012]

  • Jack Miller Center Used “Koch Money” to Bankroll Programs at Universities. According to Dave Levinthal of the Center for Public Integrity, “The Koch foundations together have also spent millions more to fund dozens of academic scholarships and internships, numerous think tanks and education-focused organizations, such as the Philadelphia-based Jack Miller Center. The latter is a nonprofit that used $250,000 in Koch money to help bankroll academic programs that ‘reinvigorate the teaching of America’s founding principles and history’ at 45 institutes of higher education, from Harvard University to American University to the University of California, Los Angeles.” [Center for Public Integrity via Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/27/14]


Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda Promoted Local Right-To-Work Laws. Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda would, “Create local employee empowerment zones. Let voters in a county, municipality or other local unit of government decide via referendum whether or not business employees should be forced to join a union or pay dues as a condition of employment.” [Turnaround Agenda, 6/1/15]

  • Americans For Prosperity Took Credit For Passing Local Right To Work Laws. According to Americans for Prosperity, “Americans For Prosperity-Kentucky was engaged on local right to work victories in Kentucky. AFP was engaged in the first local right to work victory in the nation.” [Americans for Prosperity, 1/7/17]

Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda Would Limit Prevailing Wage Requirements. Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda would, “Implement true competitive bidding in public works projects, limit prevailing wage requirements and eliminate project-labor agreements.” [Turnaround Agenda, 6/1/15]

  • Americans For Prosperity In Michigan, Supported Repealing State Prevailing Wage Requirements. According to Americans for Prosperity, “Repealing prevailing wage requirements would allow businesses and workers to compete more freely at a fair market wage for public projects, rather than subject taxpayers to labor costs that this antiquated law can inflate by as much as 60 percent above market rates.” [Americans for Prosperity, Michigan, 5/13/15]

Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda Would Reform Workers’ Compensation. Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda would, “Implement true workers’ compensation reform legislation that updates how injuries are apportioned to ensure employers pay for injuries that occur on the job; clarifies the definition of ‘traveling employees’ to ensure a reasonable standard that excludes risks that would impact the general public; and implements Medical Association guidelines when determining impairment.” [Turnaround Agenda, 6/1/15]

  • AFP Illinois Applauded Rauner For His Commitment To Reforming “Workers Comp.” Americans for Prosperity’s Illinois Affiliate issued the following press release: “Following today’s State of the State address from Gov. Rauner, Americans for Prosperity Illinois state director, David From released the following statement: […] We applaud his vision for improving education, reforming workers comp and lawsuit abuse and reducing the crushing tax burden on homeowners throughout the state.” [Americans for Prosperity Illinois, Press Release, 2/4/15]

Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda Would Preserve A Flat Income Tax. Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda would, “Preserve a fair and flat income tax by protecting low-income families with an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit, and provide additional exemption relief to working families.” [Turnaround Agenda, 6/1/15]

  • Americans For Prosperity Listed Defeating A Progressive Income Tax As A Victory In Illinois. According to Americans for Prosperity, “Here’s a list of all the victories we’ve had in the states so far this year […] Illinois: Defeated attempt to replace the flat income tax with a progressive tax.” [Americans for Prosperity, 8/8/16]