Morning Spin: Emanuel got free sports tickets, travel perks from wealthy friends – Chicago Tribune
Welcome to Clout Street: Morning Spin, our weekday feature to catch you up with what’s going on in government and politics from Chicago to Springfield.
For Mayor Rahm Emanuel, it pays to have friends in high — or at least wealthy — places.
Once again last year, the mayor accepted free sports tickets, a stay as a houseguest and transportation (likely complimentary rides on private jets) from some of Chicago’s richest executives and philanthropists.
Like all Cook County politicians, Emanuel is required to disclose gifts valued at more than $500 in his annual economic interest statement due Monday.
The mayor’s report covering 2015 shows he accepted gifts from six people, continuing a more recent trend of Emanuel taking high-dollar gifts from fewer of his political donors and friends. The mayor accepted gifts from three people in 2014, five in 2013, 12 in 2012 and 19 in 2011.
For the fifth straight year, Emanuel’s close friend, confidant and unofficial adviser Michael Sacks made the list. The mayor reported receiving transportation and sports tickets from Sacks, who also is Emanuel’s most reliable campaign contributor. Sacks, his family and his company’s employees have given $3.6 million to the mayor’s campaign and Emanuel-aligned political funds since he first ran for mayor in 2010.
Also making his annual appearance on Emanuel’s disclosure was Sidney “Skip” Herman, a Chicago law firm partner. For the fifth straight year, Emanuel reported a $500-plus stay as a houseguest of Herman, who also gave the mayor some freebie transportation in 2015.
The mayor also reported receiving transportation from another reliable pair of campaign contributors — real estate heavyweight Judd Malkin and son Barry Malkin, who together have contributed nearly $450,000 to Emanuel campaign funds. Judd Malkin also has played the role of fundraiser host for the mayor, the Tribune has reported.
Emanuel also accepted transportation from Paul Finnegan, a co-CEO of Madison Dearborn Partners, a longtime Chicago private equity firm. In a 2015 investigation of Emanuel’s fundraising, the Tribune noted Madison Dearborn and its employees were the No. 2 donor to the mayor’s campaign behind Sacks.
That report noted that nearly 60 percent of Emanuel’s top circle of 103 elite donors had benefited from his city government, receiving contracts, zoning changes, business permits, pension work, board appointments, regulatory help or some other tangible benefit. Included on that list of firms that benefited was Finnegan’s Madison Dearborn, which holds a significant stake in the CDW Government firm that has received two Emanuel administration contracts worth more than $39 million.
Emanuel also reported receiving transportation from Margot Pritzker, the president and founder of WomenOnCall.org and part of one of America’s wealthiest families. But unlike other members of the clan, Margot Pritzker has not contributed to Emanuel’s campaign, a rarity for any individual who turns up on the mayor’s annual gift list. (Bill Ruthhart)
What’s on tap
*Mayor Rahm Emanuel will talk about construction on Vista Tower.
*Gov. Bruce Rauner will proclaim national small business week at his favorite Springfield watering hole.
*Illinois General Assembly: The Senate is in Tuesday through Friday and the House is scheduled to be in Tuesday through Thursday.
What we’re writing
*In Year Two, Rauner turns to privatization push.
*Rauner gets behind Independent Maps’ redistricting reform plan.
*Duckworth seeks boost from campaign stop with Sen. Warren.
*Ald. Moore all over the map on Blaine principal issue.
*Judge reveals FBI’s first question for Hastert: Is your family safe?
*Chicago State lays off one-third of staff.
*Charter school operators propose 13 new campuses in Chicago.
*First responders want law to protect them from ‘frivolous’ lawsuits.
What we’re reading
*The CHA’s ‘supervoucher’ program: a desegregation strategy that never was.
*Former Kenwood teen chooses Harvard, will take gap year.
*Don’t film your gas mask bong, and other lessons from Laremy Tunsil case.
From the notebook
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