Illinois (ECWd) –
Nachama Soloveichik, a Washington, D.C.-based campaign consultant running the re-election of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, was asking the question.
She directed it at Diana Rauner, the governor’s wife, who was pondering whether it was now finally time for her husband to tell Illinois voters how he really felt about Obamacare.
That is– Bruce Rauner liked Obamacare and didn’t want Congress to change it.
An email chain we obtained dated July 27, 2017– as Republicans in Congress were poised to make good on their campaign promises and repeal Obamacare– provides yet another example of how campaign staff– not state employees– have been running Rauner’s government office, making major policy decisions on behalf of his administration.
“(Bruce) has been held back by fear of Trump backlash but I think there is more he can and should say now (in support of Obamacare) to address moderates’ concerns,” Diana emailed her campaign consultant, Soloveichik, cc’ing her husband’s government-paid communications chief.
Soloveichik responded that Rauner should publicly oppose Republican efforts in Congress on Obamacare.
“If the gov feels comfortable, I think a statement vowing to protect Medicaid is useful,” Soloveichik wrote. “U are not going to lose Republican votes for that.”
“The GOP efforts in Congress are not at all popular and (it) allows Bruce to look independent. But I also want to know if any of the people signing the letter can be helpful with other things. “If we give them what they want, are there folks who can be helpful with positive statements, endorsements, etc.”?
Vindicating Dennis Murashko
Rauner’s veteran general counsel Dennis Murashko was surely thinking of interactions like this one when he wrote his now Springfield-famous memo, “Interactions Between the Governor’s Official and Political Offices” three weeks later, on Aug. 21.
“State employees, including employees of the Governor’s Office and the Governor, are prohibited from conducting political activity on state time and may not use state property or state resources ‘for the benefit of any campaign for elective office or any political organization,” Murashko wrote.
“Members of the Political Office must not direct official state business because such direction could be interpreted as providing something of value to state officials or employees in return for a preferred policy outcome.”
Murashko directly addressed emails like this one, sent by campaign staff, during state official hours, soliciting input and giving instruction to Rauner’s state government team.
“Governor’s Office employees may not.. participate in (political) conversations while on state time… using state resources… (or) while on state property,” he wrote. We agree!
For his efforts, Murashko was fired and abruptly escorted out of his state office four days after he distributed this memo.
He was also– we know now– the victim of a malicious, false, anonymous ethics complaint that sought to slander him.
Investigators finally, officially, told Murashko Friday that the complaint was baseless– after he was forced to suffer through nearly eight months of rumor and speculation.
This is yet another example of how politics drives policy in the Governor’s office and how pay to play is alive and well in the Rauner administration.