SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — At least a dozen of the many companies owned by the investment firm of Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner have gone bankrupt, according to a published report.
The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises reported (http://bit.ly/1rvTRKN ) Thursday that a review of court records and news accounts found a dozen of hundreds of companies owned by the GTCR firm went bankrupt during or soon after Rauner’s 20-year tenure at the company. A federal bankruptcy trial regarding one of the firms, Trans Healthcare Inc., is unfolding this week in Tampa, Florida.
Rauner served as a board member on seven of the dozen companies, the review found.
Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, Rauner’s opponent in the November election, has tried to make the Winnetka venture capitalist’s business management record an issue in the campaign, just as Rauner has criticized Quinn’s management of state government.
The Quinn campaign claims that the Trans Healthcare case is evidence that Rauner does not take responsibility for problems with his businesses. But Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf argues that Rauner has seen far more successes than failures as an investor.
"What’s beyond doubt is that GTCR is one of the most respected and admired venture capital and investment firms in the country and helps drive the economy forward. Bruce is proud of his role in building the business," Schrimpf said.
Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson charged Thursday that Rauner “has never taken responsibility for any of his business failures — yet he always takes the profits and takes off.”
GTCR, from which Rauner officially retired in 2012, works by creating new companies or acquiring existing ones and later selling them or taking them public. It also manages money from Illinois state employees’ retirement funds.
The campaign says GTCR created and oversaw “hundreds” of companies. Rauner put the figure at around 400 in an appearance earlier this month.
The companies that went bankrupt include Sorenson Communications, a company purchased by GTCR in 2005 that provides telephone services for the hearing-impaired. Lee Enterprises reported that in 2013, after Rauner left GTCR, the company agreed to pay $15.75 million to settle a Federal Communications Commission investigation into whether the company billed for questionable calls. Sorenson filed for bankruptcy in March.
In the case of Trans Healthcare, a nursing home chain, the families of several residents filed suit in two state courts, claiming that GTCR took part in a fraudulent scheme to avoid liability for deaths, allegations GTCR denies. The families are now seeking to collect on multimillion-dollar judgments in federal bankruptcy court.
Rauner is not named as a defendant in the suit, but GTCR is. Trans Healthcare went into receivership in 2009.
"The courts will sort out all the facts," Rauner told reporters this week. "I’m confident that no one at GTCR engaged in any inappropriate behavior."
h/t: The Pantagraph
#ILGov: *** UPDATED x2 *** Former GTCR partner warned Rauner of nursing home company’s possible bankruptcy
* The Tribune continues its coverage of the federal bankruptcy trial of a nursing home chain once partly owned by Bruce Rauner’s GTCR…
[Edgar Jannotta], who was both a partner at GTCR and a director of Trans Healthcare, also testified about communications concerning Trans Healthcare he had in 2004 and 2005 with other GTCR partners on an investment committee that included Rauner, now the Republican candidate for Illinois governor. Rauner is not a defendant in the Florida lawsuit, though GTCR and Jannotta are defendants. Rauner and Jannotta have both retired from the equity firm.
In those exchanges, Jannotta warned the investment committee that Trans Healthcare’s finances were so shaky it might have to file for bankruptcy protection. Instead, Trans Healthcare was sold in a pair of complicated transactions that plaintiffs’ attorneys say cleaved off the chain’s liabilities into a new firm that effectively had no assets. […]
In his testimony, Jannotta acknowledged that the sale of Trans Healthcare that GTCR took part in did not contemplate any eventual damage award payments to the estates of nursing home residents. He said that was because new companies created in the transaction were to handle any claims. GTCR was not involved with those new companies, which bore variations of the name Fundamental.
“Part of the consideration of the sale was … the Fundamental entities were taking responsibility for those liabilities,” Jannotta testified in the deposition.
* Meanwhile, Kurt Erickson has a piece today about how at least a dozen former Rauner companies have declared bankruptcy. One example…
Another company owned by GTCR, Graceway Pharmaceuticals, also butted heads with federal regulators over one of its key products— a medicine designed to treat skin cancer.
The company was unsuccessful in keeping its patent on Aldara, allowing cheaper generic versions to hit the market. Although cancer patients had access to less expensive options, that meant the company’s revenue plummeted from $320 million to $52 million.
“The loss of exclusivity with respect to Aldara, and the resulting decrease in net sales, is the primary factor that has led” to the bankruptcy, noted Gregory C. Jones, Graceway’s executive vice president of strategic development.
As the company was heading into bankruptcy in 2010, GTCR took $9 million in cash out of the company. The company later was forced to pay more than $6 million of that money back.
Kinda blatant, no?
*** UPDATE 1 *** The Rauner campaign disputes the story…
Unsurprisingly, the facts on Graceway are not as presented by the Freedom PAC folks. The $9 million distribution was a TAX distribution, which was required under Graceway’s Limited Liability Company Agreement. The investment into Graceway was structured in a way that had taxable earnings flow through the holding company. The tax distributions are then remitted to state and federal governments. Notably, Graceway did not make any discretionary distributions in 2010.
Simply put, the tax distributions would have gone directly into the U.S. treasury.
The $9 Million Distribution From Graceway In 2010 Was A Tax Distribution, To Pay Income Taxes On The Company’s Earnings. “The 2010 tax distribution totaling $9,127,166.00 was made on March 18, 2010. The Debtors made no further distributions to the Members following this distribution.” (“DEBTORS’ MOTION FOR AN ORDER AUTHORIZING THE DEBTORS TO ENTER INTO A SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT WITH GTCR,” In re: GRACEWAY PHARMACEUTICALS, LLC, United States Bankruptcy Court For The District Of Delaware, Case No. 11-13036 (PJW), 2/14/12, p.4)
· Graceway Did Not Make Any Discretionary Distributions In 2010. (“DEBTORS’ MOTION FOR AN ORDER AUTHORIZING THE DEBTORS TO ENTER INTO A SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT WITH GTCR,” In re: GRACEWAY PHARMACEUTICALS, LLC, United States Bankruptcy Court For The District Of Delaware, Case No. 11-13036 (PJW), 2/14/12, p.4)
*** UPDATE 2 *** Illinois Freedom PAC…[ *** End Of Updates *** ]
The Rauner campaign’s statement was highly misleading. The fact that it was a tax distribution does not change a thing. It just means that GTCR obtained $9 million from an insolvent company to pay their own tax liabilities on their investment in Graceway before creditors could state their claims to the money. This is why a judge ordered them to pay back $6 million of the money they took from the company, including $4.5 million to first lien creditors. It was still a greedy and heartless maneuver because Graceway was cutting jobs and slashing benefits.
It’s telling that the Rauner camp did not deny that GTCR
· Acted to protect its own profits over the interests of cancer patients,
· Cut 130 jobs
· Slashed employees’ health care and retirement benefits, and
· Took $9 million from a failing company, most of it which it was forced to repay.
* The full oppo report by the union-backed Illinois Freedom PAC…
THE SAME MONTH GTCR-OWNED GRACEWAY PHARMA LAID OFF 40% OF ITS WORKFORCE AND CUT BENEFITS, GTCR PAID ITSELF $9 MILLION AND WAS FORCED TO PAY BACK $6 MILLION OF THAT DURING BANKRUPTCY
GTCR founded Graceway Pharmaceuticals in 2006, committing $200 million to develop the company. In 2010, Graceway’s sales started to plummet, and the company laid off 40% of its workforce and cut benefits including vision care and 401k matching for its remaining employees. The same month that these moves were announced, GTCR gave itself a $9.1 million distribution from the company. Shortly after, Graceway began defaulting on its debts and went into bankruptcy. During the bankruptcy proceedings, GTCR was ordered to pay back $6 million of the 2010 distribution it received from Graceway, because the company was already insolvent when the payment was made.
GTCR FOUNDED GRACEWAY PHARMACEUTICALS IN 2006
GTCR Founded Graceway Pharmaceuticals In 2006. “Founded in 2006 by King Pharmaceuticals Inc. chief executive Jefferson J. Gregory and private equity firm GTCR Golder Rauner LLC, Graceway focuses on acquiring branded prescription products and licensing products. The company specializes in dermatology, respiratory and women’s health products. [Daily Deal, 9/29/11]
2006: GTCR Said It Would Commit $200 Million To Develop Graceway. “In 2006 the firm said it would commit up to $200 million to develop Graceway. GTCR did not respond to a call for comment.” [Daily Deal, 9/29/11]
July 2011: GTCR Remained The Sole Sponsor Of Graceway Pharmaceuticals. “Graceway brought in Lazard as of at least April to help look at its options. GTCR remains the sole sponsor of the business.” [Daily Deal, 7/12/11]
December 2011: Graceway Pharmaceuticals Sold To Medicis Pharmaceutical Group For $455 Million. “Graceway will fund its plan with the proceeds from the $455 million sale of its assets to Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp., which closed Dec. [The Deal Pipeline, 4/12/12]
GRACEWAY LAID OFF 40% OF ITS WORKFORCE AND CUT BENEFITS DUE TO LACK OF SALES
March 2010: Graceway Laid Off 130 Of Its 323 Employees. “In federal court filings Tuesday, Graceway revealed that it will lay off 130 of its 323 employees, and that it is ‘taking drastic steps to avoid bankruptcy.’” [Bristol Herald Courier, 3/25/10]
March 2010: Graceway “Lopped Off 60% Of Its Payroll; Cancelled Matching Contributions To Its 401K Program; And Eliminated Subsidies For Vision Coverage And Dependent Life Insurance.” “Bellamy confirmed Tuesday that Graceway was dismissing about 40 percent of its employees, but refused to provide any further details about how many people and what positions were affected. Those details were spelled out in court filings later Tuesday: Graceway has lopped off 60 percent of its payroll; cancelled matching contributions to its 401k program; and eliminated subsidies for vision coverage and dependent life insurance.” [Bristol Herald Courier, 3/25/10]
March 2010: Graceway Senior VP Of Human Resources: “Graceway’s Entire Workforce Is Distracted, Unsettled And In Poor Spirits.” “In a declaration supporting Graceway’s bid for an injunction against Nycomed, a senior executive painted a grim picture of the workplace environment. “Graceway’s entire workforce is distracted, unsettled, and in poor spirits,” according to the declaration by John William Musick, senior vice president for human resources. “Their work performance and productivity has suffered dramatically. Rather than devoting their time to researching and developing new products or marketing and selling existing products, they are worrying about keeping their jobs and beginning to look for new jobs.” [Bristol Herald Courier, 3/25/10]
Graceway Pharmaceuticals Laid Off 40% Of Its Workforce. “In May 2010, Graceway laid off 40% of its workforce.” [Daily Deal, 9/29/11]
THE SAME MONTH AS THE ANNOUNCED LAYOFFS AND BENEFIT CUTS, GTCR PAID ITSELF $9.1 MILLION FROM GRACEWAY
March 2010: Graceway Made A $9.1 Million Distribution To GTCR “When The Company Was Already Insolvent.” “In March 2010, Graceway Holdings made a $9.1 million distribution that the debtors say was made when the company was already insolvent, according to the motion. Graceway said that because of this, the funds could be subject to potential avoidance or recovery actions under the Bankruptcy Code. GTCR disputed this, according to the motion.” [Law360, 2/14/12]
GRACEWAY REPEATEDLY DEFAULTED ON ITS DEBT AND S&P CUT ITS BOND RATING
Graceway Owed Over $430 Million In First-Lien Debt And Defaulted On The Debt In 2010. “Further injuring the drug company was the large amount of first-lien, second-lien and mezzanine debt issued on May 3, 2007. As of Wednesday, Graceway owed $430.7 million to first-lien lenders led by Bank of America NA, $330 million to second-lien lenders and $81.4 million to mezzanine lenders. Graceway also owes about $30 million to unsecured trade creditors. The first-lien notes include a $650 million term loan due May 3, 2012, as well as a $30 million revolver, $10 million swing line loan and up to $10 million in letters of credit. Graceway defaulted on the first-lien debt in 2010 but cured the default through an Oct. 15, 2010, agreement.” [Daily Deal, 9/29/11]
Standard & Poors Downgraded Graceway’s Credit Rating To SD From B- After Graceway Defaulted On Second Lien Debt On August 31, 2010. “In September 2010, Standard & Poor’s rating service lowered Graceway’s corporate credit rating to SD from B- after the business failed to make an Aug. 31, 2010, interest payment on the second-lien term loan.” [Daily Deal, 9/29/11]
2011: GRACEWAY PHARMACEUTICALS FILED FOR BANKRUPTCY LISTING UP TO $1 BILLION IN DEBT
September 2011: Graceway Filed For Bankruptcy. “Graceway filed the bankruptcy proceedings Sept. 29 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. In the bankruptcy court documents, Graceway listed an estimated $1 billion in debt and some $500 million in assets.” [Bristol Herald Courier, 10/19/11]
In Its Bankruptcy Petition, Graceway Listed Assets Of $100-$500 Million And Debt Of Between $500 Million To One Billion Dollars. “In its petition, Graceway listed assets of $100 million to $500 million and liabilities of $500 million to $1 billion. It wasn’t clear how much GTCR has invested in the company to date.” [Daily Deal, 9/29/11]
GTCR WAS ORDERED TO PAY BACK $6 MILLION OF THE $9 MILLION IT TOOK FROM THE COMPANY IN 2010
GTCR Was Ordered To Pay $6 Million To Graceway’s Debtors Because Of Allegations GTCR Recouped $9.1 Million In Distributions From Graceway In 2010. “The new disclosure statement and plan outline a settlement with Graceway equity sponsor GTCR Golder Rauner LLC. Under the settlement, filed Feb. 14, the Chicago private equity firm would pay $4.5 million to the first-lien lenders and $1.5 million to the debtor’s estate. The settlement stems from allegations that members of GTCR had recouped about $9.1 million from distributions from Graceway in 2010.” [The Deal Pipeline, 4/12/12]
New Ad: “Pockets”
Rauner busted for outsourcing jobs.
My Latest Senate and Gubernatorial Projections (09.24.2014)
- Safe D: IL, MN, NH, others that are currently Dem-held
- Likely D: CO, IA
- Lean D: NC
- Tilt D: KS* (Orman-I, gain)
- Tossup: AK, AR, LA (Runoff Likely)
- Tilt R: KY
- Lean R: GA (Runoff Possible)
- Likely R: SD
- Safe R: MT (gain), VW (gain), others that are currently GOP-held
- * Orman is listed as Tossup/Tilt D, due to the fact that he is the quasi-Dem in the race.
- AK-Sen: Tilt D > Tossup
- KS-Sen: Tossup > Tilt I.
- MN-Sen/NH-Sen: Likely D > Safe D
- Safe D: HI, PA (gain), RI (gain), others that are currently Dem-held
- Likely D: MA, ME (gain), MN
- Lean D: CO, CT
- Tilt D: IL, KS (gain)
- Tossup: AK, FL, MI, WI
- Tilt R: AR (gain)
- Lean R: AZ
- Likely R: GA (Runoff Possible), NE, NM, SC
- Safe R: IA, OH, OK, others that are currently GOP-held
- AK-Gov: Likely R > Tossup
- FL-Gov: Lean D > Tossup
- MA-Gov: Safe D > Likely D
— Meg Gorski (@MegGorski)September 18, 2014
The Facebook page for the militia has since been scrubbed.
The group plans to follow people from polling locations to their homes, according to a Facebook post viewed by The Capital Times.
"Please private message us names of people you know are active voters and wanted on warrants. We can get our agents to watch their polling location, identify the individual, and then follow them to their residence. A call the police and they will be picked up for processing," the Facebook message read.
The group is using the website Put Wisconsin First to identify petition signers who have outstanding arrest warrants and those with tax defaults.
According to Politicus USA, the Facebook page for the group featured pictures of African-Americans, but the group denied that they are targeting blacks.
"We can assure you that we will be targeting all democrats, not just black ones," a Facebook message read, according to the Capital Times. "If you think we meant blacks only it is because you are a racist who thinks the only people with warrants are black. We know better because we have a nice list of people who are wanted democrat activist types. Most are actually white. We will target everyone."
As Bruce Rauner enters the home stretch of his run for Illinois governor, 1,000 miles away in Tampa, Fla., a federal bankruptcy trial opens Monday to weigh allegations that the investment firm he ran participated in a fraudulent scheme to avoid liability for a string of deaths at nursing homes.
A central concern of the proceedings is likely to echo questions raised in Illinois before Rauner won the March Republican primary: What responsibility does his longtime equity firm GTCR bear for the troubles at a giant nursing home chain it launched in 1998?
Rauner, who headed GTCR for more than 20 years until retiring in 2012, is not a named defendant in the civil case. But GTCR is a defendant, as is former GTCR partner Edgar Jannotta Jr., who long was the firm’s point person overseeing the nursing home investment. Records show Jannotta has donated $405,000 to Rauner’s campaign, making him one of the candidate’s largest contributors.
In an interview early this year, Rauner told the Tribune he had little involvement with the nursing home firm, Trans Healthcare Inc., except for a brief period after GTCR started it.
"I’d been on the (Trans Healthcare) board to help get the company going for the first year or, I don’t remember, something like that," Rauner said. "And then for years I wasn’t involved with it."
But a document from the nursing home chain bearing Rauner’s signature and filed in the Florida case shows he served as a director on the chain’s board at least four years later.
The lawyers suing GTCR and other investors go further, alleging in their complaint that partners at Rauner’s firm effectively made the key decisions at Trans Healthcare throughout the troubles. The plaintiff attorneys, citing corporate documents filed in the case but not made public, allege those decisions were made by a GTCR partners investment committee that included Rauner.
Rauner’s campaign confirmed that he had been a member of GTCR’s investment panel. When it came to decisions involving Trans Healthcare, the panel typically signed off on recommendations made by Jannotta, said a campaign spokesman.
Lawyers for GTCR and Jannotta said in recent court filings that evidence will show the equity firm acted responsibly at all times, never sought to avoid liability and spent tens of millions of dollars trying to turn the company around. They argue GTCR is being wrongly accused by plaintiffs’ attorneys “in an attempt to find a deep pocket” to satisfy lawsuit awards.
Kirkland & Ellis, the Chicago law firm representing GTCR and Jannotta, declined to comment for this story.
The case is moving to trial at the most sensitive possible time for Rauner, a first-time candidate who wants voters to elect him Nov. 4 on the strength of his expertise as a hands-on businessman who made a fortune by selecting and improving underperforming companies. It represents a central dilemma for Rauner’s candidacy: He touts his financial acumen at GTCR while repeatedly professing little knowledge about the inner workings of companies built by his firm that later faced accusations of mismanagement, fraud or worse.
Rauner critics have sought to tie him to the nursing home deaths in campaign ads, and his Democratic opponent, Gov. Pat Quinn, has accused Rauner of dodging accountability for companies his firm owned.
A campaign spokesman for Rauner declined to make him available for an interview and stood by Rauner’s brief February comments to the Tribune.
"Members of the investment board are kept apprised of investments, but as Bruce told (the Tribune), he was not running or actively part of the wind-down process for THI," campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf said. "I believe that is backed up by the fact that Bruce is not named in the lawsuit or was even deposed."
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michael Williamson, who is presiding over what is expected to be a two-week bench trial on the fraud allegations, may not rule before Election Day.
Hanging over the case is a string of patient neglect and wrongful death lawsuits that have resulted in verdicts surpassing $1 billion, though the resolutions of many of those cases are in limbo. The allegations involved four Florida nursing homes and the estates of six patients.
Plaintiff lawyers in the Tampa case, including those representing survivors of nursing home residents who died in Trans Healthcare facilities, will not be seeking to prove mistreatment of seniors. Rather, at issue are accusations that GTCR’s former New York-based associates in the nursing home business created a shell company that shielded both firms from the financial impact of the business’ problems.
The plaintiff lawyers pushed the matter into bankruptcy court by filing an involuntary bankruptcy petition against the alleged shell company, seeking a declaration that GTCR and its former associates are financially responsible for the problems.
The bankruptcy judge in March dismissed some of the financial misconduct allegations against GTCR and other defendants but ruled others could proceed to trial. In his ruling, Williamson said he could “reasonably infer” from the case that “GTCR Group, which invested millions of dollars in THI, was intimately involved in the day-to-day management” of Trans Healthcare.
"Plus, the scheme, as alleged, would have inured to GTCR’s benefit," Williamson wrote.
Steven Berman, an attorney representing the government-appointed bankruptcy trustee in the case, contended that while Jannotta was a key player at Trans Healthcare, the investment committee of GTCR principals effectively ran the company.
"Bruce Rauner is also on the investment committee, and I don’t have any reason to believe that (Jannotta) acted without the approval of Rauner and the other members of the committee," Berman said. "They were calling the shots."
Jannotta, who could take the stand, said in a sworn deposition in one of the wrongful death cases that GTCR made “all the decisions regarding THI at the investment committee level.”
GTCR got involved in Trans Healthcare by purchasing a controlling stake in the Pennsylvania-based company in 1998. The firm formed a new board that included Trans Healthcare’s original CEO as well as two principals from GTCR, including Rauner and eventually Jannotta.
The court file includes a loan authorization document with Rauner’s signature as a Trans Healthcare director and is dated Oct. 30, 2002, at least four years after he joined the chain’s board and longer than he recalled being involved when first interviewed about it by the Tribune this year.
By then, the chain had nearly 100 facilities and was expanding rapidly in several states. But growth brought financial problems, and creditors aired suspicions that the company had misstated earnings, making a significant loss look like a modest profit, according to court documents.
By 2004, the lenders turned their accusations of wrongdoing into a series of agreements with Trans Healthcare that gave them significant control over the nursing chain’s finances, according to court documents.
The plaintiff’s lawyers have built much of their case against GTCR on memos sent to and from the equity firm’s investment committee. The plaintiffs claim the memos demonstrate that the GTCR investment committee weighed different options to get out from under the financial storm clouds looming over Trans Healthcare, at one point considering a bankruptcy filing for the chain.
Ultimately, the plaintiffs claim, GTCR and its associates settled on a “bust-out” maneuver that allegedly shifted most of the valuable Trans Healthcare assets to a separate holding company while all the stock of the original firm was sold to yet another firm for $100,000.
That company, the newly formed Fundamental Long Term Care Inc., was a shell left with only Trans Healthcare’s liabilities posed by the wrongful death lawsuits that had begun to pile up, said the plaintiff lawyers, led by Isaac Ruiz-Carus.
Unraveling the details of Fundamental’s creation “has all the makings of a legal thriller,” the judge observed in his March ruling.
The sole shareholder of Fundamental, according to the judge, was Barry Saacks, “an elderly graphic artist who currently lives in a nursing home.”
The judge said Saacks, who has given a deposition, “was not aware that he owns” the company.
In deposition testimony for the Florida case, Brett Baker, a lawyer at the firm that handled the stock sale to Fundamental, said he raised concerns to his bosses at the time about Saacks being handed a cash payment to sign closing documents, unusual in such deals.
Under the agreement with Saacks, his new company assumed all liability for problems incurred by the old Trans Healthcare, plaintiff attorneys allege. With that in place, plaintiffs claim, the New York investors and GTCR then continued to operate the same nursing homes under new corporate umbrellas.
GTCR lawyers have insisted that the Chicago firm had no knowledge of the machinations of the sale involving an alleged shell company with a sham owner. Rather, they believed they were selling their interests to a legitimate subsidiary of their New York partners, their lawyers contend.
Calling the plaintiffs’ claims meritless, GTCR attorneys argue in a Sept. 18 filing that GTCR contributed more than $20 million in new capital for a comprehensive restructuring that included money to settle liability claims and forgave millions more in debt to the nursing home company.
"The turnaround, unfortunately, was unsuccessful, and the GTCR Funds lost their entire investment," the filing said.
Bruce Rauner = bad for Illinois.
h/t: David Heinzmann and Bob Secter at Chicago Tribune
Quinn for Illinois TV Ad - Bruce Rauner “APS”
Bruce Rauner cannot be trusted to serve as our next Governor. Vote Quinn/Vallas!
Rauner will inflict pain on our state if he is elected.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner on Tuesday said he wouldn’t have signed a medical marijuana pilot project now underway in Illinois.
When specifically asked if he wouldn’t have signed the medical marijuana law, Rauner said: “That’s correct. And Pat Quinn shouldn’t have supported this law, because it created a secret process.”
Rauner’s position is significant because the pilot project in Illinois would be up for renewal in 2017. The next governor would be key to allowing medical marijuana to move forward in the state.
When asked if he was just not happy with the current bill or whether he opposed medical marijuana, he said: “Medical marijuana is something I’ve not supported. It’s not a big issue for me either way,” Rauner said.
Rauner’s comments about medical marijuana came at a news conference in which he criticized the current application process, calling it secretive and ripe for corruption.
"Thanks to Pat Quinn’s secret, insider process, there are a lot of questions left unanswered," Rauner said. "But there is something we know for sure: Something stinks, and it’s not the marijuana."
Right now there is a competitive application process for 22 licenses, however the names of those applying are not public.
The governor’s office took exception with Rauner’s comments, calling the process “competitive” and “transparent.”
"The application process was expressly outlined in the law, which was passed with bipartisan support and is one of the most rigorous application processes in the country," said spokesman Grant Klinzman in a statement. "By design, the law requires the confidentiality of application materials to ensure there are not unfair business practices while guaranteeing the selection team cannot be impacted by outside influences and that all decisions are made based on the merits. The process is treated like a double-blind medical study, the scoring teams will not know the identity of the applicants, only their qualifications."
Klinzman then called the selection process “among the most rigorous in the country,” with decisions to be made “with no consideration to politics or other interests.”
"The purpose of keeping information confidential, as approved by legislators of both parties, was to ensure the highest standard of integrity of the selection process," Klinzman said in a statement.
Rauner proposed having an auction for medical marijuana licenses, where companies bid for a license for a defined period of time.
"Then we can actually make money from the process. Why not? Rauner said. "Our taxpayers in Illinois deserve a break."
My Gubernatorial/Senatorial Projections (09.16.2014)
- Safe D: IL, OR, others that are currently Dem-held
- Likely D: CO, IA, MN, NH
- Lean D: NC
- Tilt D: AK
- Tossup: AR, LA (Runoff Likely), KS (Orman-I)
- Tilt R: KY
- Lean R: GA (Runoff Possible)
- Likely R: SD (gain)
- Safe R: MT (gain), VW (gain), others that are currently GOP-held
- Safe D: HI, PA (gain), RI (gain), others that are currently Dem-held
- Likely D: ME (gain), MN
- Lean D: CO, CT, FL (gain)
- Tilt D: IL, KS (gain)
- Tossup: MI, WI
- Tilt R: AR (gain)
- Lean R: AZ
- Likely R: AK, GA (Runoff Possible), NE, NM, SC
- Safe R: IA, OH, OK, TX, others that are currently GOP-held
A new poll commissioned by the Democratic Governors Association shows Gov. Pat Quinn for the first time pulling ahead of his Republican opponent Bruce Rauner by three percentage points.
It is the first time since 2013 that a poll that’s been made publicly available shows Quinn leading Rauner.
Even an August internal Quinn poll showed the governor one point behind Rauner. Since the primary, Rauner has enjoyed a consistent lead that moved in and out of double-digits. Last week, Reboot Illinois published a We Ask America poll showing Rauner with a 9-point lead.
The new Democratic poll shows 5 percent of those queried chose Libertarian Chad Grimm. Republicans had unsuccessfully sought to boot Libertarians from the ballot. Democrats, meanwhile, were successful in blocking a Green Party candidate.
A memo about the internal poll, conducted by the Global Strategy Group, claims Rauner’s popularity has taken a plunge.
"As he has become better known, Rauner’s negative ratings have increased by 20 points among Democrats (16% fav/43% unfav to 9% fav/63% unfav) and by 13 among Independents (35% fav/21% unfav to 35% fav/34% unfav) with no increase in his positive ratings," according to the memo.
The poll, obtained by Early & Often, was a telephone survey of 605 likely Nov. 2014 Illinois voters. It was conducted Sept. 4-7 and had a margin of error is +/- 4.0 percentage points. Cross-tabs were not made available.
"Quinn has strong odds of holding on to the seat as long as he can consolidate his party’s voters," the memo states.
Here’s more from the memo:
Quinn has taken the lead over Rauner. Quinn leads the race with 43% of the vote compared to 40% for Rauner and 5% for Libertarian Chad Grimm.
Rauner’s popularity is sinking. Rauner is 13 points better known now (72% familiar) than in June (59%), but his favorability has held steady while his negative ratings have shot up by 13 points (34% fav/26% unfav to 33% fav/39% unfav). Rauner has become an unpalatable choice for the state’s Democrats and an increasingly divisive figure among Independents over the course of the campaign. As he has become better known, Rauner’s negative ratings have increased by 20 points among Democrats (16% fav/43% unfav to 9% fav/63% unfav) and by 13 among Independents (35% fav/21% unfav to 35% fav/34% unfav) with no increase in his positive ratings.
Quinn enjoys the support of 81% of Democrats, matching Republican consolidation behind Rauner (83%). Self-described conservatives are the only ideological segment of the electorate that afford Rauner an advantage in the race, while Quinn leads among moderate voters (40% Quinn/37% Rauner) and by a double-digit margin among non-conservative Independents (42% Quinn/31% Rauner). — Global Strategy Group
Here’s an overview of polls in a Rauner-Quinn matchup.
Wendy Davis, the Democratic candidate for Texas governor who sprung to fame when she held back sweeping abortion restrictions, reveals in a new memoir that she terminated two pregnancies for medical reasons.
Davis writes in a new campaign memoir that in the 1990s she had two abortions, including one where the foetus had developed a severe brain abnormality.
Davis writes in Forgetting to be Afraid that she had an abortion in 1996 after an examination revealed that the brain of the foetus had developed in complete separation on the right and left sides. She also describes ending an earlier ectopic pregnancy, in which an embryo implants outside the uterus.
Davis disclosed the terminated pregnancies for the first time since her 13-hour filibuster in the state legislature – she talked non-stop to try to run out the time on proposed legislation bringing in tough new Texas abortion laws.
Both pregnancies happened before Davis, a state senator from Fort Worth, began her political career and after she was already a mother to two young girls.
She writes that the ectopic pregnancy happened in 1994 during her first trimester. Terminating the pregnancy was considered medically necessary. Such pregnancies generally are considered not viable, meaning the foetus can’t survive, and the mother’s life could be in danger. But Davis wrote that in Texas it’s “technically considered an abortion and doctors have to report it as such”.
Davis said she and her former husband, Jeff, wound up expecting another child in 1996. After a later exam revealed the brain defect, doctors told her the baby would be deaf, blind and in a permanent vegetative state if she survived delivery.
“I could feel her little body tremble violently, as if someone were applying an electric shock to her, and I knew then what I needed to do,” Davis writes. “She was suffering.”
Davis is running against Republican attorney general Greg Abbott, who is a heavy favourite to replace the incumbent Republican governor, Rick Perry, in 2015.
Davis’s filibuster in June 2013 set off a chaotic scene in the Texas Capitol that extended past midnight. Thousands of people packed watched it live online, with President Barack Obama at one point tweeting: “Something special is happening in Austin tonight.”
The bill required doctors who perform abortion to obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and mandated that clinics upgrade facilities to hospital-level operating standards. A federal judge in Austin last month blocked a portion of the law that would have left Texas with only seven abortion facilities statewide.
SPRINGFIELD — In a newly unearthed radio interview, Republican private equity investor Bruce Rauner admitted earlier this year that he once favored the outright elimination of Illinois’ minimum wage.
That little-known acknowledgment marked the first time the multimillionaire from Winnetka is known to have gone on the record as having ever favored ditching the state’s $8.25-an-hour minimum wage entirely for 1.1 million Illinois workers.
Targeting that voting bloc, the minimum wage issue has been at the heart of Democratic efforts to hold on to the Executive Mansion. Once again drawing attention to the issue, Gov. Pat Quinn announced this week that he planned to go seven days living on the minimum wage to dramatize the plight of the state’s working poor and to underscore the need for hiking the state’s $8.25-an-hour minimum wage.
While acknowledging that he once supported an elimination of the minimum wage, Rauner said later in that Jan. 10, 2014, interview on Bloomington-based WJBC-AM that either ending or reducing the state’s minimum wage to the lower national standard, as he advocated during a candidates’ forum in the Quad Cities last December, was ill-advised on his part.
“I have said, on a number of occasions, that we could have a lower minimum wage or no minimum wage as part of increasing Illinois’ competitiveness. I’ve said that many times,” Rauner told WJBC host Scott Laughlin.
“It’s a mistake for me to focus on lowering the minimum wage or eliminating it because there are better ways to increase Illinois’ competitiveness,” Rauner said at the time.
Rauner appeared on Laughlin’s program to tamp down the possible impact of a series of Chicago Sun-Times stories at the beginning of the year that outlined how Rauner, in the span of five months, had staked out three conflicting positions on the minimum wage.
Last September, Rauner told a downstate audience that he was “adamantly, adamantly opposed” to raising Illinois’ minimum wage. Then in December, he proposed moving Illinois’ rate back to the national $7.25-an-hour rate.
Last January, he said that stance from December was “flippant” and a mistake and said he’d be open to actually increasing Illinois’ minimum wage if it was paired with business-friendly reforms.
Rauner’s campaign stopped short Wednesday of saying Rauner misspoke in the interview with his first-of-its-kind radio mention about eliminating the minimum wage.
“In this interview, Bruce acknowledges — as he has repeatedly — that his past statements about the minimum wage were a mistake and he supports a federal minimum wage increase that would raise Illinois’ minimum wage and he supports raising the state minimum wage in conjunction with pro-business reforms,” Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf told Early & Often, the Chicago Sun-Times online political portal. “The online story that accompanied the interview also confirms that.”
Quinn’s campaign pounced on the new disclosure.
“We’re not surprised to learn that Republican billionaire Bruce Rauner advocated eliminating the minimum wage just this year. This is his real position, the one he’s trying to hide from voters to get elected,” Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said.
“Whether he’s dropping $140,000 on a luxury wine membership or pushing to eliminate the minimum wage, Bruce Rauner is the most out-of-touch candidate for governor in Illinois history,” she said.
The Rauner camp countered that the attack was mere political diversion from fallout over a patronage hiring scandal during Quinn’s watch at the Illinois Department of Transportation.
“This is simply another misleading attack from a governor desperate to distract from the fact that he handed out illegal patronage jobs to political cronies at the expense of our veterans,” Schrimpf said.
Bruce Rauner = unfit to govern Illinois.
h/t; Dave McKinney at Chicago Sun-Times' Early and Often
It’s safe to say that this past week was not the best for Nathan Deal. It must be hard to be the governor of Georgia, what with all those pesky whistleblowers, journalists and students. In the …
1. While speaking to college students, he assumed (wrongly) that an immigration activist was undocumented.Via pinterest.com
No really. It went like this:
Gov. Deal: I presume you are…. [undocumented]
Woman: I don’t know why you thought I was undocumented. Is it because I look Hispanic?
Apparently you can tell a person’s citizenship status just by looking at them. #NewSuperpower
2. An investigation showed Gov. Deal rewarded the families who bankrolled his campaign with plum seats on the state’s top boards.Via tumblr.com
Yea, we did a spit take too when we saw the headline.
Side note: Gov. Deal appointed only 5 women and 1 African-American out of 51 seats. #Diversity
3. A leaked email from Gov. Deal’s staff promised favors for state legislators in return for campaign contributions.Via blogger.com
4. On Wednesday, a watchdog group filed a complaint against the governor’s top staff for illegal conduct.Via tumblr.com
The governor’s top staff intervened in an ethics investigation of his campaign, allegedly even threatening the top ethics official. The silver fox has seen a lot in his day, but we think he would agree this is just wrong.
5. Now the governor is struggling to explain why he takes $10k a month from a business that owes Georgia $74 million in back taxes.
Because earning millions for yourself always takes priority over funding education or helping middle-class families…
6. And a judge is questioning why the state hid evidence in a major ethics trial that kept the governor off the witness stand.Via i.imgur.com
What memos? There were no memos? We promise!
7. When you act like this, it’s probably better to keep the press away. Maybe that’s why he stayed silent as a journalist was dragged out of a GOP rally Gov. Deal was headlining.Via i.imgur.com
Gov. Deal sat idly by as a videographer was dragged from a public rally.
Did we mention that she was invited to the event? So much for transparency.
Gov. Deal, of course, had no comment.
What. A. Week.Via giant.gfycat.com
7 scandals in 7 days.
We know, it’s hard to keep up.
We think it’s safe to say that #GeorgiasReady for an honest government. #ChangeTheDeal
Source: Team Carter for Buzzfeed Community
Oh really?Here’s some more info:Republican Bruce Rauner Tuesday dismissed questions about his financial ties to the secretive Cayman Islands as a Democratic-driven “red herring,” calling it a “distraction” by Gov. Pat Quinn from his failed tax policies. In Chicago, Quinn hit Rauner over outsourcing allegations with regard to the venture capitalist’s former firm.
Rauner responded publicly for the first time to word that his former private-equity company set up a dozen investment vehicles in the Caribbean tax haven between 2009 and 2011, including three partnerships in which has disclosed having a personal financial stake.
“This issue of the Cayman Islands, this is a red herring,” Rauner told reporters in Springfield, where he was urging quick action by a state appeals court by the end of the week to allow a term-limits initiative on the fall ballot.
“This is a distraction. This is being foamed up by Pat Quinn and his allies to create a distraction in the media for the voters. It is not a real important issue one way or another in this election,” Rauner said. - Chicago Sun-Times, 8/19/14Latest polling shows that voters are paying attention to this issue and it is taking a toll on Rauner’s numbers:A dozen funds in total were set up in the Caribbean nation between June 2009 and July 2011 by private equity firm GTCR which, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, was chaired by Rauner at the time. He had a personal financial interest in three of those funds.attribution: None Specified
Bermuda and the Cayman Islands are popular tax shelters for U.S. corporations, as both island nations have no corporate income taxes, and disclosure requirements there are less stringent.
The Cayman Islands government agreed in August 2013 to comply with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which requires foreign financial entities to notify the U.S. Internal Revenue Service about American offshore accounts if they exceed $50,000. The intergovernmental agreement took effect in July.
Campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf offered a full-fledged defense of Rauner to the paper:
Caribbean vehicles are common for private-equity funds as well as institutional investors like the Illinois’ pension fund that [Gov.] Pat Quinn is invested in, especially when the companies they are investing in already have international operations and headquarters … Bruce was also comfortable with it because that kind of investment does not reduce the taxes paid by individual investors on their income. It didn’t reduce taxes on Bruce’s income, and it doesn’t reduce Pat Quinn’s taxes either.
Rauner has refused to release a certain portion of his tax returns further detailing the investments, and GTCR has remained mum on the matter.
Brooke Anderson, a spokeswoman for Gov. Pat Quinn’s (D) campaign, responded to the revelations by saying that “not only does Republican billionaire Bruce Rauner stash his own riches in the Cayman Islands to avoid taxes, he also parked his firm’s money there.”
"Mr. Rauner is great at gaming the system for his own financial benefit while the rest of us play by a different set of rules," she added. - Huffington Post, 8/19/14And Quinn isn’t the only one hitting Rauner on this issue:All of those TV ads targeting Bruce Rauner appear to be taking a toll on the popularity of the GOP nominee for governor.
A new poll out today from Garin Hart Yang Research Group, which usually polls for Democrats, shows Mr. Rauner ahead of incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn just 44 percent to 41 percent among 802 likely voters in the November general election. An additional two percent of voters lean toward each candidate, with 11 percent undecided.
The three-point difference is within the survey’s plus-or-minus 3.5-point margin of error, and definitely is less than the seven-point average margin Mr. Rauner has enjoyed in several recent surveys.
But a Garin Hart Yang survey released on May 14 had Mr. Rauner up six points, 46 percent to 40 percent. And an earlier one, in April, had the race 49 percent for Mr. Rauner to 39 percent for Mr. Quinn.
All of those polls were taken before the Quinn campaign and an independent group, Illinois Freedom PAC, began dropping millions in ads that slash Mr. Rauner for not paying enough income taxes, investing overseas and other rich guy sins. But the new survey was taken after those ads hit, specifically last week, on Aug. 12 to 14. - Crain’s Chicago Business, 8/20/14Even this guy is hitting Rauner on this issue:The business record of Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate for governor, was called into question by Paul Vallas, the Democratic lieutenant governor candidate, during a stop Tuesday at the Peoria Labor Temple.
“Bruce Rauner is in the business of vulture capitalism. That’s the Wall Street Journal’s characterization — not mine,” said Vallas, who accused Rauner of outsourcing jobs rather than creating them.
“Rauner has profited to the tune of millions of dollars from outsourcing American jobs and shipping those jobs overseas. He believes in cheap labor — both at home and abroad.”
Earlier this month, a Chicago Sun Times poll had Rauner ahead of Gov. Pat Quinn by a spread of nearly 51 percent to 38 percent, with 11 percent undecided.
Vallas referenced a recent story in the Sun Times that noted that, in addition to having personal investments in the Cayman Islands, a so-called tax haven, Rauner also had established a dozen investment funds there through his Chicago-based investment firm.
“The philosophy here is to maximize profits and minimize tax liability,” said Vallas, who called on Rauner to disclose complete tax records and identify his business partners. - Peoria Journal Star, 8/19/14I always knew this race was still ours to win. Polling has been crappy in Illinois in the past but this issue is taking a toll on Rauner. We can still hold onto this seat, we just have to get our base out to the polls. Click here to donate and get involved with Quinn’s campaign:Mayor Rahm Emanuel urged his buddy Bruce Rauner on Tuesday to release his full tax returns, calling it a “rite of passage” that candidates for public office simply cannot avoid.attribution: None Specified
Days after releasing his own 2013 tax returns, including schedules, Emanuel joined Gov. Pat Quinn in urging Rauner to do the same.
“Running for office and releasing your taxes is like a rite of passage. You have to do it,” the mayor said.
“When I ran for Congress, I released my taxes. When I ran for mayor, I released my taxes. I released my taxes when I was [White House] chief of staff, even though I was not in elected office, but it was an office in the public trust. I do believe in a separation. You’re still allowed a personal life and a private life. Your taxes, though … they speak to what I think is the right thing to do. And it’s a rite of passage running today for office, especially chief executive.” - Chicago Sun-Times, 8/19/14https://www.quinnforillinois.com/
I beg to differ, Mr. Rauner.
h/t: poopdogcomedy at Daily Kos
Republican Gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner revealed to a small group in a private meeting that the closest he was to “punching someone” in the governor’s race came after a dust-up before last Spring’s Greek parade with Gov. Quinn’s camp. Quinn’s campaign says it doesn’t know what Rauner is talking about.
In a video of Rauner obtained by Early & Often, Rauner ramped up his rhetoric against Quinn. The video is from a Saturday, July 26, closed-door event with supporters in Edwardsville. The Quinn camp, however, says it doesn’t know what the gubernatorial candidate is talking about.
Here’s what Rauner says:"I was the only Republican in this parade. There were hundreds and hundreds of people in line. You know what Pat Quinn said: ‘Holy cow, Rauner’s coming after my base. You know, I’m out working ‘em, I’m working ‘em. He’s running around chasing me … he’s never been to a Greek parade in his life. He came to that parade because he said, "Uh-oh, Rauner’s taking my votes.’""You know what, they tried to, his people tried to kick me out of the parade. You know what, it’s the closest I’ve come to punching someone in this race. I said, I said I ain’t leaving this parade, this is not a Democratic parade, this is a Greek-American parade, and I’m working for every family in this state. You know what, I pushed those guys aside, we went to the front of that parade, high-fives and selfies all up and down. You know what, they were clapping and cheering. They loved every part of the message.""The Governor has attended numerous Greek events in recent years and throughout his career, including the Greek Independence Day Parade in 2010 and most recently on March 30 along with his Greek-American running mate Paul Vallas," says campaign spokeswoman Brooke Anderson. "Mr. Rauner has a history of making things up in his stump speeches and his negative attack ads, so we’re not surprised he is continuing that trend.”
Rauner’s campaign has yet to respond. As far as attack ads, both campaigns have unleashed on each other.
More reasons to vote to keep Quinn in office.
H/T: Natasha Korecki at Chicago Sun-Times