Illinois GOP Official Bunked With Male Staffer Over 50 Times

We already know that Dan Rutherford, Illinois Treasurer and Republican candidate for governor, took his 28-year-old assistant on several overseas adventures and ���double-occupied��� hotel rooms on trips to New York and Washington. In fact, that was just a fraction of their time together.

According to reimbursement records obtained by the Chicago Tribune, Rutherford and his assistant, Joshua Lanning, spent over 50 nights together in a studio apartment in Chicago when Rutherford visited the city during political campaigns in 2011 and 2012. (On visits for state business, the men billed the state for a single hotel room.) When confronted by the Tribune, Rutherford defended the arrangement:

Asked who he shared a room with other than Lanning, Rutherford said, ���Well, I haven���t.���

Pressed on whether the practice raised questions about his judgment, Rutherford quickly responded, ���No.���

���There���s nothing wrong with being friends with employees,��� Rutherford said. ���I consider myself friends with many in the office.���

The details of Rutherford and Lanning���s lodging arrangements come two days after Edmund Michalowski, a 43-year-old Rutherford aide, sued the Treasurer over claims of sexual harassment. Michalowski���s lengthy complaint alleges that, after he told the Treasurer���s chief of staff, Kyle Ham, about their boss���s sexual advances, Ham tried to cheer him up by arguing that Lanning had it much, much worse:

Rutherford grabbed Plaintiff���s arm and asked Plaintiff to go up to his hotel room. Plaintiff refused. Rutherford became angry, stating ���you just said no to the Treasurer.��� Upon returning to Chicago, Plaintiff reported the incident to Ham. Ham told Plaintiff that he was ���not a team player.��� Ham also informed him that ���Josh Lanning has the worst job and you should feel lucky.���

Rutherford quickly denied the aide���s allegations, calling them ���false,��� ���untimely,��� and ���calculated.��� Lanning, on the other hand, has refused to comment to the Tribune and other outlets, including Gawker.

[Photo credit: Dan Rutherford���s Facebook page]