CHRONICLE: Despite claiming blind trust, Rauner held private business meetings at taxpayer expense

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Hasn’t ceded control of private business as promised

A newly released record shows Governor Bruce Rauner used taxpayer resources to conduct a private business meeting in May 2015. Rauner has previously claimed that he no longer is involved in his private business, but his calendar shows that his state-paid scheduler set up a business meeting that took place at the State Executive Mansion.

The meeting took place May 11, 2015, at the Mansion with a former business partner, Harreld “Kip” Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick claims the two had an additional meeting in September of that year, though that appointment does not appear on the calendar.

The meeting is suspect as Rauner has claimed that he ended all control over his private business interests when he became governor in order to ensure that there were no conflicts of interest between his government and business work.

An ethics expert, Susan Garrett, chairwoman of the nonpartisan Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, said the meeting on state time is a “gray area.”

“He should know better than to conduct any type of business where there’s a question mark,” said Garrett. “Meetings are being set up by his assistant who is paid by the state and it was on state time. It seems he should have divorced himself from these proceedings or done them someplace else.”

The meeting became an issue as a result of a lawsuit that Rauner filed against the former business partner objecting to the division of a settlement agreement after an investment.

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