Monday, September 12, 2005

Rauschenberger: We need more ethical pols, fewer ethics laws; Won’t raise taxes.

Tonight’s City of Chicago edition of “Public Affairs,” features Steve Rauschenberger, State Senator [R-Elgin] and Republican Primary Gubernatorial Candidate. The show airs throughout the City of Chicago [in the regular “Public Affairs,” City of Chicago time slot] tonight at 8:30 pm on CANTV, Cable Ch. 21. Rauschenberger is currently in a Republican Guv primary contest with three other “announced candidates,” and four others who are thinking it over.

Round 2 with Guv candidate Rauschenberger airs on the suburban edition of Public Affairs this week [Week of Sep. 12] and throughout the City of Chicago next Monday night, Sep. 19 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21 [CANTV].
[See here]for more information about the Republican Gubernatorial Primary, the general election, candidate Rauschenberger and links to posts about Rauschenberger, the other Guv Candidates and assessments about the Gubernatorial Candidates.
A partial transcript of tonight’s show is included, below.
Steve Rauschenberger, State Senator and Republican Primary Gubernatorial Candidate :I have no intention of raising general taxes. We have enough revenue in state government—

Berkowitz: Over four years, you have no intention [to raise the income tax or sales tax], if you are elected Governor, for four years

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: Yes, I don’t want to raise taxes.

Berkowitz: Over that four year period?

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: Right.

Berkowitz: You don’t want to. You have no intention to. Is that right?

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: And, we don’t need to.

Berkowitz: And, we don’t need to but you won’t tell the voters—forget signing any group [’s pledge]—you won’t tell the voters and say “I unequivocally will not do that, will not raise taxes.”

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: I will not raise taxes when I am Governor.

Berkowitz: How about that [He pledged not to raise taxes].

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: Yeah, well, I mean that’s different, though, than signing FTN’s [Family Taxpayer Network] pledge

Berkowitz: Well, you just signed it here. It’s on the tape.

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: [Laughter]

Berkowitz: Well…could you possibly have an epiphany and go to the voters in two years and say, I decided to raise your taxes…could you do that? Could you propose a tax increase in three years, say you had an epiphany?

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: Well, one of the problems with pledges is what happens if there is a, you know, I mean, there are circumstances that can change. I mean, you know, I have been in office thirteen years—I have seen pledges now for thirteen years. Illinois does not have a revenue problem. Okay. As long as the experience of the State of Illinois is similar to what it has been for the last two decades—what we have is a growth problem in the State of Illinois.

Berkowitz: So, if circumstances don’t change, you are telling the voters you won’t raise taxes, but if they do, you possibly could support such an increase?

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: No, No. I just said I can’t imagine any circumstance that requires [an increase in taxes].
Jeff Berkowitz: Ethics. You know-- campaign finance. You talked about this Governor having 15 million dollars [in his campaign fund]. You said he may have 30 million dollars come the time of the election but yet you spurned any notion of campaign finance reform in terms of placing limits on contributions

State Senator Steve Rauschenberger [R-Elgin] and Republican Primary Gubernatorial Candidate: Because they don’t work.

Berkowitz: You don’t even want to limit contractors who do business with the state from giving money to the Governor. You say you don’t want to do that.

Senator Steve Rauschenberger: No.

Berkowitz: And so you say we should just have ethical people there, but no new ethics legislation. Did I get that right?

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: You got that absolutely right. The last five ethics laws that we have passed have not done a thing to prevent the organized crime in this Administration. The Rezkoes and the Panda Express—

Berkowitz: Organized Crime?

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: Yes.

Berkowitz: Go ahead, Who else? Rezko and—

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: Rezko and the Panda Express and the kind of things that are taking place in this Governor’s office where people are lining up at the Field Museum to pass him 5 to 15 to 25 thousand dollar checks. So, all the ethics legislation you can pile high on a desk. Ethical—ethical people-- are what you need in state government and you need zero tolerance for corruption and crooks. I mean, is there any question that this Governor has raised more money in two and one half years. He has raised more money in two and one half years than Jim Edgar did I think in the entire eight years he was in office [1991-98].

Berkowitz: But, isn’t that all—at least raising money, as far as I know, that’s all been done legally, right?

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: Well, we’ll find out.

Berkowitz: You’re not sure. Because you have said …you have been quoted as saying that the Governor [Blagojevich] is corrupt. Would you say that as well on this show?

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: This governor’s administration is corrupt.

Berkowitz: Okay, so you are saying the administration?

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: And, I think this Governor--

Berkowitz: Okay, Go ahead

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: It is just like the Mayor Daley question. What did Mayor Daley know and when? But, I mean-- the pattern of corruption in this administration—the fundraising and the connected contractors—the appointments to commissions that turn into federal investigations. Is there any question in your mind whether this is a corrupt administration?

Berkowitz: But you are retracting--

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: The leader of this Administration is Rod Blagojevich.

Berkowitz: But you are retracting the statement you made previously that Governor Rod Blagojevich is corrupt.

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: I am not a prosecutor. If I said it, I mean it in the sense that he is the Governor of the Administration. I don’t know what Rod Blagojevich] knows and I don’t want to dance on the head of a pin. But, this administration, by all evidence, is one of the most corrupt administrations we have ever seen.

Berkowitz: How would you finance your next campaign if you won [this one]? What would you do differently [from Gov. Blagojevich]? Would you tell people who are doing business [with the state]-- You said you wouldn’t tell those people they can’t give you money. You wouldn’t say they can’t—You could be at the Field Museum like the Governor, saying “I’d like $10,000.” Would you take those checks?

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: I could be there tomorrow.

Berkowitz: Would you reject those checks if they gave you $10,000?

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: It’s not the checks that are corrupt. It’s the administration that is corrupt. If you try to pretend that the guy giving you a check makes you corrupt, then you are wrong.

Berkowitz: Well, what is it then? When you say the Administration, what is it that the Governor is doing that is corrupt? If you are saying that.

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: The people—He’s doing quid pro quos. I mean Rezko raises all the money, then Rezko gets an exclusive contract to put Panda Expresses in every toll road overpass in the State of Illinois. I mean, you take a look at the connections. Stew Levine gives him money—then suddenly ends up running the Health Facilities Planning Board. Stew Levine gave to [former Republican Attorney General and 2002 Guv Candidate] Jim Ryan and [he] gave to [Democrat Governor] Rod Blagojevich.

Berkowitz: Wasn’t he appointed to the Illinois Health Facilities Board by--- He was appointed there by the former Governor, wasn’t he?

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: I don’t know. I thought it was by Rod Blagojevich.

Berkowitz: He was re-appointed by Rod Blagojevich.

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: Well, then—

Berkowitz: Wasn’t he there before [Rod Blagojevich became Governor] ?

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: I don’t know.

Berkowitz: But he [Stew Levine] has held various positions and was appointed to things by Republican Governors. And now this Governor re-appointed him. Shouldn’t some of that blame [for appointing him] go to prior Governors.

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: Again, I don’t care who the crook is. You know, I have not defended George Ryan [ the former Republican Governor, going on trial in Federal Court next week for alleged RICO violations]…You know, it’s not the guy at the Field Museum. It’s not the businessman being shaken down for the contribution that we ought to be worried about. We ought to be worried about the character of the people we put into office. We ought to have zero tolerance. I mean…how many federal investigations do we have to have around the Mayor of Chicago until someone says “it’s time that [Mayor] Richie Daley steps down.

Berkowitz: All right. Well, we are going to have Senator Rauschenberger back next week. Right?

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger: I’d love to come back. We’ll continue this.
Steve Rauschenberger, State Senator and Republican Primary Guv Candidate, recorded on August 28, 2005 and as it aired on the City of Chicago edition of Public Affairs, Monday, September 12 at 8:30 pm on CANTV, Cable Ch. 21.

Round 2 with Guv candidate Rauschenberger airs on the suburban edition of "Public Affairs," this week [Week of Sep. 12] and throughout the City of Chicago next Monday night, Sep. 19 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21 [CANTV].
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at