Rauner OK with aide campaigning during Legionnaires’ crisis

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner is unconcerned that his Public Health Department’s chief of staff took a 2016 leave of absence for political campaigning while the Quincy veterans home battled Legionnaires’ disease.

The Republican told reporters in East Peoria Wednesday that the home recorded no Legionnaires’ cases during Erik Rayman’s absence. The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Rayman took unpaid leave in October and November 2016 to work on Republican House campaigns.

Rauner said that at the time, “There hadn’t been any cases in quite a while.”

Democratic Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Cullerton criticized the administration’s priorities.

Legionnaires’ has claimed 13 residents’ lives since 2015. Three cases were diagnosed two months before Rayman’s departure. The disease returned in 2017 and four new cases were confirmed last month.