February 23, 2014

Top 10 facts about the REAL Bruce Rauner

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner bills himself as a “breath of fresh air” in the race for governor, but when you do your homework, you’ll find his words and actions are polluted. Take a look at the top 10 things you need to know about the REAL Bruce Rauner before casting your ballot. Spoiler alert: he’s a hypocrite.

1. Just like Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, Rauner wants to dismantle unions. He wrote about his hostility toward unions in the Chicago Tribune, claiming they are “harmful.” He doesn’t believe public employees should be allowed to be union members, saying “by their very nature” public employee unions represent a “fundamental conflict of interest with the people of Illinois”. Rauner's anti-union views came under heavy fire at a recent GOP debate.

2. Rauner wants to eliminate public pensions and force public employees into 401(k)s, but he made huge profits investing our pension funds. As chairman of the multi-billion-dollar hedge fund GTCR (in which the 'R' stands for Rauner), he made millions in fees from pension funds he invested for the Illinois Teachers Retirement System (TRS) and the State Employees Retirement System (SERS). But now he says the pension-slashing SB1 "didn't go far enough," because it didn't wipe out the pension systems entirely and replace them with privatized Wall Street accounts.

3. Rauner says he’d “shake up” Springfield, but he’s tied to a convicted felon who shook state government down. Rauner’s firm GTCR co-owned CompBenefits, a company that paid Blagojevich crony Stu Levine more than $1 million over six years to get city and state contracts by “whatever means necessary, including payoffs.” At the same time, Levine--who's now in federal prison--sat on the TRS board and voted to give Rauner’s firm $50 million in teacher pension funds:

4. Rauner took home $53 million last year--that's $25,000 an hour--but called for cutting the state's minimum wage. When controversy erupted over the billionaire's plan to reduce the minimum to $7.25, Rauner claimed he actually believed the opposite. Then more video surfaced of him saying he “adamantly, adamantly” opposed an increase for the lowest-paid workers.

5. Rauner brags about his “average Joe” Carhartt jacket and $18 watch, but he owns nine multimillion-dollar homes and was caught taking three property tax exemptions when the law only entitles a homeowner to one. Rauner's vast personal real estate holdings include ranches in Montana and Wyoming, a ski getaway in Utah, a mansion in the Chicago suburb of Winnetka, upscale properties in Chicago and the Florida Keys, and a penthouse on New York's Central Park. He claimed his illegal tax breaks were an "oversight."

6. Rauner pulled strings to clout his daughter into an elite public high school in Chicago after her application was rejected, then gave the school a huge donation. Rauner denied ever calling then-Chicago schools CEO Arne Duncan about his daughter's rejection from the prestigious Walter Payton College Prep, then admitted he had spoken to Duncan and apologized for having "misremembered." After his daughter leapfrogged more than 7,000 applicants for one of just 300 spots in the freshman class, Rauner donated a quarter of a million dollars to the school.

7. Rauner invested in nursing homes that dramatically cut costs for profit, resulting in wrongful death and patient-neglect lawsuits that totaled more than $2.3 billion in damages. Rauner’s firm GTCR founded a company called Trans Healthcare Inc. to buy up hundreds of nursing homes nationwide. But juries in several lawsuits brought by patients and their families found that Rauner’s firm failed to provide proper care. Pending cases say GTCR dumped the nursing homes on shell companies to avoid paying damages.

8. Rauner sharply criticizes “pay-to-play” politics, but his firm made millions from Pennsylvania public pension funds after Rauner gave $300,000 to the campaign of that state's governor, Ed Rendell. Rauner’s firm was managing Pennsylvania pension money; after Rendell's election, the state doubled its stake in GTCR funds, resulting in an additional $4 million profit for the firm. Now Rauner has the nerve to accuse public employees of bribery!

9. Rauner loves to bash Democrats, but fails to mention that he’s a big supporter and personal friend of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. While working with Rauner in the late ’90s, Emanuel made millions, helping spur his run for elective office. Rauner donated to Emanuel's campaign and the two have vacationed together.

10. Rauner supports “right-to-work” laws that strip workers of their right to form strong unions and bargain for a better life. Rauner's "work-for-less" approach would drive down wages, benefits and the overall standard of living for anyone outside of Rauner’s 1%, who stand to get richer as the income inequality gap widens.

TheRealRaunerBillionaire Bruce Rauner has already contributed more than $3 million of his own money to his campaign, while his many wealthy friends have chipped in six figures themselves. They want to determine the outcome of this election the only way they know how--by buying it.

Rauner is saturating the airwaves with deceptive commercials, hoping voters won't learn the facts. Share this page by email, Facebook or Twitter to help spread the truth!

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