Rahm wins in a landslide — among Illinois’ billionaires

Rahm Emanuel is the preferred candidate of 65% of Illinois’ billionaires, according to campaign finance records. Of the 20 billionaires in Illinois, 13 have donated more than $2.3 million in support of Emanuel during the past 4 1/2 years.

Rahm Emanuel’s campaign fund Chicago for Rahm received $1,214,632 from the 13 billionaires, while another $1,150,000 was donated to Chicago Forward, a political action committee supporting Emanuel. On average, each of these billionaire donors gave nearly $182,000 to Emanuel.

None of the 20 billionaires have donated to Chuy Garcia’s campaign.

Earlier this month Forbes released its annual list of the world’s billionaires. There are now 1,826 billionaires worldwide, with a total of 536 in the United States. Forbes lists 18 billionaires from Illinois. Two Illinoisans, brothers Christopher and Jude Reyes, were considered by Forbes to have moved to Florida, but they are continuing to list Illinois as their residence for campaign finance disclosures, so they are included here, bringing the list to a total of 20 billionaires.

They range from Ken Griffin, CEO of Citadel Investment Group (#216  worldwide with a net worth of $6.5 billion), to the state’s newest billionaire Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox (#1415, net worth $1.3 billion).

Ken Griffin is Illinois’ richest person and is also Rahm Emanuel’s largest donor. The hedge fund owner has given $430,300 to Chicago for Rahm and $850,000 to Chicago Forward for a total of $1,280,300. Griffin is a prolific political donor, primarily to Republican candidates. He has given more than $13 million to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s campaign fund, making him also Rauner’s largest donor, outside of Rauner himself.

While Emanuel is the overwhelming favorite of the billionaires, there is one group that has been stingier with their political pocketbooks: the members of the Pritzker family. Six Pritzkers are on the list of billionaires, but only two of them have contributed to Emanuel. Jay Robert (J.B.) Pritzker has given a total of $157,000 to Chicago for Rahm, while Nicholas Pritzker has given $33,332. Gigi, Jennifer, Penny and Thomas Pritzker have not donated to Emanuel. Penny Pritzker currently serves as U.S. Commerce Secretary and was appointed by Emanuel to the Chicago Board of Education, while her husband, Bryan Traubert, is the President of the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners.

So 79 percent of non-Pritzker billionaires have financially supported Emanuel, compared to only 33 percent of the Pritzker billionaires.

The full list of Illinois billionaires who have donated to Emanuel:

  • Ken Griffin, CEO of Citadel Investment Group, $1,280,300
  • Eric Lefkofsky, co-founder and CEO of Groupon, $405,300
  • Sam Zell, Chairman, Equity Group Investments, $200,000
  • J.B. Pritzker, Managing Partner, The Pritzker Group, $157,000
  • Joe Mansueto, founder and CEO of Morningstar, $150,000
  • Nicholas Pritzker, former President of Hyatt Development, $33,332
  • Michael Krasny, founder and former CEO of CDW, $30,300
  • Patrick Ryan, founder and former CEO of Aon, $25,000
  • Neil Bluhm, co-founder of JMB Realty, $25,000
  • Jerry Reinsdorf, Owner of Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox, $22,500
  • Christopher Reyes, Co-Chairman of Reyes Holding, $15,300
  • Jude Reyes, Co-Chairman of Reyes Holding, $15,300
  • Mark Walter, CEO of Guggenheim Partners, $5,300

Note: All contribution data is through March 31, 2015.

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2 comments on “Rahm wins in a landslide — among Illinois’ billionaires
  1. casey says:

    Interesting, I appreciate that you are just reporting without commentary. I’m also surprised how small these donations are relative to the donors’ wealth. It would be interesting to see if donors in lower income brackets actually gave relatively more than the billionaires. Is Rahm “owned” by the middle class or even the working class?

  2. Mike Zivin says:

    HI Jonathan. I’m not sure what the significance of this is? Why does it matter that billionaires support Rahm? Maybe they think he is more competent than Chuy. Maybe they know him personally and think he’s an ethical person who can run the city well. Billionaire is a label like any other. Does the label really matter in this context…