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Still no response: How does the IL GOP decide how to spend Rauner’s millions in donations?


SPRINGFIELD – After two days, Illinois Republican Party spokesman Aaron DeGroot still has not answered questions about how the party determined where it directed millions of dollars over the past month donated by Governor Bruce Rauner.

The Cook County GOP received $25k from the IL GOP, as did the Lake County GOP and the Will County GOP, so Illinois Review reached out to Cook County GOP Chairman Sean Morrison.

Why was $25,000 given to the Cook Co GOP? we asked. "[It is] part of the platform designed by the state party," Morrison said in an email. "I understand it to be voting population-based for dollar values." 

What does the organization plan to use the funds for? we asked Morrison. "[That is] undetermined exactly as of yet," Morrison wrote, then went on to list "support for candidates, ballot challenges, etc."

Morrison said it was "unknown exactly" who decided that amount of dollars would go to the Cook Co GOP and elsewhere, but he believed voting populations were a part of that process. 

Morrison, who endorsed Rauner in 2014, was one of the first to criticize the governor for signing into law a measure that requires taxpayers to fund low income women's abortions. Morrison disinvited the governor from appearing at a local GOP picnic days after the signing. 

"The grant came from the IL GOP organization under the 2017/2018 election cycle plan," Morrison said. 

"This is what political parties do," Morrison said. 

But after checking several years back, the IL GOP has no record of writing such generous checks to local county organizations. Instead, the biggest checks were written for mailing postage, state org staff salaries and other related expenses.

It was only until Governor Rauner wrote two checks to the IL GOP in the amounts of $400,000 on November 10th and $4,000,000 on November 11th that the state party had funds to distribute in the amounts they have thus far. Rauner, with $65 M in his war chest, is being challenged in the March 20th Primary by State Rep. Jeanne Ives, who has raised $300,000 thus far. 

Will County GOP received $25,000 – and Crete Township Committeeman David E. Smith told Illinois Review that he hoped the Will County GOP would put the funds to good use. 

"I sincerely hope that the Will County GOP will use the resources from the IL GOP to help serious Republican candidates get elected to office — including Jeanne Ives as the best GOP candidate for governor," Smith said. 

Hmmm. Dollars donated by Bruce Rauner going through the IL GOP to the Will County GOP to support Rauner's opponent? That seems unlikely. 

Besides the thousands to the county groups, last month the IL GOP directed $1 M to the Republican Senate Campaign Committee and $4 M to the House Republican Organization. 

Illinois Review has submitted the questions once again to the IL GOP. We will share their answers as soon as they respond.


  1. Well, thanks, Stevie for answering the question for us all. Aren’t you curious who and how it is determined how the state party will use its funds? Shouldn’t the state central committee have something to say about how that money is spent?
    When 85% of the state delegates voted to uphold traditional marriage, and the 15% that are the IL GOP elitists pushed to abandon the traditional marriage concept, that told us all we needed to know.
    The IL GOP is yet another disgusting and crippling swamp that needs to be drained. The state central committee are the ones that should have more of a voice than the IL GOP staff or the Rauner campaign. The conservative party base will have its final say.

  2. Sounds like the very thing that Hillary Clinton did to rig the Democrat Party’s primary against Bernie Sanders. Have clout, have $$, and the party faithful will fall into line.
    I agree – drain the swamp. Rep. David McSweeney it right – Chairman Schneider should resign.

  3. Someone wrote before that it rewards loyalists, not merit. So, money winds up in lots of races where there isn’t even a chance, but never gets to where there are actually winnable races because there are no loyalists there. Interesting strategy for changing anything.

  4. Just another reason to abandon the Illinois Republican Party and declare yourself an independent conservative.
    That means not even consider voting for Rauner or any of the leftists (who call themselves “moderate Republicans.”)
    How many of them will have an electoral snowball’s chance in hell if 20% or more of former Republicans stop the act of knee jerk support for anyone with an R behind their name?
    And if the leftist Democrats tighten their iron grip on Illinois government, who really cares anymore?
    The me-too Republicans all can do what they want, but not in my name.

  5. The State GOP gives money to whoever Bruce Rauner tells them to. It’s the Rauner Party, not the “Republican” Party in Illinois. As Diane Rauner says, “It’s Bruce Rauner, first, last, and always”

  6. “When 85% of the state delegates voted to uphold traditional marriage, and the 15% that are the IL GOP elitists pushed to abandon the traditional marriage concept, that told us all we needed to know.”
    See, I remember it differently. I remember it as, “Since Gay Marriage is legal now, we should update the platform to reflect that and most voters are okay with it.”
    Then the other delegates got mad, threw a fit, and shouted down all the speakers in support of the change, and gave no real reason as to why we should keep the 2012 language. Then we get called “gender bending democrats” because we had a different opinion.
    One that reflects the current legal and popular context in America.

  7. What a silly piece, IR. What sane political organization opens their books and campaign plans to public view? I’m sure if any of the crows in these comments had any history of significant giving to the state party, the state party would be more than willing to sit down with them and make a presentation of its plans. What silliness that someone would expect a political organization to make its spending plans public to folks who aren’t even contributors!

  8. Such silliness that Good grief thinks the Republican rank and file should know how their party officials make decisions about how $$ are being spent. Evidently Good grief doesn’t appreciate volunteers, unpaid door knocking work – and why would he (or she)? Let me guess – Good grief is either a Republican with a govt job or a paid staffer of the IL GOP.
    Isn’t there any transparency among Republicans and their political party?
    What a shame – so Democrat.

  9. When is the last time you or any other volunteer knocked on doors for the state party? That’s the purview of local organizations and candidate campaigns. The state party may connect volunteers and local organizations/campaigns, but doesn’t undertake those efforts itself. By your logic, does a campaign volunteer have a right to see a campaign’s sensitive plans? Of course not. Get a clue.

  10. And there you have it, folks – the IL GOP doesn’t care what you think, what you support or what you are passionate about. It doesn’t want to hear from us rank and file because what we think doesn’t matter.
    We are too stupid to know what we would like our party to reflect and promote. Let’s see – it’s pretty clear that’s coming directly from the Rauner Party staffers – and reflects the tone of Bruce – or more IMPORTANTLY DIANA – who have bought and paid for the party as a whole, and expect you and me to shut up and do what we’re told.
    Just ask Good grief.

  11. The members of the Republican State Central Committee needs to be selected by Republican primary voters once again. The grandstand move by former Governor Thompson to deny the voters an opportunity to choose state central committeemen needs to be undone.

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