By Derrick Blakley

(CBS) – The political feud is growing between Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and State Comptroller Susana Mendoza.

Rauner admits a top aide got paid out of the wrong state fund but blames the comptroller for planting the story.

CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley has more.

Deputy Gov. Leslie Munger’s $138,000 annual salary was being paid from state funds intended for health care – that is, until the Associated Press revealed it.

The revelation clearly ticked off Rauner.

“Comptroller Mendoza has been on a mission to create a crisis,” the Republican governor said Friday.

Rauner said the story about Munger’s pay is true.

“I believe it was an accounting error. Is that a story? Do errors occur in government? Believe me, there’s been a lot bigger errors than that over the last 40 years,” he said.

Democrats like state Rep. Greg Harris of Chicago believe it’s more than a simple mistake.

“What they’re doing is called ‘off-shoring.’ They are putting employees on other payrolls and then having them come work in the governor’s office,” Harris said.

Mendoza’s office denies feeding the AP the story on Munger’s pay.

“It’s getting hard to take him seriously when what he presents as fact has so little basis in reality,” she says.

Rauner charges Mendoza is conspiring with her fellow Democrats against him.

“I believe it’s part of a coordinated effort with the attorney general and with the (Illinois House) speaker to have the government have a crisis … to force a tax hike with no changes to our system,” the governor says.

It looks like Mendoza is getting under the governor’s skin. When asked about the Munger pay story, the governor gave several responses.

First, he said the story wasn’t true.

Later, he admitted it was true, but called it an administrative mistake.

Finally, he claimed switching funding for salaries is a common practice in government – which would mean it was no mistake at all.


Derrick Blakley