Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's information technology chief has contracted to spend $208,000 in tax dollars for two professional memberships despite the budget crisis, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
Hardik Bhatt is Republican Rauner's $145,000-a-year secretary of the Department of Innovation and Technology. He has a $50,000 membership and $29,000 subscription to councils within the Virginia-based executive-assistance firm CEB Inc.
Democratic Comptroller Susana Mendoza has held up some payments, but the state is obligated to pay.
DoIT spokeswoman Jennifer Schultz says the groups provide guidance to corporations and states as Illinois tries to modernize "outdated" digital infrastructure.
Democratic State Rep. Fred Crespo, chairman of a House appropriations committee, says it is improper spending with the current two-year budget deadlock and cuts to human services and university spending.