Quinn opponents accuse gov of pay-to-play

July 27, 2010 (CHICAGO)

The governor is calling the charge a smear tactic meant to tarnish his campaign against Republican candidate for governor Bill Brady.

As closing arguments continued in the Rod Blagojevich corruption trial, Illinois Republicans held a news conference across the street. They charged the former governor's successor of practicing his own version of pay-to-play politics.

"It's time for Governor Quinn to be very, very, very careful about contributions and subsequent governor actions," said State Sen. Kirk Dillard, (R) Hinsdale.

Dillard and Illinois Republican Chairman Pat Brady are linking Governor Pat Quinn's acceptance in June of a $500,000 campaign contribution from labor unions to the administration's intervention in July aimed at ending a laborer's strike that shut down highway and construction projects.

On July 19, Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig sent a letter to inform road builders their state highway contracts might be rebid if the work stoppage continued.

"In fact, the letter sent by Secretary Hannig is very threatening in its tone. It is not impartial," said Dillard.

"I think it's sickening that citizens could again be subjected to the same pay-to-play politics that rocked Illinois under Rod Blagojevich," Pat Brady said.

"That's a lot of baloney. And you know it, and they know it," said Gov. Quinn.

The governor denied doing any special favors for his union supporters. He held up his own copy of Secretary Hannig's letter and said his administration's only goal was to get people back to work. He then openly suspected the pay-to-play charge was masterminded by his election opponent, Senator Bill Brady.

"That's a smear and those who made it, the Brady bunch, know it's a smear. It's totally untrue. It's completely untrue. And they know it. It's all politics," Quinn said.

Dillard and Pat Brady -- no relation to the Republican candidate -- held their news conference in a Union League Club room across the street from the U.S. attorney's office. They were asked why they hadn't taken their pay-to-play theory to the U.S. attorney's office.

"That's for others to determine, criminality or wrongdoing. We're just here as they loyal opposition pointing out that this is what's going on in your state government. That's our job," said Pat Brady.

Tuesday afternoon, a Quinn campaign spokeswoman texted that Republican candidate Bill Brady accepted a $50,000 contribution from the Wal-Mart corporation after Brady spoke out in favor of locating Wal-Mart stores in the city of Chicago. Patty Shuh, a spokesperson for Bill Brady for Governor, told ABC7 in reference to the Wal-Mart vote that Brady does not have a vote on the Chicago City Council and that there is no comparison.

Expect this kind of back and forth to continue right up until Election Day in November.

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