Who Is The REAL Bruce Rauner? The Top 10 Things You Should Know

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner bills himself as a “breath of fresh air” in the race for Governor. 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.

Image by Aaron Cynic for Chicagoist.com / Via chicagoist.com

2. 1. Rauner wants to dismantle unions and eliminate pension benefits, but happily reaped huge profits by investing retirement savings of union members.

He wrote about his hatred for unions in the Chicago Tribune, while numerous media reported that Rauner made millions in investment fees by managing pension funds for the Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), as co-founder and former chairman of Chicago’s second largest private equity fund (GTCR).

3. 2. Rauner says he’d “shake up” Springfield, but he’s tied to those who shook it down, like a corrupt Blagojevich crony now in prison.

Rauner’s firm owned part of CompBenefits, a company that paid $1 million to convicted felon Stuart Levine to get city and state contracts by “whatever means necessary, including payoffs.” Levine admitted to paying a bribe to get a contract for the company, and while on the payroll, voted to award Rauner’s firm a $50 million contract from the Illinois teachers pension fund in his role as a board member.

4. 3. Rauner earns $25,000 an HOUR but called for lowering the minimum wage to $7.25.

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As soon as the media exposed this comment, the billionaire scrambled to explain his indefensible position, but more video had already surfaced of him saying he was “adamantly, adamantly” opposed to an increase for the lowest income workers among us.

5. 4. Rauner brags about his “average Joe” Carhartt jacket and $18 watch, but he’s no regular guy underneath the costume.

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The billionaire owns NINE multi-million dollar homes, including a mansion in Chicago suburban Winnetka, two upscale properties in Chicago, and a penthouse in New York City among others.

6. 5. Rauner insists he’s a political “outsider,” but he played a major role in attempts to dismantle public education.

Rauner encouraged Jonah Edelman and his “educational reform group” – Stand for Children – to come to Illinois. The group and its wealthy funders like Rauner bragged about “outfoxing the teachers’ unions” and pushed for reforms that would have eliminated collective bargaining and Chicago teachers’ right to strike in 2012.

7. 6. Rauner pulled strings and clouted his daughter into an elite (union) public school in Chicago after her application was rejected.

He personally called then-Chicago schools CEO Arne Duncan to make sure that she was offered one of only 300 spots at Walter Payton College Prep, leapfrogging over 7,000 city applicants. Then, Rauner donated $250,000 to Payton Prep a year later. Rauner lives in wealthy suburban Winnetka, not Chicago.

8. 7. Rauner invested in nursing homes that dramatically cut costs for profit, resulting in wrongful death and patient-neglect lawsuits

Via Nancy Stone, Chicago Tribune

These lawsuits at one point totaled more than $2.3 billion in damages. After Rauner’s firm GTCR bought Trans Healthcare Inc, the now-bankrupt nursing home chain was sued at least a half dozen times by patients and their families. Attorneys have alleged that Rauner’s firm and other investors failed to provide proper funding for care, then shielded their assets to avoid paying damages.

9. 8. Rauner sharply criticizes “pay-to-play” politics, but received millions in state business after donating $300,000 to former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell during his campaign.

The donation was a clear conflict of interest; Rauner’s firm was managing state pension funds at the time. After Rendell was elected, the state doubled its stake in GTCR funds, resulting in an additional $4 million profit for Rauner. And he has the nerve to accuse union members of bribery?

10. 9. Rauner loves to bash Democrats, but fails to mention that he’s a big supporter of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, his close friend and a sharp critic of the Chicago Teachers Union

While working with Rauner in the late ’90s, Emanuel made $18 million, which helped spur his run for elective office.

11. 10. Rauner supports “right-to-work” laws that would rob you of your rights to form unions and advocate for the students and citizens you serve.

These laws also 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.

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