Hillary Clinton slammed Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, the former chairman of the private equity firm GTCR, as a throwback to the “robber barons…of the 19th century” during a populist-themed campaign speech in Chicago on Wednesday.
But it was Clinton who dipped into that robber baron dough in June 2014 when she accepted a $280,000 payment to speak at a GTCR event hosted in Chicago.
As with the rest of Clinton’s paid speeches, the Democratic presidential candidate has not released a transcript of her remarks during that event. But whatever she said that day is unlikely to have matched the populist tone she attempted to strike in Wednesday’s speech.
“Your governor has refused to start budget negotiations unless his so-called turn-around agenda gets passed first,” Clinton said. “His plan would turn Illinois around alright. All the way back to the time of the robber barons at the end of the 19th century.”
Rauner, who retired from GTCR in 2012 before being elected governor in 2014, is putting pressure on state lawmakers in an effort to cut into Illinois’ $6.6 billion budget deficit. But his proposal appears centrist. While he’s called for cuts to pension payouts and a reduction in health benefits to state workers, Rauner has not ruled out raising the state income tax rate.
Clinton’s jab at Rauner as a robber baron is “quite ironic, coming from someone who cashed a $280,000 check for a paid speech to GTCR less than two years [ago],” Rauner spokesman Lance Trover told The Chicago Tribune.
Though Rauner retired from GTCR before running for governor, he remained an investor in the private equity firm, which specializes in leveraged buyouts and corporate turnarounds.