The Democratic candidate for Illinois state treasurer says his “reform agenda” includes a “treasurer employee bill of rights.” State Sen. Mike Frerichs (D-Champaign) held a news conference Tuesday in Springfield at which he spent more time bashing incumbent Republican Dan Rutherford than Frerichs’ ballot opponent, State Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego).
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Frerichs did point out Cross has praised Rutherford, despite the treasurer's missteps. Rutherford was one of three losing candidates in the Republican primary for governor and, Frerichs said, is ending his treasurer's term under a cloud. A former employee claims Rutherford made sexual advances. Rutherford has been accused of extensively mixing the treasurer's duties with his political aspirations; for example, promoting treasurer's programs in a city where he would also have a political fund-raiser. And a lawsuit alleges Rutherford, in addition to implying junior employees can sleep their way to success, forced employees to do political work on state time.
Rutherford, who finished fourth in the primary, denies the allegations. “He said it would clear his name,” Frerichs said of an investigation Rutherford now refuses to make public. “He spent a lot of taxpayer dollars putting that report together. I think it should be available for the taxpayers of the state of Illinois to see.” Frerichs says, among other things, he will not accept campaign donations from employees or their families.