Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner is distancing himself from the resignation of longtime Chicago Sun-Times Springfield reporter Dave McKinney. McKinney quit Wednesday, blaming the Rauner campaign for "intimidation and interference" in his reporting.
Earlier this month, the Sun-Times published a story detailing allegations of Rauner's former associate, who said Rauner threatened her and her family after a soured business deal.
In a letter to the chair of the Sun-Times' board, McKinney says Rauner's campaign tried to kill the story before it went to print, but didn't succeed.
But the campaign kept complaining, and alleged McKinney's marriage to a Democratic consultant made for a conflict of interest, though McKinney says his wife focuses on out-of-state campaigns.
After being temporarily suspended, McKinney says he resigned because the protections between journalists and management had eroded.
Rauner says he's not involved.
"I don't know, I don't know all the issues in that. I've had no involvement with that. Our campaign expressed concern with an article we thought was extremely misleading and badly done but that goes on with media outlets all the time, there's nothing unusual about that," Rauner said.
Rauner's campaign failed to stop the story, but the campaign alleged McKinney had a conflict of interest because his wife is a Democratic political consultant.
McKinney says his wife works on out-of-state campaigns, and had taken special precaution to avoid any involvement in the race for governor.
Rauner's campaign wished McKinney well, and the candidate says the campaign did nothing wrong.
"I know that our campaign staff was very upset and talked with reporters and I believe editors at the Sun-Times about that particular article but that's part of the standard process, went through the proper channels. It sounds like the Sun-Times has internal management issues and I have no interest getting in the middle of that, that has nothing to do with our campaign," he said.
Rauner had been a part-owner of the Sun-Times' parent company until he sold his stake last year. After three years of not endorsing candidates, the paper's editorial board endorsed Rauner on Sunday.
Rauner sold his stake in the paper last year. The Sun-Times endorsed Rauner after a three-year endorsement hiatus.