Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s top attorney – whose end of August departure was announced Thursday – was escorted out of the governor’s office at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago on Friday, according to published reports, nearly a week ahead of his planned exit.
Initially, Rauner’s office said Thursday that General Counsel Dennis Murashko would not be among the staffers leaving amid a lingering controversy over the governor’s botched response to a racially-charged political cartoon.
However, the governor reversed course shortly thereafter, saying Murashko was, in fact, leaving state government at the end of the month to “pursue opportunities in the private sector.”
“One of the most talented and creative lawyers, Dennis has been my trusted senior adviser for almost three years, and I have always valued his good counsel,” Rauner said in a statement, wishing Murashko well.
However, the reason why he left both sooner than expected, and with an escort, has not yet been explained. News of his departure came shortly after four staffers on the governor’s communications team resigned in yet another high-profile staff shake-up.
Diana Rickert, Laurel Patrick, Meghan Keenan and Brittany Carl submitted their resignations Wednesday night, just hours after releasing a statement claiming “the governor – as a white male – does not have anything more to add to the discussion” on a controversial cartoon from the Illinois Policy Institute, the right-wing think tank Rauner used to fill key positions – including those of Rickert and Keenan – during a staff overhaul in July.
The governor’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Murashko’s early departure.
Deputy General Counsel Kenton Skarin will assume the role of Acting General Counsel, Rauner’s office said Thursday.