Gov. Bruce Rauner fired several key staffers Wednesday night who were hired only six weeks ago, multiple sources tell NBC 5. 

The shakeup comes after a lingering controversy over a political cartoon from the Illinois Policy Institute, the right wing think tank Rauner has turned to in his staffer overhaul.

Some reports say Rauner’s chief of staff, Kristina Rasmussen, may be out, but are still not confirmed. Sources tell NBC 5 perhaps Rauner’s entire communications team and his general counsel are all out.

Sources confirmed Michael Lucci, Rauner’s deputy chief of staff for policy, Diana Rickert, Laurel Patric and Britany Carl, who once compared abortion to Nazi eugenics in a controversial blog post, were all out.

Lucci, Rickert, Carl were fired, sources said, while Patrick resigned.

It’s believed Rickert wrote the vexing “white male” press release from Tuesday and Patrick sent it out. Former staffers say Rasmussen would have signed off on it. 

Attempts to reach the Rauner team have been unsuccessful. Whether all were fired or quit is not clear.

Rasmussen and several other staffers came to the governor’s office from the Illinois Policy Institute.

Rauner had been out of town for several days this week, taking his daughter to college, and the staff released a press release on the cartoon many lawmakers labelled racist.

Among the comments from the Rauner team was “as a white male” he would no longer comment on the controversy.

Rauner later released another statement saying the previous one “did not accurately reflect my views.”

Some speculate that perhaps some of the former Illinois Policy Institute staffers left on their own, upset that Rauner plans to sign an Immigration bill on Monday that conservatives oppose.

Published at 9:13 PM CDT on Aug 23, 2017 | Updated at 11:12 PM CDT on Aug 23, 2017

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