A glimpse at who’s bankrolling Illinois political committees, so far, this year
Second quarter fundraising reports for Illinois political committees are due to the State Board of Elections by midnight Monday. With that deadline looming, here’s a look at top donors to the fundraising committees for Illinois’ governor, state constitutional officers and legislative leaders, as well as Chicago’s mayor, Cook County’s Board President, and State’s Attorney.
A quick glance shows some clear trends - significant donations by billionaire governor J.B. Pritzker and his predecessor, Bruce Rauner to party committees - money from trade unions being funneled into accounts controlled by powerful House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, and Senate President John Cullerton, and wealthy investors contributing to House and Senate Republican leaders. In Chicago and Cook County, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and President Toni Preckwinkle have each made significant personal donations to their own warchests.
J.B. for Governor
New Gov. J.B. Pritzker set records last fall in terms of self-funding his own campaign to the tune of $170 million - so it’s little surprise that this year, the Chicago Democrat is again his own top donor. Pritzker - heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune - donated $66 million to his own committee in 2019, records show. The Democratic Party of Illinois has chipped in $1.5 million to Pritzker’s committee this year. And businessman James Star has contributed $153,220.
Friends of Michael J. Madigan
The state’s long-serving House Speaker - also the Illinois Democratic Party Chair - controls numerous campaign committees, all of which reveal a bit about where the Southwest side Democrat’s loyalties lie. Filings by this committee show heavy donations from the trade unions - $1.5 million each from the Engineers Political Education Committee and the LiUNA Chicago Laborers District Council, $1.3 million from the Chicagoland Operators, and $800,000 from the United Assocation (of Plumbers and Pipefitters) Political Education Committee.
13th Ward Democratic Organization
This committee, the political fund for Madigan’s 13th Ward Organization, also saw its top donations come from laborers unions. LiUNA, IBEW Illinois, the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters and the Laborers Political League Education Fund all gave donations of $55,400, the maximum amount their specific type of political committee can give in a general election cycle, according to the state board of elections.
Democratic Party of Illinois
The Democratic Party of Illinois’ campaign fund, in turn, has received its largest donation $4.9 million - from the Friends of Michael J. Madigan committee. Then, J.B. for Governor gave $3.1 million to the committee, followed by AKPD Message and Media’s $297,540 donation.
Yes, this is another fund controlled by Madigan, focused on maintaining the Democratic majority (currently a supermajority) in the House. It got $6 million from Pritzker’s committee, $1 million from Friends of Madigan, and $80,400 from the TEAMSTERS Drive Committee.
Senate Democratic Victory Fund
Senate Democrats’ fundraising committee also got $2 million from J.B. for Governor, and $1.96 million from Citizens for John Cullerton. The Democratic Party of Illinois sent the committee $1 million.
Citizens for John Cullerton
Senate President John Cullerton received his biggest donation - $261,500 - from the National Securities Corporation. And the Senate Democratic Victory Fund sent $234,000 back his way. After that, like Speaker Madigan, he received support from local trade unions - the Chicagoland Operators gave him $93,800, and the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters gave $81,400.
Committee to Support John Cullerton for State Central Committeeman
Another of Cullerton’s political funds, this one primarily funded by unions in 2019. The Service Employees International Union, Illinois Pipe Trades, the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters and the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers each gave this committee $55,400.
House Republican Organization
The House Republican Organization saw former Gov. Bruce Rauner’s campaign committee send it a $6 million check. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin nearly matched that, with a $5.8 million donation to the fund. Notably, longtime state Rep. Dan Brady of Bloomington also contributed $53,500 to the fund.
Citizens for Durkin
Durkin, of Western Springs, received a $6 million donation from Citadel founder, billionaire investor Ken Griffin. The Illinois Republican Party gave Durkin $94,456 and the Riverside Republican Organization - the former political home of late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka - gave him $50,000.
Brady for Senate
Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady of Bloomington also got $1.5 million from Griffin. He gave himself $100,000, and got $270,000 from Uline founder Richard Uihlein.
Republican State Senate Campaign Committee
This committee saw its biggest check - $2.5 million - come from Brady, the state’s top GOP Senator. Then, Sen. John Curran’s committee gave $265,000 while former state Sen. Chris Nybo gave $151,150.
Friends for Susana Mendoza for Comptroller
Mendoza, who made an unsuccessful bid for Mayor this spring, saw some of her biggest donations from the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Illinois PAC for Education (IPACE) - which gave her $50,400 and $50,000 respectively. SEIU and the Illinois Laborers’ Legislative Committee gave her donations of $55,400 apiece.
Citizens for Jesse White
Jesse White, the state’s longest-serving and first African-American secretary of state, received $85,400 from the Democratic Party of Illinois. The International Union of Operating Engineers gave him $60,400 this year, while SEIU, LiUNA and the Laborers’ Political League gave him $55,400 apiece.
Friends of Frerichs
State Treasurer Mike Frerichs, a Champaign Democrat, got $85,400 from the Democratic Party of Illinois. Donations ranging from $55,400 to $44,400 came in from various trade and service unions, including the Pipefitters Association Local 597, the Laborers Political League, and the Illinois Federation of Teachers.
Raoul for Illinois
Former state senator and new Attorney General, Kwame Raoul, a Chicago Democrat, received $20,000 from the Illinois Political Action Committee for Education, $15,000 from the International Union of Operating Engineers, and $10,000 from the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters, among other donations.
Lightfoot for Chicago
New Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s largest single donation in 2019 - $500,000 - came from the LiUNA Chicago Laborers’ District Council PAC, followed by a $316,533 donation from the Mayor, herself. The Laborers’ Political League Education Fund gave her $200,000, and she received a $150,000 donation from Equity International Chairman Sam Zell and his wife, Helen.
Preckwinkle for President
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who lost a mayoral runoff race to Lightfoot in April, contributed $57,800 to her own campaign committee. That’s followed by a $55,400 donation from the Chicagoland Operators PAC, and another $50,000 from the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters.
Friends for Foxx
State’s Attorney Kim Foxx received $25,000 from SEIU, $11,600 from Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education’s Elizabeth Thompson and her husband, Donald. Another $11,600 came from Chicago attorney Larry Rogers.
*Come back Tuesday for an analysis of quarterly reports, and check out more detailed information on contribution caps for various committees’ here.
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