Report Questions Treasurer's Use of State Funds

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    Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford

    Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford's faces questions this week that his office used state funds for a mailing that primarily went to his campaign donors.

    The 11-page booklet, touting Rutherford's "successes" in office, went out to a list of 850 state residents -- two-thirds of whom are Rutherford donors, according to a report in The Daily Herald. More than $1,400 in state money was used to print and mail the brochure, which did not ask for donations.

    Together, those 566 donors contributed $1.6 million to Rutherford's campaigns over the last 16 years, according to the Herald.

    Some Republican heavy-hitters are among the recipients of the pamphlet, including former Gov. Jim Thompson, and State Rep. Judy Biggert. The Herald reported that few big-name Democrats were on the recipient list.

    Rutherford's spokesman defended the mailing to the Daily Herald, saying, "This list of business leaders has been compiled over more than 18 years of Dan's service ... any percentage that leans Republican or happen to be donors to any government official is merely a coincidence."

    The Herald pointed out that in the month following the mailing, Rutherford pulled in more than $9,000 in campaign contributions from recipients of the mailer.

    Earlier this summer, Rutherford apologized after his office gave an unfair advantage to staffers' family and friends about a state college grant program that quickly ran out of money.