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Ryan wants GOP investigation into McKenna made public
By John Patterson | Senior State Government Editor

Jim Ryan

 

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Published: 1/28/2010 12:48 PM | Updated: 1/28/2010 5:58 PM

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SPRINGFIELD - Republican governor candidate Jim Ryan on Thursday called on party officials to make public all documents related to an investigation of former GOP Chairman Andy McKenna.

McKenna, who resigned the chairmanship last summer and then launched a bid for governor, came under scrutiny for including his own name in party polling on potential governor matchups. Questions about McKenna's conduct were first raised in October by the Daily Herald.

A recent investigation order by GOP leaders concluded McKenna broke the organization's ethical code. He apologized, and both the party and McKenna have since said they consider the matter closed. The state Republican Party has declined to turn over the investigators' report on McKenna.

Party Chairman Pat Brady said Thursday the report will remain under wraps, citing an agreement with McKenna that led to the joint statement earlier this month in which McKenna issued his apology. He said he was disappointed that someone had leaked the report to the media.

McKenna's campaign issued a statement from former state Attorney General and former Republican Party official Ty Fahner, who defended McKenna's ethics and criticized Ryan for personal attacks so late in the campaign.

"Andy McKenna was an ethical state party chairman, and he will be an ethical governor," Fahner said in the statement.

McKenna's polling practices came under new scrutiny after a downstate newspaper obtained the internal report which contained information more critical of McKenna than had previously come out.

The new documents reveal party officials concluded McKenna "compounded one ethical misstep with another" and a clear conflict of interest between McKenna's political aspirations and role as chairman.

All this comes as the six-candidate GOP field heads into the final days of the campaign, with several candidates separated by only a few percentage points according to recent media polling.

Ryan, a former state attorney general, said all such documents should be turned over so questions can be addressed now. "Let's not find out after Feb. 2 when it's too late," he said at a Chicago news conference.

Ryan challenged McKenna to "be a man. Step up and answer the questions."