Tag: Ken Griffin

No surrender

No surrender

I haven’t written much about Illinois state politics in recent months, largely because there’s not much going on due to the ongoing state government shutdown.

However, the website of The New York Times has published this report on how a handful of wealthy individuals, some of which aren’t Illinois residents, are holding the state of Illinois hostage by way of big-money politics:

In the months since, Mr. (Kenneth C.) Griffin and a small group of rich supporters — not just from Chicago, but also from New York City and Los Angeles, southern Florida and Texas — have poured tens of millions of dollars into the state, a concentration of political money without precedent in Illinois history.

Their wealth has forcefully shifted the state’s balance of power. Last year, the families helped elect as governor Bruce Rauner, a Griffin friend and former private equity executive from the Chicago suburbs, who estimates his own fortune at more than $500 million. Now they are rallying behind Mr. Rauner’s agenda: to cut spending and overhaul the state’s pension system, impose term limits and weaken public employee unions.

[…]

Many of those giving, like Mr. Griffin, come from the world of finance, an industry that has yielded more of the new political wealth than any other. The Florida-based leveraged-buyout pioneer John Childs, the private equity investor Sam Zell and Paul Singer, a prominent New York hedge fund manager, all helped elect Mr. Rauner, as did Richard Uihlein, a conservative businessman from the Chicago suburbs.

In short, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, who spent tens of millions of dollars of his own money on his gubernatorial campaign last year, also spent millions upon millions of dollars of money from a handful of wealthy individuals, and now Rauner is holding Illinois hostage by demanding a Scott Walker-style far-right economic agenda that would hurt Illinois’s economy in return for a functional state government.

To the Democrats in the Illinois General Assembly and the people of Illinois, I have two words for ya’ll: No surrender! Illinois cannot afford busting unions, driving down wages, making it harder for working Illinoisans who are injured on the job to get workers’ compensation benefits, cuts to pension benefits, and every other item of right-wing economic policy that would hurt Illinois’s economy by taking away disposable income from Illinois consumers. Illinois cannot afford surrendering to Bruce Rauner and his big-money cronies from the finance industry.

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A vote for Rahm Emanuel is a vote for Bruce Rauner and his destructive agenda

To be honest with you, I’m really disappointed that progressive Chicago mayoral candidate Jesus “Chuy” Garcia isn’t trying to tie incumbent Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner at every opportunity.

The “Rahm-Rauner” narrative continues to build. It’s the worst-kept secret in Illinois politics that Rahm and Rauner are vacation buddies. Even worse, Rahm and Rauner support the same right-wing corporate agenda to gut and privatize public education, destroy public employee pension systems, and put government functions in the hands of corporate interests.

One person who is doing a lot to build up the Rahm-Rauner narrative is billionaire hedge-fund manager Ken Griffin, who has donated a whopping $750,000 to support Rahm’s re-election efforts, including $250,000 directly to the Rahm campaign, since Rahm won only a plurality of the vote in the first round of the Chicago mayoral race and was forced into a runoff against Chuy. Griffin donated millions of dollars to Rauner’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign, including a single $2.5 million donation that stands as one of the biggest monetary donations to a political campaign in American history. Not only do Rahm and Rauner support the same right-wing corporate agenda, they have the same billionaire hedge fund manager donating ridiculously large amounts of money to their campaigns.

Chuy really needs to start tying Rahm to Rauner to every opportunity, as the narrative is just waiting there for him to use against Rahm.