Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Rauner and Quinn Go to War on Outsourcing Issue

The candidates spar over moving American jobs overseas. Both are apparently guilty.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Last week Illinois Freedom PAC -- the union-backed group on a mission to derail Bruce Rauner's gubernatorial campaign -- released a highly effective attack ad dubbing the Republican candidate a "Chief Executive Outsourcer" and "vulture capitalist."

    Featuring footage from a July labor protest in Rockford, Ill., the anti-Rauner video tugged at the heartstrings and went straight for the jugular -- like any good piece of political propaganda -- painting the Winnetka venture capitalist as a soulless villain affiliated with companies that outsourced jobs from American factories.

    Taking notes, Quinn's campaign followed up with an outsourcing-themed spot of its own on Wednesday, slinging mud at Rauner over his apparent involvement in the formation of a company that specialized in helping other businesses move U.S. positions overseas to China, India and the Philippines. That company, called Zenta (formerly H-Cube), was created in 2005, when Rauner was a partner at the Chicago private equity firm GTCR, which he founded three decades ago.

    The ad also ripped Rauner for diverting part of his multi-million-dollar fortune to the Caymans and closed with the tagline: "HE WINS. WE LOSE."

    Responding to the attacks, Rauner said: "So this issue of outsourcing, this is gonna come up a whole bunch of times -- and again, another red herring. Another distraction. I have never closed a plant and moved jobs overseas or that sort of thing. That's not what my business was. Never done that."

    Calling pants on fire, Capitol Fax's Rich Miller posted contradictory remarks from Rauner circa September 2012. During a panel discussion on Illinois' economy, and the exodus of local entrepreneurs to greener tax pastures, the businessman declared: "We've helped start almost a hundred companies. We've financed the growth of hundreds of companies. And we've been integral to the location decision of where they will base their operations, where they will base their headquarters. We’ve been the driving factor in much of that decision."

    Another comment Rauner likely regrets: "I mean, I, if we, if you were going to invest in a new plant that would come to Illinois, I'd like to say yes, but I'd have to say no."

    Team Rauner struck back with allegations that Quinn's administration outsourced Medicaid processing work to a contractor, Maximus Health Services, inking a two-year pact to pay the company nearly $77 million.

    "Pat Quinn has clearly reached all out desperation mode with his new false and misleading attack," said Rauner campaign rep Mike Schrimpf. "Only a failed governor who wants to cover up his own record of tax hikes and job losses would make outrageous claims like these."

    Prepare thyselves, Ward Room readers: This he said/he said is just going to escalate to the point where the truth-bending outsourcing debate will become as annoying as it is controversial.