* Set the Wayback Machine to 2014…
After pulling strings to get his daughter into Walter Payton College Prep, Bruce Rauner, a Republican candidate for governor, became one of the elite Chicago public high school’s biggest benefactors.
The Rauner Family Foundation gave $250,000 to the Payton Prep Initiative for Education on Dec. 14, 2009 — about a year and a half after Rauner called then-Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan to overturn his daughter’s rejection for admission, records examined by the Chicago Sun-Times reveal.
Rauner’s gift was the largest the not-for-profit foundation had received up to that point. It amounts to nearly 30 percent of all the money the group has gotten during its first five years, according to records the Rauner and Payton charities have filed with the state.
Rauner’s gift to the Payton Prep Initiative came two months after his foundation gave $500,000 to the Chicago Public Schools Foundation, run by the school system’s top administrators. His foundation previously had given money to that organization.
Former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner made a $250,000 campaign contribution to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last week after seniors in the uber-wealthy Florida Keys enclave where Rauner owns a home were among the first in the state to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in January.
Rauner’s connection to the favorable treatment first was reported Wednesday by the Miami Herald, which obtained a memo the management of the exclusive Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo sent to residents noting that its medical center had vaccinations for residents age 65 and over while most Floridians struggled to access the shots. DeSantis has used the state’s vaccination program to open special distribution sites in select communities while skipping state and local vaccine registration logs, various Florida news outlets have reported.
“Over the course of the last two weeks, the Medical Center has vaccinated over 1,200 homeowners who qualify under the State of Florida’s Governor’s current Order for those individuals who are 65 years of age or older,” the Ocean Reef Club’s message to residents read, according to the Herald. “We are fortunate to have received enough vaccines to ensure both the first and second for those vaccinated. At this time, however, the majority of the State has not received an allocation of first doses of vaccines for this week and beyond, and the timing of any subsequent deliveries remains unclear.”
In its report, the Herald stated that contributions to DeSantis’ political fund surged amid the disbursement of vaccines, noting the only contributions the Florida governor received from Key Largo were from Ocean Reef residents.
Since DeSantis started using the state’s vaccine initiative to steer special pop-up vaccinations to select communities, his political committee has raised $2.7 million in the month of February alone, more than any other month since he first ran for governor in 2018, records show.
A spokesperson for the governor did not immediately respond to email and telephone messages, but, after the story was published, DeSantis spokesperson Meredith Beatrice said that the governor was not involved in selecting the Ocean Reef Club for the early vaccine distribution. She did not explain how the club obtained so many doses ahead of others. […]
By hand-selecting the communities, DeSantis allows residents to bypass state and local vaccine registration systems and go directly through their community organizations, like the Medical Center at Ocean Reef. […]
The effort has brought scrutiny from DeSantis’ critics as the state’s vaccine distribution appears to be inequitable. By the end of February, only 5.6% of those who’ve been vaccinated in the state are Black, even though Blacks account for 17% of the state’s population, state records show.
He might want to bump up his apparent standard tip. $250,000 in 2014 is equal to $279,568.31 today. /s