Gloves come off in GOP Governor’s Race

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Stunning allegations Friday night against the two Republican front-runners for Governor.   State Treasurer Dan Rutherford says opponent, Bruce Rauner, is behind a misconduct allegation leveled against Rutherford.  But the Rauner camp denies that claim.

“There is something very, very fishy about the timing and who is behind it,”  Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford  told reporters in Chicago Friday.  Rutherford says, “ it smells.”  Just a few weeks short of absentee balloting in the Republican primary, in a surprise development, the state treasurer says he’s been forced to open an investigation into misconduct allegations that he’s barred from discussing in detail  – due to treasurer’s office internal guidelines on personnel matters.

“Let me be perfectly clear,” said.  “There’s absolutely no truth to the allegations, no factual support or merit.”

Rutherford makes the explosive allegation that a well-known Chicago attorney, representing the treasurer’s office employee, allegedly demanded $300,000 to keep the allegation under wraps.

“Christine Svenson is an attorney that’s making demands on behalf of the accuser, is directly linked to my opponent, Bruce Rauner.”   And Rutherford says he’s not the only one who listened to the alleged demand for money.

Neil Olsen, State Treasurer General Counsel, “I can confirm that those statements were made to me and another attorney representing the office of State Treasurer,” said Neil Olsen, State treasurer General Counsel.  “And the statements were made by attorney Svenson.”

Efforts to reach Christine Svenson for comment were unsuccessful.  Rauner’s campaign aides say they’re not behind the misconduct allegations.  In a written statement, Rauner’s spokesman admits Svenson was hired by the Rauner campaign – but on a real estate matter.  “The campaign hired Ms. Svenson to review and edit our office space lease last spring, ” Rauner spokesman, Mike Schrimpf says.  “Because our regular attorney had a conflict of interest with the landlord.  We paid her a one-time fee of $3,500 for that service and never discussed anything with her related to the Treasurer.”

But Rutherford isn’t buying it.

“Illinois politics is hardball!  It’s tough in this state,” he said, visibly angry.  “This is not a sport for the feint of heart.  And I’ve been thru it.  I know.  And the one thing I know, we’ve seen another person enter the race with millions and millions of dollars who is specifically noted that he’s going to destroy his opponents.  Nice try.  Rutherford is staying in this race!”

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