Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Monday, June 16, 2014

Billionaire Griffin's influence will be felt no matter who wins the election

Chicago Magazine
The Billionaire Boys Club is flexing its electoral political muscles again in Illinois. The Sun-Times reports that Citadel hedge-fund CEO Ken Griffin has kicked in a tidy $2.5 million to fellow billionaire Bruce Rauner's already bloated campaign fund. That includes $71,000 worth of in-kind contributions for the use of Griffin's private jet. It's reportedly the biggest single Illinois political donation ever — in the modern-day era — to a candidate for governor of Illinois. It's also the biggest ever from an individual other than the candidate himself  in the post-Watergate era when public disclosure records were first required, said one political scientist.

Griffin has also given more than $1 million to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads SuperPAC and has donated heavily to the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity. He's bigger than two-party politics and also gave heavily to both the Obama and Romney campaigns as well as to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's political war chest. Griffin and his wife, Anne Dias Griffin are both members of Rahm's kitchen cabinet as is Rauner himself.

Whether Rauner or Gov. Quinn prevails in November's election, Griffin's influence will be felt. The same is true for next year's mayor's race. And that doesn't bode well for teachers, unions, or the state's public school system. Griffin is one of the biggest corporate patrons of privately-run charter schools. He also helped underwrite Stand For Children's 2013 venture into Illinois and was heavily involved in their campaign to pass anti-teachers-union SB7 legislation.

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