Why is Rauner ducking debates? Jeanne Ives, conservative reform candidate for governor, called for an IG investigation in the Rauner administration after a memo from his former general counsel implies state resources were being used for political purposes. After another income tax hike, Illinois' designation as a sanctuary state, and signing a bill that provides abortion on demand, Rauner has proven that he stands for nothing and can no longer blame Madigan for his failures. Illinois State Representative for the 52nd District, David McSweeney joins Dan and Amy to discuss.
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Proft: Good morning, Dan and Amy. And Amy, we have our annual trip coming up. It's been cemented and we're pleased to roll it out today! What is it? Jacobson: Well, it's that time of year where it's always cold and snow in Chicago, but it's always sunny in...are you ready? Drumroll...in Riviera Maya, Mexico! That's where we will be heading in 2018 with Apple Vacations, and you're invited to come along with us. We'll be staying at this place, are you ready, the Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun Resort and Spa in Riviera Maya, Mexico! Proft: Hmm. And I know someone who won't be joining us, that's Mario Batalli, who has taken a leave from Eat-aly and his restaurant empire because of accusations of repeated sexual harassment. Mario Batalli, the next man down. *quietly* I thought I'd...you know... Jacobson: Okay, so the... Proft: *laughs* Maybe he'll beat us TO Riviera Maya! Jacobson: Right! Proft: We're heading there in 2018 with Apple Vacations. You're invited to come along with us. We'll be at the Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun Restaurant and Spa in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Jacobson: Or Resort. But restaurant is fine... Proft: Did I say restaurant? I've got Eat-aly on my mind! Jacobson: Yeah, because of Mario! Proft: RESORT and Spa in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Nine gourmet restaurants...THERE's the restaurants...Eat-aly not one of them...six bars, unlimited premium drinks, 24 hour room service, beautiful unlimited adults-only luxury resort situated on Maroma Beach. Recognized as one of the world's best beaches. Jacobson: Get more information and book your trip by visiting 560TheAnswer.com/passport. Now the price that Apple Vacations has secured for this trip is really incredible, and exclusive to us, but it's only available for a limited time, because I remember a LOT of my friends tried to go with us last year, but the trip was sold out. This sells out every year, so don't miss out! Enjoy a week in Riviera Maya, Mexico, with us, Dan and Amy. Visit 560TheAnswer.com/passport. Proft: Alright, switching gears...we have to do some state and local stuff. By the way, before we get to the governor's race, and joined by State Representative David McSweeney, Republican from Barrington, did you see this? Bob Miller, we report on Bob Miller extensively. He's the former Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner up in McHenry County? Jacobson: Yeah, and they made those videos? Because you know, they were really bored at work and put them on YouTube? Proft: A family in that post for 50 years was using the town...the Highway Commissioner's office in Algonquin Township in McHenry County there like his personal piggy bank. $400,000 worth of salary for Miller and family members. He gets beat in the primary, well the...yeah, the primary election in the municipal elections early this year, by Andrew Gasser, and thankfully so, and in no small measure to our reporting at McHenryTimes.com. And you know is going to get paid out his pens...and by the way is under criminal investigation, I understand, for the way he ran the Algonquin Township Highway Department. Now he's an employee of Nunda Township, also McHenry County, making $40 an hour as a consultant. Yeah. Jacobson: Consulting for WHAT? Proft: Consulting for the township. I mean, it's unbelievable, this is Illinois. Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner for 24 years, and his father and his grandfather and his great grandfather and his great-great grandfather going back to the founding of our country, basically. He also, on the way out the door, purchases including tickets to Disneyland, $47,000 payout for sick pay, I mean it's just incredible. Edgar County Watchdogs has been on this story too. And the suggestion is there are law enforcement authorities looking his conduct as Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner. What the hell is Nunda Township thinking about by hiring him as a consultant at this point? I mean, it just never ends in this state, which is why people end their tenure living in this state. Alright, governor's race. Bruce Rauner peppered with questions last week after Jeanne Ives announces she will challenge him...in the Republican nomination for governor, state Rep from Wheaton. He would not commit to debates, so that issue is being pressed. And then this memo that surfaced on Friday, this is rather interesting. From Rauner's former general counsel, which provided a lot of detailed advice and counsel on the use of state resources for political purposes. We had a couple of governor's go to prison for using state resources for politics. And the implication is that was ongoing in Governor Rauner's office, or at least there was a desire for it to occur, thus the need for this memo from his former general counsel, named Dennis Marasco, who wrote this memo, it was announced he was going to leave the end of August, he ultimately got escorted out of the Thompson Center before the end of August. It's all very curious and the Governor's office isn't saying much. So maybe we could get some inside insight from State Representative David McSweeney, Republican legislator from Barrington, Dave thanks for joining us, appreciate it. McSweeney: Thanks for having me on, Dan. Proft: So why don't we start with the Marasco memo? And why don't you tell us, as you know, a state legislator for a few terms, how you read that memo and every...kind of the text surrounding it? What do we have here? McSweeney: On August 21st, Marasco, the general counsel to the governor at that point, wrote a memo calling for complete independence of the governor's office from political operations. On August 23rd, he resigned. On August 24th, the governor told his staff that was not true, that Marasco is still there. And on August 25th he was escorted out of the building. The strange thing is that there have been stories that there is an EIOG investigation that the administration wants affirmed. You may have seen the famous clip of Mary Ann Ahern asking the governor multiple times about the situation and he just wouldn't answer the question, as is usual with this governor. My concern is that Marasco has raised some serious issues and concerns, he didn't go into detail about practices in the past. But I support Jeanne Ives call for an EIOG FULL investigation of what the background for the memo is and whether there's anything else going on in this rascal situation. Even this morning there was a story in Politico that this administration won't answer the questions, the only thing they will say is he resigned, which is not consistent with the timeline. But this is business as usual with the Rauner administration, very secretive, not providing answers and that's why we need Jeanne Ives as governor, frankly. We have a governor who's not in charge of the state, he admitted it the last week, and that's pretty clear to all of us down in Springfield. Jacobson: Yeah, he's not in charge. McSweeney: I mean, he told us, Amy! Jacobson: Right, but I mean, ...I heard! I mean, people in the National Guard are like "Well if he's not in charge, then who's in charge?" McSweeney: He looks like...instead of a legislator like Jeanne Ives who's fought for lower taxes and lower spending...I know she's going to be in charge. I support her. And in a strange way, the biggest Madigan ally in Springfield is Bruce Rauner. Dan and I worked for a long time, outside of his radio job, to defeat progressive income tax. That was when there was 71 Democrats and Paxson was governor. We get Bruce Rauner as governor, he talks about a tax increase for two years, begging for it, wanted his capital compromise, and we end up with the 32% increase in the income tax hike. Bruce Rauner worked in hand with Madigan on making Illinois a Sanctuary State. Guess who signed Madigan's abortion bill, providing taxpayer funded abortions through the ninth month of pregnancy? So Bruce Rauner is the kind of guy who loves to go out and criticize people, call people names, but when push comes to shove, he's been Madigan's biggest ally. And that's why we need real change in this state, and that's why Jeanne Ives will be governor. Proft: And so, Rauner is making everything him vs Madigan, right? And ultimately he'll have to address Pritzker or whoever the Democrat nominee is, more substantively as well. But him fighting the good fight vs. Madigan, you're suggesting the evidence doesn't back up that claim, and there was another flap. This is a little below the full, but it's still important, and it may be illustrative of the point you're making. This is about the chief procurement officer to monitor a dealing with Medicaid services. And there was some back and forth between you and the governor's office about the nature of this procurement officer, and how independent this person is as it pertains to something as important as the oversight of the state's Medicaid program. McSweeney: Steve Osterberger is a good friend of both of ours, Dan as you know. He's been saying for years that we need to address Medicaid spending. And he's right, that's 22% of the budget, pensions are about 21%. You don't address pensions, Medicaid spending, you can't address the budget deficit in this state. So I have been very very interested in following this procurement process for new case providers. And it's been a complete lack of transparency. And specifically, one of the items is that the Rauner Administration hired McKinsey, a consulting firm, $12.5 million, no bid contract. The governor November 30th said there WAS a competitive bid, though it's outside the process. So at the hearing last week I asked about that, the head of the agency said there has been NO vetting, so the governor's information was incorrect. Then the governor said the chief procurement officer who voided the contract, because this is a no-bid contract, is controlled by Madigan, and there's no evidence of that. Even that creates a LOT of problems in this state, no doubt about that. But what I don't understand is why the governor isn't being transparent about Medicaid, about his no-bid contract, why isn't he being transparent about what his projections are for Medicaid? No numbers have been provided, that's one of the things that would validate his promise, let's see if we get them, we're going to start writing letters everyday. But it's just another example that the governor is absolutely right, but again that's the worst Republican governor in America, according to the National Review, and that's that he's not in charge, and this is another example of that. Proft: And on this point, it turns out Capitol Facts was reporting on this, which is kind of an industry newsletter and blog, that Rauner's chief counsel in 2015 actually recommended the procurement officer who Rauner is now suggesting is controlled by Madigan. So it seems like whenever Rauner gets in trouble, or is shown to have said one thing and done another, or said one thing and then said the opposite thing, he just says "Well...Madigan!" as his cover story, as...his alibi, for his either change of heart or hypocrisy or incompetence. McSweeney: Absolutely. And it turned out that Jason Barclay, the general counsel that worked for Mitch Daniels, I wish that Bruce Rauner actually governed like Mitch Daniels by the way, recommended this person. So, you know, the governor clearly didn't tell the truth in this situation. And you know, on the Madigan issue, he hasn't met with him for a year. One of the things you've been saying and I've been following that for years is...Madigan is just a man. He doesn't have superpowers, he's not smarter than anyone else. Bruce Rauner everyday makes Madigan out to be a god, he's increasing Madigan's power, and he refuses to deal with him. I think Peter Breen's letter after Rauner signed the abortion bill that destroyed Henry Hyde's legacy, but it's probably one of the greatest documents I've ever read in politics. He just took down Rauner, and I think he (Rauner) is probably scared of Madigan. Obviously he blames him for things, but then he won't engage with him. That's why I think Jeanne Ives will be a great governor, hopefully we pick up the ninth seat, that's the most important thing to take control. But if Madigan is still speaker, can you imagine Jeanne Ives in Madigan's office, while Maddie was eating his apple every day for lunch, Jeannie respectfully but STRONGLY advocating for what we believe in? That's what we need, an active governor who's not scared and intimidated by Michael Madigan, who doesn't act as Michael Madigan's agent like Bruce Rauner...Sanctuary State, Tax Increase, Abortion on Demand paid for taxpayers, that's why it's so important that Jeannie wins this race. Jacobson: Well, and now it also says a lot about him as a man and a governor if he won't debate her. That is...I can't even imag...I mean...even Todd Stroger debated...who was it, Tony... Proft: Tony Parika. Jacobson: Parika! You have to do that, I think it's a responsibility to the voters to have a debate. McSweeney: (*cut off, presumably "I can't"*)..blame you. If Rauner is intimidated by Michael Madigan, he's sure going to be intimidated by Jeanne Ives. I mean, Jeanne's tough! That's why I support her. And I really like Jeanne because she's always great...I mean, we don't agree on everything. We probably agree on about 95% of the issues, but when she doesn't, she'll come and talk to me, we'll talk and she'll be very direct about it. Rauner doesn't like direct people. And I think she would absolutely destroy him in a debate. I think he's scared to debate Jeanne Ives. Proft: Yeah, I can tell you from my interactions with him that yeah, you're right, he doesn't like direct people. He just sits there and says nothing, he kind of likes to play Pontius Pilate when there's controversy, not lead. Let me ask you this question, it's a political question, because of course the governor's people are suggesting "Look, Jeanne Ives is a fringe candidate, she can't win, I'm the inevitable nominee, and I'm the only chance we have to defeat the Democrats because I have the big checkbook." He's not saying "because I have the big checkbook", he's saying "because I've taken on Madigan" blah blah blah, but it's really because of the checkbook. And that's persuasive to, you know, a lot of establishment Republicans who can't seem to get out of the...get off the hamster wheel of continuing to do the same things we've been doing for the last 20 years and the super minority. But how do you respond to that, to the idea that Jeanne Ives doesn't have a chance, Rauner's contention she's a fringe candidate, she can't win, she can't win the primary, she can't win the general? McSweeney: Well, the fringe candidate is Bruce Rauner, let me be clear. He actually destroyed, absolutely DESTROYED, Henry Hyde's legacy. We've abortion on demand paid for by taxpayers through the ninth month of pregnancy. Illinois is a sanctuary state. He HATES President Trump, won't even say his name. And he's responsible for the tax hike we've had for a number of years. So the fringe candidate is Bruce Rauner. He can't win a general election. He stands for nothing. I'm a Reagan guy, as you know, and we need to stand on what we believe. I think Jeanne as a military veteran, as a conservative leader, as a strong person, will be able to stand up to Pritzker and Barrios and all the tax increasers. I mean, people are, as you know, sick and tired of the tax increases in this state. Jeanne will run as an anti-tax conservative who will reform this state. That is much better than a wishy-washy governor like Rauner, the worst Republican governor in America, who's raised taxes, made Illinois a sanctuary state, and we have abortion on demand through the ninth month of pregnancy. He can't win. Jeanne can. Proft: He is state representative David McSweeney, conservative Republican legislator from Barrington. Dave, thanks as always for joining us, appreciate it. McSweeney: Thanks, appreciate it. Jacobson: And he joined us on our Turnkey Dot Pro Answer Line.