Illinois (ECWd) -
The morning of Aug. 3, 2017, Diana Rauner wasn’t sleeping well.
It was 3:50 a.m. and she was wide awake, thinking about the Rauner brand and legacy, which at that moment was circling the drain.
Two years of inattention and disengagement on the school funding issue had resulted in the Rauners painting themselves into a corner.
With ten days until schools opened, they had a choice-- agree to a massive, downstate and suburban $17 billion bailout of Chicago’s corrupt, already over-funded public schools, or take a chance on public schools not opening on account of their not receiving state funding.
For Diana, who through her state taxpayer-funded “early education non-profit,” saw herself as a leading intellectual on K-12 education, the latter would be a major embarrassment.
She followed up with action. Her husband would agree to the CPS bailout, allowing her reputation-- and his, she believed-- to live to fight another day.
An email we have obtained lays out Diana Rauner’s logic while reinforcing the “protocol” she enforced upon the governor’s office.
”Let’s use this fight,” she wrote to her two political consultants, her husband’s campaign manager, his state chief of staff and communications chief. “As this is unfolding in real time we need to use this to rewrite the narrative of the past two and a half years.”
As justification, Diana cited polling done by Mark Harris of Pittsburgh-based Coldspark Media, which Harris said: “reveals that voters want someone to stand up to Madigan, yet view Bruce as unwilling to compromise.”
In the name of his re-election, Bruce should compromise here, Diana argued, "lets use this fight and it's inevitable conclusion..," agreeing to a CPS bailout that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel would later describe as “all I wanted, and more.”
And Rauner did, agreeing to a school funding bill he had decried as unfair to everyone but Chicago-- accurately-- for months.
- Governor Rauner isn't included in this email. Diana is driving the narrative and making decisions for him.
- Governor Rauner's former government-paid Chief of Staff, Kristina Rasmussen, is included in this email. Kristina was expected to take orders from Diana and Mark Harris, the chief consultant, sources confirm.
- Most importantly, the email subject is a major government policy decision by the Illinois Governor's Office and we can only assume based on previous emails, per protocol, Diana Rauner has final the final say.
The governor's wife is not only driving the decision-- she is suggesting that the reason they will make it is to "rewrite the narrative" and help his re-election.
Politics over Policy!
That's why we bailed out Chicago schools.