As Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel makes his first bid for re-election in the Windy City, his opponent is running a populist campaign against Emanuel’s connections to the one percent. It is an easy argument to make with the big money donors Rahm has, especially his deep pocketed Republican backer, Billionaire Kenneth Griffin.
Emanuel has been the fortunate recipient of over a million dollars of Griffin’s political donations, reports say.
Griffin, the 46-year-old head of hedge-fund firm Citadel, is a self-made billionaire worth $6.5 billion who first started as a bond trader when he was still a student at Harvard.
Griffin has also been the subject of wagging tongues in Chi-town for his messy divorce. At one point his wife, Anne Dias Griffin, revealed that her estranged husband rakes in $68.5 million a month.
Of course, after so much of Griffin’s cash flowing to Emanuel, he has also become the topic of political jabs. For one, liberal Salon.com called Griffin Emanuel’s “GOP Plutocrat.”
But even as Griffin has claimed his fealty to Reaganism, even as he’s railed against big government and high taxes, Griffin has spent millions of his money backing Democrats in the state of Illinois–especially former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
The billionaire has been especially appreciative of Emanuel’s closure of 50 of the city’s underperforming schools. This has been one of the things that has brought Emanuel some of his most vehement opposition.
In a recent statement, Griffin noted that what he and others in Chicago want is, “More jobs. Less crime. Better schools. That’s what we all want for our community and our families.”
Griffin has also encouraged wealthy Chicagoans and business owners to join him and to get involved in the political process.
“You see, we have a powerful voice, a voice that can play an important role in fixing our schools, in protecting and providing for our retirees, and in creating good jobs, a voice that can’t wait until the next election cycle, a voice that must be heard now,” Griffin said at a 2013 dinner hosted by Chicago’s Economic Club.
Emanuel’s opponent, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, thinks that Rahm is fostering the “return to the days of the robber barons” with his close ties to the one percent.
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