UPDATED – Report: Gov. Rauner fires staff he hired just weeks ago

Gov. Bruce Rauner

SPRINGFIELD — State media outlets have reported that Gov. Bruce Rauner has fired top staff he hired just weeks ago.

From NBC5 Chicago:

The shakeup comes after a lingering controversy over a political cartoon from the Illinois Policy Institute, the right wing think tank Rauner has turned to in his staffer overhaul.

While two sources told NBC 5 that Kristina Rasmussen was out as chief of staff, the word now is she is still there — but may not survive the day.

Sources tell NBC 5 perhaps Rauner’s entire communications team and his general counsel are all out.

Sources confirmed Michael Lucci, Rauner’s deputy chief of staff for policy, Diana Rickert, Laurel Patrick and Britany Carl, who once compared abortion to Nazi eugenics in a controversial blog post, were all out.

Lucci, Rickert, Carl were fired, sources said, while Patrick resigned.

Rauner hired staff from the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) after the General Assembly overrode his budget veto earlier this summer. The IPI is known for it’s far-right legal and media activism.

UPDATE:

Rauner told the State Journal-Register of Springfield that he had not signed off on the statements in response to the cartoon.

From the State Journal-Register:

“The communications effort is incredibly hard because we have attacks, political attacks coming 20 times a day. We have social media attacks coming 100 times a day. We have false rumors planted that have to be dealt with,” he said at a pension-related bill signing in suburban Chicago. “Getting people who can do it well and are willing to do on this scale it’s a challenge … Sometimes other things get in the way. Other loyalties get in the way.”

Rauner didn’t elaborate.

The newspaper said that the resignations raise questions about Rauners links to the IPI, which runs a statewide media service and legal arm, which has challenged Illinois’ same-day voter registration law in court.

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