Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 - Kennedy slams Pritzker *** Pritzker is spreading around a ton of cash
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*** UPDATED x1 - Kennedy slams Pritzker *** Pritzker is spreading around a ton of cash

Friday, Mar 9, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Scott Kennedy’s extremely handy dandy website pinged me yesterday about a $43,000 independent expenditure by the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association. It looked like radio ads on behalf of JB Pritzker. I reached out to the IDCCA and they sent it over.

Glenn Poshard is featured

Coincidentally, I’m sure, Pritzker’s campaign contributed $49,500 to the IDCCA a few months ago.

* And that got me to thinking about how much Pritzker was spreading around. His campaign has contributed almost $618,000 to other campaign committees, with the largest being a whopping $200,000 to the St. Clair County Democrats last month.

Most, but not all, of the rest appears to be “street money” to ward, township and county Democratic organizations. The scale of this is pretty amazing. For instance, Pritzker’s campaign gave $15K to the 37th Ward Organization and $10K to Democratic organizations in the 8th Ward, Lyons Township, 34th Ward and a few others (some are repeats). $5K each was given to 26 committees (some repeats). And 28 other contributions were made of less than $5K. Click here for the full list.

You can cover a whole lot of precincts with money like that.

* By contrast, Chris Kennedy’s campaign has made $9,550 in contributions to other committees, but $5K of that went to Personal PAC (although Pritzker got the endorsement and kicked in far more).

And Sen. Daniel Biss’ campaign has given other committees just $4,000 since the beginning of last year. And half of that went to Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, who now backs Pritzker.

*** UPDATE *** Sun-Times

Chris Kennedy on Friday accused billionaire rival J.B. Pritzker of trying to buy forgiveness for insulting comments he made about black politicians in a wiretapped conversation with Rod Blagojevich — with $159,000 in contributions to Cook County Democratic ward bosses, many of them African-American. […]

“Since J.B. Pritzker started his apology tour for those comments about African American leadership, he’s s given $374,000 to political organizations across the state, more than $159,000 of which went to committeemen in the Cook County Democratic Party,” Kennedy said.

“He’s taken pay-to-play politics and amplified the system from pay-to-play to fund-to-forgive and fee-to-forget. He’s buying off the leadership.”

The always outspoken Austin was furious when told of Kennedy’s charge.

“I’ve sat quiet long enough. And I’m not gonna sit and die and let Chris Kennedy slander me. The hell with Chris Kennedy. I’m more than insulted by this so and so. Nobody can buy Carrie. Nobody! J.B. didn’t give me a dime when I endorsed him. Not one dime,” Austin said, her voice rising.”


  1. - Amalia - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:09 am:

    cue the Pink Floyd song.

  2. - Almost the Weekend - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:11 am:

    Over/under 66 percent FOR JB in East Saint Louis. I can’t believe he gave $200k, literally he’s leaving no chance.

  3. - Arsenal - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:14 am:

    He’s going to have built an honest-to-goodness statewide party without ever touching DPI.

  4. - Rutro - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:15 am:

    He must be taking Blago’s advice.
    Nothing for you Sierra Club!

  5. - SAP - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:19 am:

    Arsenal: That is similar to what Bruce Rauner did with the near lifeless body of the Illinois Republican Party 4 years ago.

  6. - Flip357 - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:19 am:

    “If you build it, he will come.”

  7. - ILDemVoter - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:24 am:

    DPI has had tons of cash for years though, this is unlike the Rauner narrative where he had to rebuild this way because the GOP didn’t exists. Makes me think JBs money was just padding pockets…

  8. - Big Joe - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:24 am:

    Let’s face it, he’s got a great bunch of troops on the ground. That will get him elected.

  9. - Bobio - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:38 am:

    The title of JB’s show for the next 10 11 days will be, “Politicians in cars driving around with cash.”

  10. - Arsenal - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:45 am:

    ==DPI has had tons of cash for years though==

    But it’s always focused on House Dems and a couple MJM special projects.

    But there does remain a big difference between this and Rauner circa ‘14, in that there are existing major Dem stakeholders (MJM, Durbin, I dunno, Rahm?) and they’re unlikely to go away. JB won’t be the only game in town the way Rauner was.

  11. - Sue - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 11:01 am:

    J.B. is the definition of a FAT CAT

  12. - Hiawatha - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 11:16 am:

    First, I do want to see a Democrat win in the general election. However, I am struggling with the issue of spending. Maybe more than an ethical issue, I see this as a moral issue. Does the end of winning justify the means of unlimited spending? To me, this doesn’t fit with the ideology of the Party. Couldn’t these dollars serve a better purpose, more aligned with what this candidate and the other Democrats espouse? I don’t have a clear solution here…I just know this is NOT what I support.

  13. - Back to the Future - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 11:21 am:

    I get it.
    Grandfather left him a lot of money.
    I also think he spent a lot of money and time helping
    different well regarded and respected groups that do great work. That is a good thing.
    What I don’t get is spending all this money to find out 60% to 70% of registered Democrats don’t support his effort to be the Illinois Governor. Many Democrats could have told him this a year ago for a cup of coffee.

  14. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 11:38 am:

    ===DPI has had tons of cash for years though, this is unlike the Rauner narrative where he had to rebuild this way because the GOP didn’t exists===

    Are you nuts?

    Where does DPI do local party building unless it involves a House race?

  15. - Sputnik - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 11:46 am:

    A ton of cash equals literally equals $908K, assuming the tons comprises $1 bills

  16. - illini - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 11:50 am:

    From my experience in previous campaigns going back over 30 years I can vouch for the fact that those local committeemen and organizations will expend no effort to promote any candidate unless they get their “street money”. And these are largely in precincts that have a fairly large controlled vote where the outcome can be predicted.

    So that $200,000 invested in St. Clair County was probably a good bet. Not saying that is the way it should be, but it is the way it is.

  17. - ILDemVoter - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 11:52 am:

    You’re correct in that DPI has spent most of the funds investing in House races- but the point being, is there has been enough capital and investment over the years to do statewide, local party building, but that is not how resources were chosen to be allocated. The statewide party apparatus should not be focusing on solely the House- the whole structure of power and resource allocation in IL needs to be reconstructed IMHO.

  18. - Thomas Paine - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 11:57 am:


    Rauner vastly outspent opponents only received 40 percent of the vote in the primary in 2014.

    Blagojevich vastly outspent his primary opponents in 2002 and received only 37 percent of the vote.

    A win is a win, and your margin of victory in the primary is not the only barometer of your prospects in the fall.

    Think of it like a poker tournament: you don’t want to go “all in” in the first round just so you can say you blew out your opponents. Why make risky decisions in the first round when the goal is to make it to the finals?

  19. - Comment - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 12:10 pm:

    Jb pritzker is the worst candidate. I would even vote Hardman, dauber and Marshall over him

  20. - SaulGoodman - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 12:11 pm:

    **Where does DPI do local party building unless it involves a House race?**

    Ha - the don’t even do local party building in those areas where it DOES involve a House race. In fact, they often explicitly refuse to work with the local party (or the corresponding Senate candidate).

  21. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 12:21 pm:

    === will expend no effort to promote any candidate unless they get their “street money”===

    Yep. Just ask Glenn Poshard. When he met with committeemen and chairmen he asked them for money. They looked at him like he’d lost his mind.

  22. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 12:22 pm:

    ===A ton of cash equals literally===

    I see the Biss campaign is back. /s

  23. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 12:28 pm:

    Good field operations make sure the wheels ha e eviugh grease to work when called upon.

    Why set up all those offices and make all those connection if when you need them most they don’t have the operational funds to do what needs to be done?

    If anything, Pritzker supporters should feel a bit better that Pritzker is doing all that needs their be done these last two weeks…

  24. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 12:39 pm:

    ==He’s going to have built an honest-to-goodness statewide party without ever touching DPI.==

    This is why dems should back Pritzker over the other candidates, assuming policy stances are equal. Deposing Madigan is the most important thing (politics-wise) Illinois dems can do this year. I would argue it’s more important than defeating Rauner for the long term health of the state party because let’s face it, Illinois republicans have literally nothing else to run on this year or in 2020 without Madigan as a boogeyman. This is how it would start, by making sure every single dem in the state knows that they do not have to depend on Madigan’s DPI for support. If they don’t depend on him for cash and field staff, they don’t have to support him for party chair or speaker. Next would be wide-spread calls for his resignation as party chair (as opposed to the few we have already seen), then calls for a vote of no confidence. If he doesn’t voluntarily resign by this point, finally support someone to challenge him for speaker.

    I think Pritzker is smart enough to realize Madigan needs to go, but the question is whether he has the stones to go through with it. Usurping someone as powerful as Madigan isn’t ever going to be easy or quick. I think Biss and Kennedy might want to do it, but they simply don’t have the resources.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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