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IL Sec. of State candidates spar over relatives' hiring

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Sec. of State Jesse White (left) and Republican challenger Dan Rutherford

By Amanda Vinicky, IL Public Radio

Springfield, Ill. – Illinois' Secretary of State is downplaying his office employment of several of the secretary's relatives. But the Republican vying for his seat says that smells of nepotism.

Since Democrat Jesse White was elected in 1998, at least 4 relatives got jobs with the Secretary of State. His daughter was already working for the office, but promotions and raises she received after her father was elected tripled her salary to over $100,000.

Spokesman Dave Drucker says White finds nothing wrong with the situation: "His feeling is if people are qualified and have the ability to perform the job, then they shouldn't be discriminated against."

Drucker says the Republican candidate for Secretary of State is making an issue out of nothing. But Dan Rutherford of Pontiac says it's inappropriate, since it's White who decides which employees get raises.

"I don't know if it's illegal or not," Rutherford says. "But I'll tell you this much: It doesn't pass the smell test."

Rutherford, a state senator, says if elected Secretary of State, he would not allow any family members to work for the office.

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