Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

GOP Accuses Gov of Pay-to-Play

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Labor unions contribute to Quinn's campaign before the construction strike ends and republicans accuse him of "Pay to Play."

    Illinois Republicans hurled a huge allegation at Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday, claiming the governor took big money from construction unions and, in turn, pressured contractors to settle this summer's strike.

    At an afternoon press conference, the GOP leaders said that after Gov. Quinn received $500,000 in campaign contributions, he then pushed the contractors with a letter from the Department of Transportation to get the unions back to work.

    "The timing is just so close to the governmental actions and we need a clean break from the past in this state and you need to be more confident, or more careful, with perception," said State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale).

    GOP Chairman Pat Brady said the appearance was "terrible."

    The governor fired back, calling the claim nothing more than a partisan smear tactic.

    "That's baloney. And you know it. And they know it," a clearly irked Quinn said. "The bottom line is the transportation department letter made it crystal clear what the rights of the people of Illinois are with respect to road contractors who have contracts to carry out their duty."

    While the Republicans say it's up to voters to decide if Quinn's move is pay-to-play, Blagojevich-style, the governor defiantly said, "no way."

    "That's a smear, and those who made it -- The Brady Bunch -- know it's a smear," he said. "It's totally untrue. It's completely untrue and they know it."

    Bill Brady, no relation to the GOP chairman, is the Republican's nominee for governor.

    Quinn says he pressured both sides to reach an agreement, not just the contractors, and he defended his right to accept the donation, even if it may look bad.

    "Come on. I am supported by many unions because they see what the other side is all about. The other side does not believe in the minimum wage. They do not believe, Sen. Brady does not believe in equal pay for equal work, he believes in right to work, he said, to get rid of unions all together. And so I think the unions have a perfect democratic right in the process to support their candidate of their choosing," Quinn said.