Election 2014
5:48 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

The Stain Of Corruption: Candidate Endorsements

William Cellini
William Cellini
Credit WBEZ

  Gov. Pat Quinn's campaign is blasting his Republican opponent, Bruce Rauner for getting endorsed by Springfield insider William Cellini. But Quinn has his own checkered endorsement history.

Cellini, a lifelong Republican, went to prison for his role in a campaign contribution shakedown scheme tied to the administration of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The Quinn campaign is criticizing Rauner for not doing enough to denounce Cellini, but when reporters asked him about it in the Capitol, Quinn said: "Well I don't want to get into politics here."

And then went on to talk for more than a minute, saying of Cellini, "he's now a convicted felon and I certainly don't want to have anything to do with him personally and I think anybody who aspires to this office should say clear of him, and make that crystal clear to the people of Illinois."

But leading up to the 2006 election, then Lt. Gov Quinn stood by Blagojevich, even though media reports had catalogued many allegations of corruption.

A reporter asked Quinn why the Rauner/Cellini situation is any different from his support of Blagojevich.

Again, Quinn said "I'm not going to get into any politics."

And this time, he meant it.

Cellini attended a Sangamon County Republican Foundation event on Tuesday night that featured Rauner as its keynote speaker; Cellini said that was his first time hearing Rauner, whom he called "impressive." That night, Rauner said he hadn't known Cellini was in attendance, and then said he couldn't comment further.