Rauner's former general counsel breaks silence after abrupt departure
A former Rauner administration official broke his silence Friday about why he abruptly left his post in August 2017.
Former General Counsel Dennis Murashko was one of five Rauner officials to resign in a one-week span.
Friday, Murashko released the following statement:
Today, the Office of the Executive Inspector General notified me that the Office has concluded the investigation into the false, malicious, and defamatory complaint against me. The case has been closed as unfounded.
That's the technical term.
In layman's terms, the complaint has always been a lie. It was filed anonymously. The OEIG has given me no indication who is behind the complaint, which is as it should be. But the complaint, at least a copy I was shown by the press, is dated July 19, 2017, merely a week following tumultuous staffing changes in the Governor's Office. As has been reported, unnamed former staffers and their associates wrongly believed that I was responsible for the Governor’s decision to replace the Chief of Staff on July 10, 2017. I don't think the timing of the complaint is coincidental.
I had learned about the complaint when a reporter contacted me in the late evening hours of August 24, 2017. That was after the Governor's Office had already announced I would be leaving. Indeed, I had submitted my letter of resignation on August 23 but was asked to stay through August 31 and help with a smooth transition.
On August 25, however, I was abruptly escorted out of the Thompson Center, moments after I had advised the Chief of Staff and Deputy General Counsel about the August 24 phone call in which I learned about the alleged OEIG complaint. There was no explanation given for shutting off my access and escorting me out. As I recall, the Office of the Governor did not have a policy to immediately terminate, suspend, or put on leave a staff member, no matter how senior, who is the subject of an OEIG complaint.
Why staff members decided to have me escorted out a week ahead of the scheduled departure I don't know. What I do know is, because of their actions, there's been this false link between the OEIG complaint and my resignation.
I am glad I can finally clear things up and state unequivocally that my resignation had zero to do with that baseless complaint.
Why I resigned has been the subject of much speculation, some of it pointing to my August 21, 2017 memo outlining sensible guidelines for the interactions between the Governor’s official and political offices. Governor Rauner said publicly that he had urged me to create the memo. I will just say this: The memo was necessary, and to this day, I stand by it 100%. I provided the memo to the staff and then resigned. If I were to do it all over, I would do the same thing.
It is now time for me to move on. I look forward to building my new business. And while the brand of politics that has led to the above is definitely not for me, I still cannot help but be immensely grateful for the amazing opportunity to serve our State. I became better for it. And in the long run, the rest just doesn't matter.
The other four members that stepped down from Rauner's administration in August 2017 were members of his communications team, including his director and deputy director of communications.
Their resignation was tendered just days after his former spokesperson, Laurel Patrick, offered comments on a controversial cartoon from the Illinois Policy Institute.