IL State Treasurer Shared Hotel Rooms With His Male Assistant “As A Cost-Savings Measure”

Dan Rutherford Joshua LanningThe Illinois State Treasurer, who is also a candidate for the GOP nomination for governor, says that he shared hotel rooms on overnight trips with his low-level assistant in order to save the state money.

Dan Rutherford defended himself against questions about his workplace judgment in bunk with his executive assistant, Joshua Lanning, at hotels and a Chicago apartment “totally as a cost-saving measure.”

The problem for Rutherford is that the news of his sleeping arrangements were preceded by a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by another man who formerly worked for him. Edmund Michalowski alleged that Rutherford was “hitting on” him during his stint in the treasurer’s office.

The lawsuit details one alleged episode in which traveled to Rutherford’s home for an “overnight retreat” with other staffers to discuss political issues only to find he was the only staffer in attendance. When he retired to a guest bedroom, the suit claims in legalese, Rutherford “entered Plaintiff’s bedroom and grabbed at Plaintiff’s genital area. Plaintiff immediately forced Rutherford off him, Plaintiff gathered his belongings and left.”

Rutherford vigorously denies the charges, and the treasurer’s office notes that the travel voucher that Michalowski filled out for the trip does not match up with the times he describes in the lawsuit. Michalowski says that he knowingly put the wrong time on the voucher because he was embarrassed about the episode and because Rutherford told him not to expense the trip to the state because it was about a political matter.

Also raising eyebrows is Joshua Lanning’s rapid rise in Rutherford’s office. His salary has increased 50 percent in the four years since he started working for Rutherford, who says that the increase reflects additional responsibilities that Lanning, 28, has taken on over the years. Records show that in addition to hotel stays, Rutherford and Lanning showed overnight stays in a Chicago studio apartment of a friend of Rutherford’s. In addition, Lanning accompanied Rutherford on a personal trip to Australia to visit Rutherford’s nephew. Rutherford says that Lanning is a friend of his nephew.

“There’s nothing wrong with being friends with employees,” Rutherford said as justification for his traveling arrangements. “I consider myself friends with many in the office.”

One point in Rutherford’s favor, in the face of all the allegations, is that he isn’t the kind of hypocrite prone to these revelations. Unlike a certain downstate Congressman, Rutherford has actually been a staunch supporter of LGBT issues, with the exception of marriage equality. That said, at a minimum he could use a refresher on workplace behavior.

Photo credit: Dan Rutherford’s Facebook page

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  • KittyLitter

    75% for outing him 25% for leaving him alone.
    His “assistant” is so obviously gay.

  • SteveDenver

    Poor conservatives, they’re so trapped by the society of bigotry and fear that rules their ranks.

    “Also raising eyebrows is Joshua Lanning’s rapid rise in Rutherford’s office.”

  • litper

    gay republicans = lowest kind of scum

  • tricky ricky

    I bet the assistant takes great dicktation

  • tricky ricky

    they do make a cute couple.

  • balehead

    If he’s a supporter of LGBT rights… I say leave him alone…shaming him is just bullying too…

  • Geoff B

    “With the exception of marriage equality”? Wrong. He was the only GOP senator to vote for marriage equality. Just talked to an “in the know” GOP guy tonight at my bar. From what he said, this allegation is BS.

  • litper

    @balehead: he’s republican. More republicans in the office = more Kansas, Indiana

  • Geoff B

    @litper: i get why you would say that (trust me), but in this case, it’s not correct. Rutherford was a state senator when SSM came up. He was the only Republican to vote for us. I’m guessing as robirob pointed out, this is a smear campaign by a primary opponent. The guy I talked to today mentioned the very opponent. I don’t know if it’s true, but I manage a bar very close to the Capitol and know a lot of state politicians and power players and overhear a lot of conversations. Like I said, I don’t know what’s true or not, but I wouldn’t bet against what robirob said being true. Also, SSM wouldn’t have passed in Illinois if not for a brave handful of Repubs in the House voting for us. A straight Dem vote would have done it, but some of the Southern Dems and a few of the Black Caucus didn’t have our back. If not for some Il Repubs, we still would be waiting for equality. I get why we like to paint Repubs with the same brushstroke, but we need toacknowlege those who will go out on a limb to do what’s right and need to go after the Dems who are turncoats (Sen. Mary Flowers especially for those who might help unseat her).

  • Geoff B

    @robirob: I heard the exact same thing tonight from a well known Rebub supporter first hand. Plus the fact that the suit was filed in Cook County is a huge red flag (Quinn won in 2010 by only winning 2 of 102 counties and Cook was one of them. Cook has a population of about half the state, cut them out, and Il is redder than rural Texas). I can’t vote in Il primaries because I refuse to declare a party, but I am considering registering Repub just so I can vote for Rutherford.

  • Geoff B

    Never mind. He was the one senator that voted for civil unions. My bad.

  • sportyguy1983

    I could care less that he is gay, bisexual, asexual, etc… I care that he may have committed a crime. And FYI, straight men can sexually assault and harass gay and straight males. This has nothing to do with sexual preference but about with power (much like rape). He probably is gay, but who cares.

  • viveutvivas

    Cute assistant.

  • BrokebackBob

    100% for outing him and his little buddy. He is a high-level official in government. Cost-saving my butthole. 50% rise in salary?? I’ll bet some dicks rose 50% more too. Rutherford just found a stooge that wouldn’t bring charges and has a Daddy complex. Ugh. Ewww.

  • seaguy

    He had to have knows that submitting travel requests and reimbursement requests like that would have others questioning. I have worked in state govt and records are always being requested by individuals or groups often in a quest to dig up dirt on those in govt who’s views they oppose. So if he wanted this to remain private he screwed up big time.

    At least the assistant is cute.

  • Respect4all

    Sharing a room to save the state money sounds like fiscal responsibility. Did they also shower together to save water? Good environmental policy!

Comments are closed.