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]