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Rauner’s Bad Day: Decision to Keep Donations from Roy Moore-Backer Not Going Over Well

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Former Rauner Campaign Manager Goes to Run Uihlein Super PAC on Same Day Rauner Refuses to Dump Mega-Donor

Yesterday, Governor Bruce Rauner was asked twice if he would return $2.6 million in donations from mega-donor Richard Uihlein after it was revealed Uihlein was bankrolling Roy Moore’s Senate campaign. He twice refused. On the very same day, it was announced Rauner’s former campaign manager Chip Englander would run Richard Uihlein’s Super PAC in Wisconsin. Strange coincidence.

“Bruce Rauner decided that his relationship with his mega-donor ally was more important than sending a clear message about Roy Moore’s conduct,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Not only did Rauner refuse to return donations from Roy Moore’s biggest backer, he would not even call out his ally for his ill-advised support of Moore. Once again, Rauner’s failed to show leadership on an important issue.”

Rauner’s refusal to return Uihlein’s donations lead to a bad day for the nation’s most vulnerable incumbent:

Chicago Sun-Times: “Rauner silent on $2.6M from friend supporting fund helping Roy Moore.”

“But the governor sidestepped questions about whether he should return $2.6 million in contributions from a longtime friend and supporter who is also the top donor to a political action committee paying for ads backing Moore.”

“Lake Forest business magnate Richard Uihlein — the co-founder of Uline Corp. — contributed $50,000 on Sept. 8, and another $50,000 on Nov. 22 to the Proven Conservative PAC. The second contribution came as Moore was already under fire over allegations he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl when he was in his 30s.”

Bloomberg: “Donor Backing Roy Moore Causes Headaches for Other Republicans.”

“That money made Uihlein the group’s top donor and triggered calls from Democrats that other Republicans who have taken Uihlein’s money should return the funds because Moore has been accused of pursuing dates or sexual contact with teenage girls decades ago.” […]

“So far, Democrats have tried to use Uihlein and Moore to target Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, one of the most vulnerable Republican governors facing re-election in 2018, as well as a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin.”

WCIA: “Roy Moore scandal divides state GOP.”

“Rauner ignored questions about fractures in his party and would not say if he intends to return the $2.6 million Uihlein gave to his own 2014 election campaign.”

WJBC: “Rauner won’t comment on donations from Roy Moore supporter.”

“Dick Uihlein gave Citizens for Rauner more than $2.5 million in contributions in the 2014 election cycle. The Democratic Governor’s Association is calling on Rauner to give back the money. Rauner was asked directly about returning that money and he dodged the question….Rauner was given a second chance to say what he was planning on doing with the contribution and he sidestepped the question again.”