A new group of conservative reform leaders is forming – the problem is the group is controlled by Rauner allies John Tillman, Dan Proft, and Pat Hughes.

Allies of embattled Republican Governor Bruce Rauner held a press conference last week to “lay out the case for leadership change and introduce a slate of new leaders running to structurally reform state government and radically renew Illinois’ political culture” or so says the Illinois Review, a low energy political blog that claims to be conservative.

New conservative reform group funded by Rauner’s top donors?

There’s only one little hitch, the “coalition of conservative reform Republican legislators and candidates” are the same folks who burned/chumped/humiliated/betrayed conservative voters by selling us hardcore on Rauner’s virtues in 2014 and since.

The legislators/candidates at the press conference are backed by the Illinois Opportunity Project a group that has received millions in funding from Bruce Rauner and his groups. Illinois Opportunity Project has been Rauner’s attack dog since he was elected and spent millions to elect Rauner’s pet candidates for public office, regularly attacking pro-life and anti-illegal immigration candidates who opposed them.

The new “conservative reform” legislators and candidates are also funded by Richard Uihlein, a top donor to Gov. Rauner.

Rauner’s allies received at least $10 million or more from Rauner

At Rauner’s direction, the group also donated $1 million to Rep. Ken Dunkin, a liberal Democrat with a violent criminal history. Illinois Opportunity Project is controlled by the Illinois Policy Institute’s John Tillman, Dan Proft of Liberty Principles PAC, and Patrick Hughes. Governor Rauner has donated $10 million or more to their groups and businesses. In 2017, Rauner hired new staff from Illinois Policy Institute and Illinois Opportunity Project amid the firestorm of his pro-abortion and pro-illegal immigration votes.

In media interviews, Tillman denied he was the “de facto governor.” The new staff was fired within two months after a series of embarrassing missteps.

Dan Proft’s Liberty Principles PAC also issued a statement in support of the candidates and legislators at the press conference. Liberty Principles PAC has received more than $6 million from Bruce Rauner to elect Rauner’s candidates and attack pro-life conservative candidates, including veteran pro-life Sen. Sam McCann (R), who is currently the Conservative Party candidate for Illinois Governor.

Last month, Mr. Proft admitted Rauner ordered him to attack McCann in 2016 with $3.2 million in funds from Rauner.

In a textbook example of political malpractice, Proft’s unending flood of negative ads against the state senator backfired in the 50th district and McCann won re-election handily. McCann spent a measly $689,000, leaving Rauner aides tried to explain the embarrassing defeat: “He [McCann] was a god in that district.”

How did Proft bungle $3.2 million so badly? Observers say Rauner/Proft underestimated McCann’s good guy “cred” in his district. McCann also received the endorsement of pro-life groups statewide (excluding pro-Rauner Family PAC, run by Paul Caprio).

In his 2016 proxy war with House Speaker Michael Madigan, Rauner and friends spent upwards of $9 million on three legislative races and lost them all. Talk about losers.

Beware of these “conservative” reform candidates…they aren’t conservative.

The legislators/candidates at last week’s press conference include:

  • Darren Bailey, Candidate for State Representative HD 109
  • Blaine Wilhour, Candidate for State Representative HD 107
  • Chris Miller, Candidate for State Representative HD 110
  • Dwight Kay, Candidate for State Representative HD 112
  • State Representative Jeanne Ives, House District 42’
  • State Senator Kyle McCarter, Senate District 54
  • State Representative Brad Halbrook, House District 102
  • State Representative Tom Morrison, House District 54
  • State Representative Jeanne Ives, House District 42

Know this – these legislators/candidates are controlled and funded by Gov. Bruce Rauner’s political allies. They are not conservative by the high standards of traditional conservative voters.

A conservative reform coalition is badly needed in Illinois but not one controlled by Bruce Rauner and his wallet.

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