COUNTRYSIDE - The union money has begun to flow in an attempt to undermine GOP gubernatorial primary candidate Bruce Rauner's bid for governor. The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 turned on their dues-funded spigot January 2, 2014 with a check for $45,000 to the anti-Rauner PAC that Peoria-based politico Steven Shearer recently setup.
Naming the committee the Republican Fund for Progress and Jobs is a scoff at an out-of-state 527 called Jobs & Progress that ran an ad attacking Congressman Aaron Schock in his home district. At the time, Shearer, who was also Schock's chief of staff, pointed to Bruce Rauner as the project's key funder. Rauner denied affiliation, but Shearer insisted Rauner funded the effort to cool any aspirations Schock may have had to run for governor in 2014.
Shearer is reaching out to unions to fund an all out media attack on Rauner's gubernatorial primary bid. One of the first contributors to Shearer's effort is the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, which wrote a check for $45,000 January 2:
The union's president James Sweeney is also chairman of the Chicago Land Operators Joint Labor-Management PAC, which uses the same 6200 Joliet Road, Countryside IL address in ISBE records. As Illinois Review reported over the weekend, Sweeney's PAC appears to be hedging their bets by writing checks to Republican lawmakers in fairly secure districts.
Funding Republicans that are likely to be re-elected may be the PAC's attempt to ensure that few would support any right-to-work legislation Rauner might consider if he were to emerge as a winner in 2014.