Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Stand for Children has wealthiest PAC in Illinois
LIVE session coverage...
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      About     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact Rich Miller
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Stand for Children has wealthiest PAC in Illinois

Monday, Jan 24, 2011 - Posted by Rich Miller

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column is about the wealthiest PAC in Illinois

An out-of-state education reform group raised a whopping $2.8 million in the days leading up to historic state caps on campaign contributions.

All of the money raised by Stand for Children’s Illinois PAC came in five- or six-figure contributions from some very major Chicago-area business types. Members of the famed billionaire Pritzker family kicked in a total of $250,000 on Dec. 29, two days before the end of the old campaign finance system, which allowed for unlimited contributions to groups like Stand for Children’s PAC.

Ken Griffin, CEO of the Citadel Group, contributed $500,000 on Dec. 15. Griffin gave hundreds of thousands of dollars last year to Illinois House Republicans and GOP gubernatorial nominee Bill Brady’s campaign. Sam Zell, owner of Tribune Co., contributed $100,000 on Dec. 20. Members of the Henry Crown family kicked in $400,000. And Paul Finnegan, co-CEO of Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, contributed $500,000.

The group’s political action committee made history last year with the single largest non-leadership contribution in modern Illinois times — a $175,000 check to Republican state House candidate Ryan Higgins, who ended up losing his race. The PAC contributed a total of $610,000 during the fall campaign to legislative candidates in both parties.

That money did not go unnoticed at the Statehouse. During the post-election legislative session, House Speaker Michael Madigan tried to push through education reforms supported by Stand for Children which were deemed overtly hostile by the teachers unions. Among the reforms was an all-but-total ban on strikes by Chicago teachers. The teachers unions refused to contribute to Madigan and many of his candidates last year after Madigan pushed through public employee pension reforms.

The group’s December fundraising push left it with almost $2.9 million in the bank as of the end of 2010, when contributions to state PACs were capped at $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for corporations per calendar year. None of the group’s $2.8 million in December contributions would have fallen under those caps.

To put this in perspective, the Illinois State Medical Society, which is one of the most powerful lobbying forces at the Statehouse, had $1.8 million in its political action committee account by the end of the year. The Illinois Hospital Association and the pro-choice juggernaut Personal PAC ended the year with about $1.4 million each. Stand for Children beat them all by a lot.

Jonah Edelman, Stand for Children’s national founder, said last week that the December contributions represented the “significant generosity of Illinoisans.” Edelman refused to say whether the group planned to spend the war chest in the coming campaign or use it as a long-term fund.

He did say his organization was now focused on passing the education reform bill that was backed by Madigan, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel and others during the lame-duck session. Emanuel took in hundreds of thousands of dollars from Stand for Children’s contributors.

The group’s legislation ran into a brick wall in the Senate, where Sen. Kimberly Lightford, chairman of the Education Reform Committee, resisted a move to rush through any reforms and insisted that the teachers unions play a role in the negotiations.

Lightford has received high marks from both Stand for Children and the teachers unions for running fair-minded, well-organized meetings. One longtime teachers union lobbyist said this month that Lightford’s meetings were some of the best-run he’s attended during his entire career. Stand for Children’s legislative person comes from the Senate Democratic staff, so she has a long relationship with Lightford and offered up her own high praise. Another Lightford meeting is scheduled for this week.

It’s not that legislators and their leaders slavishly bow deeply to anybody with a fat wallet. But they most certainly take lots of notice when somebody comes out of nowhere and antes up with $2.9 million.

And Stand for Children’s lobbying stable includes some of the biggest contract lobbyists at the Statehouse. They’ve basically run the board, with heavy-hitting lobbyists tied to both parties and the Black and Latino caucuses.

Stand for Children has gone from nowhere to one of the biggest and potentially one of the more successful players in the building within just a few short months, all without attracting significant media attention. It’s truly an amazing story.

* And that isn’t the only big, new group in town

Taking advantage of what they perceive as a loophole in the state’s campaign finance disclosure laws, organizers of For a Better Chicago say they don’t have to tell us who donated the $855,000 that the group transferred into its newly formed political action committee on Dec. 29 and 30.

The money came in just under the deadline before a new state law took effect Jan. 1 that the group concedes will require it to disclose any future donors.

* Related…

* 43 races for alderman draw $5.6 million

* War chests of unopposed aldermen

* Mayoral candidates raced to raise funds before new state limits kicked in - About $1.2 million of contributions to Emanuel in late December would have violated law in January

* Rahm Emanuel’s $100,000 Club

* Emanuel Gets a Boost From Financial Sector

* Clayco chief gives $50,000 to Rahm’s mayoral bid


  1. - wordslinger - Monday, Jan 24, 11 @ 11:26 am:

    This Edelman has an interesting story and is obviously a big hitter. What made him choose Illinois, anyway?

  2. - amalia - Monday, Jan 24, 11 @ 11:28 am:

    “For a better Chicago” ….. for whom? did HDO have any money left?

  3. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jan 24, 11 @ 2:16 pm:

    2 comments kinda makes me feel lonesome.

  4. - wordslinger - Monday, Jan 24, 11 @ 2:20 pm:

    LOL, Bad News Bears, Bad News Rahm, no more oxygen.

    It’s a heckuva story, though, and there will be plenty more where that came from. Believe me, teachers in this state know they have a battle royale coming, and fewer allies in elected positions to help them defend their positions.

  5. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Jan 24, 11 @ 10:59 pm:

    Nobody wanted to comment for fear Stand for Illinois would target them. :)

  6. - waitress practicing politics. . - Tuesday, Jan 25, 11 @ 7:19 am:

    Stand for Children-a rose by any other name would smell so sweet. Clever name for a PAC

  7. - Teacher/Grandma/forced IEA member - Wednesday, Jan 26, 11 @ 8:17 am:

    I wonder if the IEA leadership is still glad it bombarded teachers with emails saying VOTE FOR EVERY DEMOCRAT before the last election. I think it’s wonderful that a group is willing to challenge the education establishment in Illinois. The IEA could work for better education, but they are ONLY concerned with their own agenda–not what might actually improve education for the children of this state.

  8. - Sizemore - Wednesday, Jan 26, 11 @ 12:52 pm:

    Will Stand for Children back teacher evaluations created by professional teachers? Weeding out narrow-minded administrators who lack vision and have a personal necessary for balance.Will Stand for Children back mentoring programs for new or struggling teachers?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Secretary of State has plans to install cameras and call boxes in Stratton parking garage
* Good stuff
* Protect Illinois Hospitality - Vote No On House Bill 5345
* Session updates (Updated x3)
* Showcasing The Retailers Who Make Illinois Work
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* *** 2024 end of session cheat sheet ***
* *** Live session coverage ***
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Live coverage
* Harmon: I'm hoping the Senate will be able to wrap up its business tomorrow (Updated)
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...











Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

May 2024
April 2024
March 2024
February 2024
January 2024
December 2023
November 2023
October 2023
September 2023
August 2023
July 2023
June 2023
May 2023
April 2023
March 2023
February 2023
January 2023
December 2022
November 2022
October 2022
September 2022
August 2022
July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller