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Rauner, Rutherford turn fiery at candidate forum

Updated: January 17, 2014 8:48AM

Candidate Bruce Rauner and Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford tangled in the final minutes of a debate in which Rutherford angrily implored: “Bruce Rauner, don’t do that.”

The encounter happened at the ABC7/Daily Herald forum for the four GOP primary candidates in Mount Prospect Thursday morning.

Rauner was firing back at his opponents who had been dumping on him for everything from his flip flop on the minimum wage to his firm’s ties to convicted insider Stuart Levine.

“It’s been a little bit of beat up Bruce Rauner and that’s OK. I’ve worked hard not to attack my opponents. I’ve not attacked my opponents I’ve attacked Quinn,” Rauner said — before proceeding to attack his opponents. “Illinois is full of conflict of interest. I’m the only person in this race that doesn’t take a dime from unions. It’s a big deal.”

Rauner then turned to state Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, who had blasted Rauner for clouting his daughter into a school earlier this week and needled Rauner for not appearing at other candidate forums.

“Kirk you’ve taken hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars,” from unions, Rauner said, looking at Dillard.
Rauner then turned to Rutherford and began: “Dan you’ve taken a lot..”

“That is not correct, Bruce Rauner,” Rutherford interrupted. “No, Bruce Rauner don’t do that. That’s not correct … You have no right to put out false information out there.”

Rauner moved on to needling at Rutherford’s role as treasurer, saying other states that have achieved “true pension reform” had an active treasurer who did the analysis and made policy recommendations.
That’s when Rutherford lost it.

“You know, I’m not going to put up with this,” Rutherford snapped loudly, talking over Rauner, who paused. “You do not misrepresent and put out false statements out there,” Rutherford said, adding that unlike his opponents, Rutherford had not attacked Rauner. “For the entire day today, Mr. Rauner I never once said your name.”

State Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, had accused Rauner of not being ethical when his investment firm held a contract with Stuart Levine, who is now in prison as part of the investigation into behind the door dealings on state boards.

Brady attacked Rauner’s ties to Stuart Levine and accused Rauner of not coming clean on the fact that his company gave him a $25,000-a-month contract with Levine. Levine sat on the Teachers Retirement Systems Board and Rauner’s company made millions of dollars on pension business.

“You can’t avoid it. You can’t advertise your way out of it, Bruce,” Brady said.

Rauner took the accusation head-on, saying he never knew Levine, never interacted with him and said of the accusation that the contract with Levine was some kind of bribe: “Oh my goodness it’s pure baloney. “We’ve worked for the teachers retirement system for 30 yrs in Illinois. We got the business because we produced results, simple, end of story.”

Rauner’s dig on Brady was that he had donated generously to Brady’s candidacy in 2010 only to watch Brady lose to what Rauner called the worst governor in America.

To laughter, Brady responded: “I’m very grateful, got any extra?”

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