Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger's campaign urged her opponent, City Clerk of Chicago Susana Mendoza, to give up one of her two public pensions Wednesday to compensate for ten years of simultaneously taking in two government paychecks.
“Susana Mendoza voted for the unbalanced budgets, tax increases and pension holidays that put Illinois in fiscal crisis,” Munger's campaign manager Phil Rodriguez said in a statement. “At the time, she picked up two paychecks and sweetened her two pensions. It embodies all the problems that have led us to this place.”
Munger’s campaign claimed Mendoza simultaneously received paychecks from both the city of Chicago and the state during her time in the Illinois legislature.
Mendoza worked in Chicago’s city planning department starting in 1998 and also served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 2001-2011. According to the Munger camp, the salaries coincided with government contributions to her two public pensions.
“It’s time for a change,” Rodriguez said. “Leslie Munger spent her career balancing budgets and meeting financial expectations. She has dedicated nearly two decades to serving developmentally disabled adults. She doesn’t accept a public pension or state health care benefits.”
"The contrast could not be clearer,” he added.
Mendoza’s campaign rebuffed the claims Wednesday.
“Like Rod Blagojevich, a pathological liar who attacked Susana on this same false charge years ago, Leslie Munger isn’t telling the truth,” Mendoza's campaign manager Lauren Peters said in a statement. “When Susana retires, she will have only one pension."
“We need a truth-telling independent comptroller, not a Rod Blagojevich quoting, factually challenged lap dog for Bruce Rauner,” she added.
Munger was appointed state comptroller by Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2015. The race between Munger and Mendoza is widely considered to be a proxy battle for Rauner and his chief political opponent, House Speaker Mike Madigan, who Mendoza has called a mentor.
The Mendoza campaign also took a shot at Munger Wednesday, claiming she lied to the Chicago Tribune about her campaign chair during a joint meeting with the paper's editorial board last month.
"What’s true is Leslie Munger flat out lied at the Chicago Tribune last month when she denied that her campaign chair is Elizabeth Brandt when official documents signed by Munger herself show Brandt, the leader of the movement to slash the paychecks of thousands of Illinois private sector workers, is in fact her campaign chair,” Peters said.
According to the Illinois State Board of Elections, Brandt is listed as Munger’s campaign chair. Rodriguez called the incident a misunderstanding Wednesday and confirmed that Brandt is the comptroller’s campaign chair.