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Smarmie Doofus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 09:56 AM
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Bloomberg Campaign Manager Was Aide to Embattled Illinois Governor
Edited on Wed Dec-10-08 09:58 AM by PaulHo
Lest this slip by unnoticed:

Bloomberg Campaign Manager Was Aide to Embattled Illinois Governor

Published: December 9, 2008

The campaign manager for Mayor Michael R. Bloombergs re-election effort is a former top deputy and trusted adviser to Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois, who was arrested on Tuesday amid a sweeping corruption scandal.
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Associated Press, 2003

Bradley Tusk served as a deputy to the governor of Illinois.

But weeks ago, the adviser, Bradley Tusk, told aides to Mr. Bloomberg that he had not been involved in any improper behavior in Mr. Blagojevichs administration, a person who was told of the conversations said.

When asked about Mr. Tusk on Tuesday evening, Mr. Bloomberg said, Bradley is an honest, hard-working, competent guy, who, he added, never had anything to do with parts of that administration.

Mr. Tusk, 35, served as a deputy governor to Mr. Blagojevich from 2003 until late 2006, and was described by colleagues as the governors tenacious right-hand man, with vast responsibilities over the budget, legislative affairs and communications.

Mr. Tusk was not named in the criminal complaint filed against Mr. Blagojevich and a top aide, nor has he been mentioned as a subject or a witness in the investigation. He did not respond to telephone calls seeking comment.

Long before Governor Blagojevich was arrested, during Mr. Tusks discussions with Bloomberg aides over his role in the Bloomberg campaign, Mr. Tusk brought up the issue of the federal investigation, saying he had no role in any activities that were being studied by the authorities, the person told of the conversations said.

He was the one that brought it up with us to make sure we were aware of the issues, Mr. Bloomberg said.

Mr. Bloomberg, a self-described reformer, prides himself on running a squeaky-clean administration that remains, even after seven years, largely scandal-free.

Stefan Friedman, a political adviser to the mayor who works at the consulting firm Knickerbocker SKD, said of Mr. Tusk, Mike Bloomberg has the highest confidence in his integrity and is pleased to welcome him back on the team.

Mr. Tusk worked for Lehman Brothers after leaving the Blagojevich administration, urging states to have the bank operate their public lotteries. He was quietly installed as campaign manager over the last few weeks, after Mr. Bloomberg successfully rewrote the citys term limits laws to allow him to seek re-election.

During Mr. Bloombergs first term, Mr. Tusk worked briefly for him as a special assistant, and won the support of Mr. Bloombergs top aides especially the deputy mayors Edward Skyler, a close friend, and Kevin Sheekey, who ran the mayors two previous campaigns.

He also worked for a time for Senator Charles E. Schumer.

Mr. Tusk left City Hall in 2003 for Illinois, where he gained a reputation as a quick-minded policy wonk and fierce protector of Mr. Blagojevichs image, even as concerns about the governors conduct grew.

Mr. Tusk, then a 31-year-old outsider, took Illinoiss political world by storm. He had a major post with enormous authority, and quickly gained the trust of Mr. Blagojevich, who called him a superstar and an integral part of my administration.

Lawmakers said that Mr. Tusk, a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, seemed to shape every major decision by the new administration, like a proposal to eliminate the state board of education.

Illinois lawmakers, who worked closely with Mr. Tusk, said they found him to be a formidable talent but a sometimes brusque figure whose role exceeded his experience and familiarity with Illinois government.

He was a major player, said State Senator Kirk Dillard, who described Mr. Tusk as a zealous, junkyard-dog protector of the governor.

Jay Stewart, executive director of the Better Government Association, a Chicago watchdog group, said that Mr. Tusk was viewed as a hired gun who was there to enforce the governors agenda. He said Mr. Tusk was smart, but he was there to be the bad cop.

Those close to the Bloomberg administration said that Mr. Tusks fierce loyalty and 24-hour work ethic made him an attractive choice to run the campaign.
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