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Griffin talks about what he’s up to here

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014

* Ken Griffin says he has no interest in running for office. From a hedge fund newsletter

The Citadel Investment Group founder has played an outsized role in this year’s gubernatorial campaign in Illinois, donating more than $3.5 million to Republican challenger Bruce Rauner. The contributions include the state’s single-largest ever, a $2.5 million check cut last month. But Griffin said he expects that giving—and giving generously—is as far as he’ll go in politics.

Griffin told CNBC at last week’s Delivering Alpha conference in New York that the “can’t see” a run for office in his future. Pressed by CNBC’s Kate Kelly, he wouldn’t rule it out, but did not sound enthusiastic, either.

“Never say never, but I can’t see it in my future,” he said.

Griffin said he’s digging deep because Illinois under Gov. Pat Quinn is in trouble.

“Americans talk about the need for change in Washington. I can tell you the need for change in Springfield is far greater than the need for change in Washington. I know it’s hard to believe.”

* More

“So Illinois has historically been a great state to do business in. Unfortunately over the last 20 years, we’ve moved from being at the top of the list of places to do business to, frankly, the bottom of the list,” Griffin said when asked about the Rauner contribution. […]

“The difference between Republicans and Democrats on most issues is actually pretty small,” he said. “We make a big deal about very modest differences as a country, and yet the extremes on both sides have a disproportionate … voice in Washington, and that undermines the ability for us to move our country forward.”

Griffin is putting his money behind his words by contributing to national campaigns. Large political contributions made in 2014 include $32,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, $100,000 to USA Super PAC, $150,000 to America Rising PAC and $250,000 to American Crossroads, among other political action committee donations, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:41 am:

    Wow. I didn’t realize that in 1994 (20 years ago) Illinois was this business paradise. I mean, we had the pensions then right?

  2. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    So, if the differences between the Republicans and Democrats on the issues are pretty small, why is Griffin writing such big checks? And why only to Republicans?

    Is it to counter the effects of extremists, particularly within the GOP?

    If so, you have to wonder if it is working. I mean, Rauner is still soliciting support from the Tea Party.

  3. - walker - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:51 am:

    He’s certainly putting his money where his mouth is. Good for him. And good he doesn’t feel the need to apply his business genius to governmental operations. We can only hope his eye for talent is keen.

    For Griffin to say our differences are “modest” and the “the extremes on both sides have a disproportionate … voice” is true and wise. For him to give big to some of the national PACs he has chosen, might be adding to that problem, not reducing it. The world has shifted, if American Crossroads is seen as the moderate alternative to more extreme voices on their right.

  4. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:55 am:


    Let’s remember, he also said he thinks billionaires don’t have enough influence.

  5. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:55 am:

    I believe Griffin is sincere.

    Ever since he gave that closed door speech to his peers last year, where he embarrassed them and called them out individually for hurting our state by failing to pay taxes on profits, he has stood out to me.

  6. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 12:05 pm:

    –“So Illinois has historically been a great state to do business in. Unfortunately over the last 20 years, we’ve moved from being at the top of the list of places to do business to, frankly, the bottom of the list,” Griffin said when asked about the Rauner contribution. […]–

    Kind of an odd coming from a guy who amassed a fortune of $5.5 billion here over the last 20 years. I mean, it was a good place for him to do business, right?

  7. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 12:15 pm:

    ==- Formerly Known As… - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:55 am:==

    He didn’t bash them for failing to pay taxes, he bashed them for running to the state for special tax breaks. He also said for the hell of it why not just close 125 schools in Chicago because 50 was too little. He also attacked compensation for police and firefighters. Some guy. Maybe he and Bust Out Bruce can bust out the fire department in North Riverside.

  8. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 12:16 pm:

    Need more sense of power? Making billions doesn’t do it for you anymore? Run(buy) a political office worthy of your eminence

  9. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 12:28 pm:

    Need more sense of power? Making billions doesn’t do it for you anymore? Run(buy) a political office worthy of your eminence

    Those questions were not asked of him in this interview. If they were and he said that power was not enough for him and that he might need to buy a political office - then you would be correct.

    But since no one would actually ask such a question - or if it was asked - would actually answer that question as you claim is his true internal motivation - then you’ll have to rely on your paranoia as your guide.

  10. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 12:36 pm:

    Rauner is still soliciting support from the Tea Party.

    He isn’t turning any voters away. He plans on winning votes from anyone who will vote for him. He is campaigning in Chicago poor neighborhoods, rich suburbs, among universities, rural areas, women, gay, African-American, Jewish, it seems that Rauner wants to work with anyone and any group that will listen to him, to get their support.

    Isn’t that what candidates are supposed to do, even if some of their campaigning isn’t appreciated by some of those groups?

    Rauner intends to win and is campaigning to anyone.

  11. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 1:02 pm:

    Precinct Captain - thanks for the reminder. He embarrassed them on corporate welfare, cronyism and taking away tax revenue from Illinois, rather than “failing to pay taxes on profits”.

    == “Citadel founder Kenneth Griffin named and shamed local corporations that have taken tax incentives from the state’s financially strapped government in a Monday evening speech to a prominent Chicago business group…

    A few people in the sold-out crowd at the Palmer House Hilton began to applaud, but many appeared stunned as the names of corporations, either theirs or those run by people they knew in the audience, appeared on screen.

    “What is the cost of this cronyism?” Griffin asked, as the scrolling continued. “It is far higher than the lost tax revenue. It is the devastating loss of leadership from our business community.” ==

  12. - warhed - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 1:52 pm:

    I really don’t understand why Griffen is writing big checks to the Republicans…It’s worked out so well under Quinn and the Dems….

  13. - Tom Joad - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 2:11 pm:

    Griffin is one of the high speed traders on Wall Street accused of rigging the stock market by preempting order flow and causing higher prices to the average investor.

  14. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 2:16 pm:

    How much money did Griffin have 20 years ago? Now?

    Strange for someone who got so rich to be telling us how Illinois is rigged against rich people.

  15. - Shore - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 3:13 pm:

    same guy backing chicago city hall establishment types “need for change” please.

  16. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 3:24 pm:

    Shore, he was a big backer of Blago and Daley back in the day, too. Not Rauner levels but powerful checks.

  17. - Taser - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 4:05 pm:

    You have to wonder if he’s focusing on new business ventures - for instance investing in Uber.

  18. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 7:40 pm:

    Vanillaman -

    Who was talking about voters?

    Dick Uihlein, financier of Dan Proft and Tea Party candidates is one of Bruce Rauner’s closest political allies.

    Rauner may have a big tent, but Griffin says extremists like Uihlein are destroying America.

    I suspect Bruce is telling both guys what they want to hear.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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