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*** UPDATED x2 - ILGOP, Biss respond *** Big money, big investments for Kennedy and Pritzker

Thursday, Nov 30, 2017

* Sun-Times

Big Tobacco. Big Oil. Casinos. The largest defense contractor in the world. And the developer of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Those are just some of the hundreds of investment portfolio areas Democrats J.B. Pritzker and Chris Kennedy list as part of paperwork they were required to file to run for governor.

The disclosure form — aimed at transparency — gives information about entities and investments. But it doesn’t provide full financial disclosure, including how much money is involved or other details.

Kennedy, a businessman and son of former U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, listed companies linked to defense, tobacco and oil interests among the hundreds he named in the economic interest statement he filed Monday with the Illinois secretary of state.

Kennedy’s listings included shares in Philip Morris International, the nation’s largest cigarette manufacturer and part of the 1998 court settlement tobacco companies reached with the attorneys general of 46 states over public health concerns. […]

Pritzker’s extensive filing — 10 pages of hundreds of stocks, mutual funds partnership and membership interests — shows a partnership interest in Energy Transfer Partners LP, a pipeline operator that constructed and is a part-owner of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which carries oil underground from North Dakota all the way to an oil tank farm near Patoka, Ill.

Click here for Kennedy’s statement of economic interest, click here for Pritzker’s and click here for Biss’ (nothing really there).

*** UPDATE 1 *** Biss campaign…

“JB Pritzker and Chris Kennedy’s financial disclosures perfectly encapsulate why we should be skeptical of billionaire businessmen who say they’ll fight for us—and why we need to see full tax returns to better understand their financial interests,” says Biss campaign manager Abby Witt. “How can we trust someone invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline to stand against big oil once in office? Someone invested in our nation’s largest cigarette company to work to curb teen smoking? Someone invested in fracking to keep fracking out of our state? The revelations of these financial disclosure forms, a legally-required bare minimum standard of transparency, raise serious doubts in my mind—and make me wonder what they’re still hiding.”

J.B. Pritzker’s mouth is writing checks even his wallet can’t cash.

In yesterday’s Chicago Sun-Times report, it was revealed that Pritzker continues to hold investments in industries that don’t line up with his own rhetoric.

From the Sun-Times:

    “Pritzker’s extensive filing — 10 pages of hundreds of stocks, mutual funds partnership and membership interests — shows a partnership interest in Energy Transfer Partners LP, a pipeline operator that constructed and is a part-owner of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which carries oil underground from North Dakota all the way to an oil tank farm near Patoka, Ill.

    ” … Pritzker also has a partnership interest in Niagara Casino Group, LP and a stock in A.N.P. Gaming Corporation. The Pritzker family has part ownership of the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin. Pritzker, too, invests in big oil, with stocks in Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp.”

But just last month at a Sierra Club Forum, Pritzker repeatedly proclaimed the ‘evils of fossil fuels,’ saying things like:

    “We’ve got to stand up to them. Our endeavor must be to say no when they say it’s ok if we pollute the air and make it harder to breath to stand up for the profits of the fossil fuel industry.”

    “This idea of profits over people we have to do away with.”

    “I believe we need that clean energy technology here in Illinois… in order to get to that 100% clean energy goal.”

Watch HERE.

Pritzker continues to lie to Illinoisans, regardless of their party preference. Pritzker’s incessant hypocrisy is proof that he is the wrong choice for Illinois.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

19 Comments
  1. - The Captain - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 11:01 am:

    I’d like to file a formal complaint against Sen. Biss for plagiarizing my Statement of Economic Interest.


  2. - Montrose - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 11:04 am:

    Biss is really heavily invested in this “None” place. I think he needs to diversify.


  3. - People Over Parties - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 11:06 am:

    Hmm, seems contrary to the “progressive” values they claim to espouse..


  4. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 11:12 am:

    Did anyone ask Biss why he wants a Governor to stand up to “big oil” and to prevent fracking? Has he been to Patoka? Does he know that a lot of those pipelines end there? Does he have a plan for those lost jobs?

    Look, I get where he’s coming from. If oil prices get above $80 a barrel again, we can talk about how best to regulate fracking. But to simply say no to the possible investment in downstate is to effectively cut off the chance that jobs and recovery will come to a region of our state that desperately needs it.

    We want pipelines and fracking to be as safe as possible. Putting up barriers to prevent them is self-destructive.


  5. - Actual Red - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 11:22 am:

    I think this kind of thing is what the Biss campaign is looking for when it pushes the other candidates to disclose their tax returns. People probably aren’t super pleased to hear about rich guys finding loopholes they themselves don’t get, but I don’t know how much that riles up the average primary voter.

    On the other hand, being able to tie Pritzker and Kennedy to “Big Oil” and “Big Tobacco” definitely can help build support for Biss among the left of the party electorate. If the tax return stuff can push this angle further than the filing paperwork does, it’s a strong play for Biss on his narrow path to the nomination.


  6. - Honeybear - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 11:52 am:

    “Single digits” Biss should keep in mind that second place gets nothing
    But just for giggles let’s say Biss wins the primary because Illinoians rally around his progressive agenda.
    How is Biss going to overcome 150-200 million
    And the vertical integration of media shown on another post?
    Your progressive ideas can’t fund a campaign
    Your progressive ideas will never even be heard as Rauner money currently buys a lot of media.
    second place not only gets you nothing
    It ensures that Labor will be destroyed
    In a second Rauner term
    That’s why I personally have a beef
    With Biss’ progressives
    Their privileged drive towards
    A purer more progressive democratic party
    Avenging Bernie
    Is a direct threat to the very existence of
    My Union.
    Beating Rauner is everything
    AFSCME in my opinion
    Can’t survive another Rauner term.


  7. - Joe Bidenopolous - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 11:55 am:

    Daniel once again proves it’s all about Daniel. Tear down the party and enable a second Rauner term, Daniel. If Daniel can’t win, no Democrat should, right buddy?

    Get a freakin’ message that is more substantive than “other guys are rich, whine whine whine” or please, for the sake of all of Illinois, get out.


  8. - Actual Red - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 12:08 pm:

    Honeybear, I respect what you’re saying. I agree that defeating Rauner is absolutely critical.

    But I think embracing the idea that we should nominate the wealthiest candidate is a dark road to travel down. At the end of the day, JB is a businessman with no experience in government. I just don’t think he’d make a better governor than Biss.

    I also think we shouldn’t look past the fact that their are a lot of negatives that might hurt JB’s chances in the general — the Blago connection, though arguably pretty tenuous, still makes an impact, as does the property tax skulduggery, as do the corporate interests, as does his own less-than-stellar record with organized labor.

    And, I don’t think it’s true that Biss is dead in the water in the general. He’s fundraised respectably so far in the primary, and one would hope that JB’s financial contributions toward a democratic victory wouldn’t end in the (unlikely) event of his defeat in the primary.

    I like JB’s policies and I think he would (and likely will) make a solid governor. But I don’t want to live in a world where only billionaires can get elected. Maybe that’s naive.


  9. - Dan Johnson - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 12:33 pm:

    I definitely like Honeybear’s ee cummings style of posting.

    It’s like a beat poet.


  10. - City Zen - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 12:39 pm:

    Has Biss checked where his GARS pension contributions are invested?


  11. - Yiddishcowboy - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 1:07 pm:

    @Joe B @11:55: Bravo. Well said. Couldn’t agree more.


  12. - David - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 1:51 pm:

    Kennedy explained what his partnership was Chicago real estate. I would be interested in what some of Pritzgers or Rauners do. This sector has surged among the top 1 percent. I think we need to know more about this opaque sector. The stock holdings are a yawn like Biss GARS holdings


  13. - Honeybear - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 1:55 pm:

    Actual Red,
    Complete candor here.
    I have the same concerns about Pritzker. He is untested and an open variable. We just won’t know until he’s in how he will govern.
    But none of the candidates would govern or not govern as it were like Rauner.
    Rauner is following the plan laid out in a book that I’ve almost finished. The One Percent Solution by Gordon Laffer
    Rauner is playing a huge role in this plan.
    I truly believe this plan explains Rauners atypical decisions and lack of governing.
    He is laying the foundation of corpora-economic fascism where the Free Market replaces the state. (My words)
    Having said that you can see that I would have concerns about extreme wealth as well.
    And yet I don’t see JB following the road to corpora-economic fascism. I am more impressed and strangely endeared by him with every contact with him and even campaign.
    But as the Athenians said to the Melians
    The strong will do as they will
    And the weak will suffer what they must
    (Melian Dialogue, Thucydides)
    Nothing usurps the necessity to beat Rauner
    Thus
    The calculus of who has the best chances
    Is of prime importance.
    From my personal view and that of the AFL-CIO
    It is JB
    His organization is amazing. It should be. He has hired the best. One of them is the best organizer I have ever personally known. I sit at her knee.
    Regardless Biss is tapping into the need to avenge Bernie by progressives. I get that anger and desire.
    Some day God willing
    But we have a choice
    Are we Melians or Athenians
    We can be right and be destroyed
    Or we do the destroying
    Maybe with regrets
    Maybe with the onus to change
    But we live
    The dead don’t get
    Contracts
    Appropriations
    Funding
    Attention
    Committee meetings
    Representation

    Dead/destroyed political parties, candidates, contractors, unions, agencies, schools, communities, jobs, industries

    Get nothing
    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.


  14. - Veil of Ignorance - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 1:58 pm:

    @Dan Johnson: agree on the Honeybear style…just can’t agree on the content. As to the argument of others here that Biss is helping Rauner, you play to win the game. This primary is a competition that isn’t over until the votes are counted in March. It’s a fair line of attack Biss is taking (based on facts) and Pritzker and Kennedy have an opportunity to respond. More important than the political horse race angle, it raises a key question for voters on how we view extremely wealthy individuals wielding their economic power to obtain even more political power. Is that okay? Are we resigned to that? Tennessee, West Virginia, Minnesota, and Nebraska all have had billionaire governors…this trend will continue but merits a long hard discussion on checks and balances to power.


  15. - Perrid - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 2:09 pm:

    Do we know how much control/input they have in who their money gets invested in? yes it’s their money so they have the final say, but did they decided to invest in tobacco or the pipeline, or was that a business manager or something? I think that would be slightly less hypocritical. Also, making a business decision doesn’t always reflect what you want the world to be, just the way the world is. Those companies make money, like it or not, and so their investors make money. That doesn’t, by default, mean that Kennedy or Pritzker don’t legitimately want to work against those companies in some way. Does make that less likely though.


  16. - Ray del Camino - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 2:11 pm:

    I think if RJ Reynolds or Exxon or pipeline stocks take a hit, JB is going to be just fine. The idea that his principles would be compromised because he owns this or that stock (in a widely diversified portfolio) is silly. A math professor ought to be able to figure that out.


  17. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 3:34 pm:

    Just watched the video. Ouch! It could provided sound bites for an attack ad. J.B. the environmentalist platform and J.B.’s investment portfolio seem to be at serious odds with each other.


  18. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 5:17 pm:

    Clever trick by camp JB by not printing anything in alphabetical order or sorting by ownership instrument, making me instantly more suspicious. CK’s got a lot of blue chip stocks, including a few of AA’s top picks lol. Neither appear to be big bond buyers though on JB’s would take a bit to confirm.


  19. - cc - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 11:59 pm:

    Seems supposedly really smart people think it is in the best interest of citizens to allow fracking and oil pipelines placed between the New Madrid and Wabash Valley Seismic Zones. Well, earthquake created Reelfoot Lake does have nice fishing.


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