* Oh, this is rich…
Anne Dias Griffin, a rare woman at the helm of a hedge fund as well as wife of billionaire hedge fund manager Kenneth Griffin, is starting a for-profit digital media company called Reboot Illinois.
The website will promote “political, educational and fiscal reform in Illinois and the Midwest,” according to an online job posting.
Political reform? Really? This is the same person who, partnering with her husband, sidestepped campaign contribution caps by contributing big bucks to small Downstate county party committees, which then turned around and contributed the majority of that cash to the state Republican Party. I wrote this back in January…
Back when the reformers demanded that state campaign contributions be capped, they said it would limit the dollars flowing into Illinois political funds.
But contributions have only barely decreased from four years ago, according to a search of the Illinois Board of Elections’ database. That may have as much to do with the economy these days compared with what it was in 2007, when Illinois’ unemployment rate was half what it is now. […]
Individuals now are capped at $5,000 when donating directly to a candidate, but they can give up to $10,000 to PACs and political parties and PACs can contribute $50,000 to candidates. You probably can see where this is going.
The Griffins made $305,000 in contributions between Dec. 29 and Jan. 6, with the vast majority confined to the last three days of 2011. A bunch of that cash went to small, downstate Republican Party county committees.
For instance, the Griffins each contributed the maximum $10,000 to the Stark County Republican Central Committee on Dec. 29. The tiny county party reported raising just $5,700 in cash over the past three years until the Griffins came along.
Republican parties in Christian, Jefferson, Douglas, Logan and Richland counties all were showered with similar Griffin beneficence. Such political party committees can contribute unlimited amounts to candidates in a primary election.
And then when the next campaign finance reports were filed, we found out that much of that money went right back to the state GOP. From Bernie…
While the Griffins combined to donate more than $200,000 to more than 10 GOP organizations, including GOP committees in Logan, Douglas, Fayette, Madison and Richland counties, those groups then — coincidentally? — combined to donate more than $120,000 to the Illinois Republican Party in the first three months of this year.
So, she’s now for reform, eh?
* Back to the recent report…
Griffin and her husband, founder and chief executive of Citadel LLC, are among the largest donors to the Illinois Republican Party and have been active in organizations trying to reduce the influence of teachers unions.
The Griffins also have given approximately $1.5 million over time to David and Charles Koch’s conservative causes, which operate under the umbrella Americans for Prosperity.
A family spokeswoman who declined to be named said Ken Griffin was not involved in the media venture and that it would be nonpartisan. A launch date has not been set.
The spokeswoman declined to be named? Huh? What’s with the secrecy? Even the new site’s Tweets are “protected”…
Only confirmed followers have access to @rebootillinois’s Tweets and complete profile. Click the “Follow” button to send a follow request.
And this will be a “nonpartisan” operation? OK. We’ll see. The Griffins were the top contributors to the Illinois House Republicans during the last cycle. I just can’t wait to watch this little venture sprout forth.
* From the new company’s Flickr page…
Reboot Illinois is a non-partisan, reform-based digital and social media company serving as the voice of reform in Illinois. We aim to educate and engage citizens and to encourage measurable actions on the critical issues facing our state. We aim to inform citizens with our educated political analysis, data, and local perspective to inspire action through digital/social media channels, at live events, and to facilitate citizens to participate fully in the the democratic process.
That’s awfully wordy.
* The Question: Can you please streamline Reboot Illinois’ mission statement? Snark is heavily encouraged, of course.