(Springfield, IL) – April 27, 2010. Democratic nominee for Illinois State Treasurer Robin Kelly today called on Republican opponent State Senator Dan Rutherford (R-Chenoa) to give back political campaign contributions from a Goldman Sachs executive in wake of the fraud scandal that has rocked the Wall Street firm.
Rutherford has accepted $75,000 in campaign donations from Muneer Satter, a managing director of the firm’s private equity investments.
Goldman is accused of defrauding investors of more than $1 billion.
“The greedy ways of this elite Wall Street behemoth led to our financial crisis and double-digit unemployment while executives lined their pockets with outrageous bonuses, thanks to taxpayer-funded bailout money,” Kelly said.
“I’m calling on my opponent to donate this dirty money to charity and vow not to accept it in the future.”
Rutherford is refusing to return the money, arguing the Illinois Senate has oversight over Goldman and that the money is a personal not a Goldman PAC contribution.
In a statement, Rutherford said:
It appears as though Robin Kelly is taking a page out of her bosses play book, she is the Chief of Staff for the current Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.
The campaign contributions I have received are from an individual, not the Goldman PAC.
Alexi’s Chief of staff should know that the Illinois Senate has no financial oversight of Goldman. She is running to replace her boss for a state office, not a federal. My campaign Committee will not be returning the personal contributions.
Kelly is asking that Rutherford follow the lead of GOP Congressman Mark Kirk who just last week announced that he would return the money he received from Goldman employees.
Specifically, Kirk said he would give back his Senate campaign contributions, stating: “I want to set an example of ethics for others to follow.”
“After all the pay-to-play abuses by Illinois politicians in recent years, we cannot risk electing a Treasurer who will be beholden to firms that accepted federal bailouts and fought against financial reform and hardworking Americans,” Kelly said.
Rutherford is likely on the right side of the underlying substantive merits of the issue, however, he will likely be on wrong side of the politics of the issue.
Public anger at government and Wall Street over the financial crisis, which has fueled the rise of the Tea Party movement, is these days mollified little by underlying substantive merit but driven by raw, white unreasoned anger.
Rutherford is in a difficult spot on this issue.