Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford said during a news conference Friday that allegations were made against him by an employee in a move he said was political.
Though Rutherford said he couldn't describe the nature of the allegations, he confirmed they were made by a current employee in his office. No details have been made available about the allegations from either side.
"Let me make this very clear, there is absolutely no truth to the allegations," Rutherford said in a statement. "No factual support or merit."
Rutherford said a lawyer with connections to opponent Bruce Rauner demanded $300,000 on behalf of the employee who leveled the allegations.
"Christine Svenson is an attorney making demands on behalf of the accuser and is directly linked to my opponent Bruce Rauner," Rutherford said. "Svenson demanded payment of $300,000 for the employee to 'walk away and keep it under wraps.'"
Rauner denied that he was involved. In a statement Rauner said his campaign hired Svenson to "review and edit our office space lease last Spring because our regular attorney had a conflict of interest with the landlord."
Rauner said his campaign paid the attorney a one-time fee of $3,500 and "never discussed anything with her related to the Treasurer."
Rutherford insisted the allegations were politically motivated.
"This thing smells," he said, later noting "Illinois politics is hardball."
Neil Olson, general counsel of the Illinois Treasurer's Office, said it was a personnel matter that needs to be investigated.
"We are launching an investigation given that the state treasurer is involved," Olson said. "We have an obligation to investigate appropriately. We are doing that in this case."
The lawyer also would not confirm what is being investigated.
"We want to make sure there is an independent analysis, and we are committed to doing that."
Svenson issued a statement late Friday denying that the employee's allegations are "serious and real" and not political.
She also reiterated Rauner's claim that the only connection the two had was through the office lease review.
"This morning, Mr. Rutherford chose to make this matter about politics - probably because the facts are so troubling. I have nothing against Dan Rutherford, and have no horse in the governor's primary race," Svenson said in her statement.