As he bankrolls Richard Irvin’s bogus “law and order” campaign and parades as a public safety advocate, billionaire Ken Griffin has firms with millions of dollars invested in gun and ammunition manufacturing companies.
New reporting from WBEZ details how Griffin’s “$46 billion hedge fund — Citadel — and its corporate cousin had investments and holdings in gun and ammunition manufacturing companies, federal securities records show.”
WBEZ continues that in Chicago: “one out of every four guns recovered from city homicides in the past five years came off the assembly lines of companies in which Citadel held shares — weapons that have played a role in the same, worsening crime wave that Griffin blames on the governor.”
This news comes after the Chicago Tribune slammed Irvin for his record of profiting off of helping clients accused of kidnapping, domestic violence, and other crimes he calls out in campaign ads escape accountability.
Meanwhile, Gov. JB Pritzker has more than doubled funding to reduce gun violence since he took office. Gov. Pritzker recently announced he’s directing $150 million to organizations working to prevent violence through his Reimagine Public Safety Act, which aims to address the root causes of firearm violence in Illinois through targeted, integrated behavioral health services, access to economic opportunities, and violence interruption and prevention programs.
Over the weekend, WBEZ reported Ken Griffin’s hedge fund, Citadel, and its related companies hold at least $86 million in investments in several gun manufacturers. In fact, WBEZ’s analysis shows that nearly one out of every four guns recovered from Chicago homicides in the past five years were made by companies in which Citadel held shares.
Griffin has already poured $20 million into Richard Irvin’s campaign, the head of the Rauner Reboot slate of statewide candidates, as well as more than $100,000 into the Illinois Republican Party. While Griffin’s companies hold tens of millions in gun investments, Irvin and other Republicans are shamelessly trying to politicize crime as a campaign issue for the fall. This comes after Irvin was already caught hiding his history as a criminal defense attorney who helped those accused of domestic violence, kidnapping, assaulting police officers, and other heinous crimes.
So does “tough on crime” Richard Irvin have a problem taking money from Ken Griffin’s gun investments? Nope – a campaign official told WBEZ, “Irvin does not take issue with Citadel’s investments and holdings.”
Those doing anti-violence work disagree. Here’s what Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of Faith Community of St. Sabina, told WBEZ:
“You absolutely cannot be a voice about crime and murder or shootings on our streets when your company is a major investor in gun manufacturers. It’s absolutely hypocritical…How do you talk about what the governor is doing about crime when you are a major investor to the very industry and the gun manufacturers that are the major contributors to the crime and the violence in our cities. How hypocritical is that?”
* Irvin campaign…
J.B. Pritzker’s statement of economic interest proves he knew his supposed “blind trust” invested in Centene, a vendor with whom he granted one of the largest state contracts in Illinois. Despite desperate spin from the governor’s spokespeople, the fact is Pritzker personally signed his statement of Economic Interest form on April 29, 2021, that listed Centene as a company in which he invested.
“The people of Illinois are all too familiar with governors trying to profit off state contracts - see Rod Blagojevich - but a billionaire doing it takes this scandal to an entirely new level,” said Irvin for Illinois Campaign spokesperson Eleni Demertzis. “These are very serious allegations, and the governor must explain how much money he made off the Centene investment and why he didn’t instruct advisors to not invest in companies with state contracts.”
In the same year that Pritzker invested in Centene, his Administration oversaw several state actions and events that significantly benefited the company’s finances. Since the news broke, the administration will not say if the Governor ever instructed managers of his trust to refrain from investing in any companies with state contracts. It is also unknown how much money the Governor made from this investment.
* I seriously doubt whomever is chosen will be running in the primary because Cullerton was mapped into the 23rd with fellow Senate Democrat Suzy Glowiak Hilton…
Democratic leaders in the state’s 23rd Senate district are working to find a replacement for Sen. Thomas Cullerton with just 20 days remaining until candidates must submit petitions to appear on the June primary ballot.
Cullerton resigned Wednesday as his lawyers indicated he intends to change his plea involving corruption charges against him.
* The local news media headlines have so far been few and modest, the mailers and TV ads have yet to hit, so take this with a gigantic grain of salt, particularly since no negatives were pushed…
Rep. Marie Newman’s campaign is heartened by some internal polling that shows she’s running neck and neck with Rep. Sean Casten in the 6th Congressional District Democratic primary.
According to the polling memo obtained by Playbook, the two Democrats each received 37 percent support with 26 percent undecided when first asked about who voters would support. Then, “after hearing positive descriptions of Newman and Casten and no criticisms of either,” Newman edged Casten 48 percent to 39 percent, according to the polling memo.
The memo doesn’t explain what questions were asked but does indicate that the poll was conducted after headlines about the House Ethics Committee looking into whether Newman promised a job to someone in exchange for them not running against her in 2020. The poll also was conducted before news came out about a complaint alleging Casten’s 2018 campaign illegally worked with a super PAC funded by his father to air attack ads against his primary opponent at the time.
According to the polling memo, “Forty-seven percent (47%) of 2020 Democratic Primary voters live in Newman’s old C.D. 3, compared to only 21% who reside in the old (Casten) boundaries of C.D. 6.” In other words, Newman is polling right about where she should be at the start and Casten is polling well above where he should be.
* Pastor Corey Brooks has often featured Republican candidates and incumbents at his church or during his events. He hosted Rod Blagojevich the other day and revealed his partisan inclinations…
“People are going to ask me, ‘Okay, pastor, why do you have a former Democratic governor on the rooftop talking to you?’ And my answer to that is when you were the governor, I was on the opposite side. I’m a conservative Republican. So a lot of the policies that you had in place, I didn’t agree with,” the pastor said. “(But) you always allowed me to talk with you…and I appreciated that.”
* Press release…
Today, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, Senate Assistant Majority Leader Tony Munoz, Senator Melinda Bush, Senator Sara Feigenholtz, Senator Elgie Sims, Assistant House Majority Leader Marcus Evans, former Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, former State Senator and State Representative Susan Garrett, and former State Senator Heather Steans announced their endorsement of Judge Elizabeth Rochford in her campaign for the Illinois Supreme Court’s 2nd district.
The current and former elected officials released the following statement in support of Judge Rochford:
“As state legislators who have been on the front lines of some of the biggest policy achievements Illinois has seen, we know that we can never take for granted who is sitting on the bench of the highest court in our state. At a time when there is so much at stake for our state and our democracy as a whole, it’s never been more important to have Supreme Court Justices who have judicial experience and knowledge of the law. That’s why we’re proud to support Judge Elizabeth Rochford, whose expertise is unparalleled in this race. Over the coming years, the Supreme Court will weigh in on a litany of issues that have an impact on the lives and livelihoods of all Illinoisans, and we are confident Judge Rochford will bring the steady, experienced judicial hand we deserve.”
Judge Rochford was recently endorsed by Secretary of State Jesse White, who called her a “brilliant judge” with “superb judicial experience.” Rochford has also been endorsed by the Illinois State AFL-CIO, IUOE Local 399, UFCW Local 881, Plumbers Local Union 130 UA, the Lake County Building & Construction Trades Council and its 18 local affiliate trade unions, and the McHenry County Building & Construction Trades Councils and its 26 local affiliate trade unions.
Following news reports of Illinois gas stations charging drivers more than $4 a gallon to fill up, Republican gubernatorial candidate Jesse Sullivan today pledged to support legislation permanently repealing the 2019 gas tax hike signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
“The governor’s energy agenda not only made Illinoisans more dependent on foreign tyrants like Vladimir Putin to heat their homes and drive their cars, he also forced working families to pay billions of dollars more in gas taxes for the privilege,” Sullivan said.
“With oil prices surging after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and inflation hitting record highs, our leaders must do everything in their power to ensure Illinois families don’t face even more pain at the pump. On day one in Springfield, our administration will support legislation to fully and permanently repeal Pritzker’s gas tax hike.”
…Adding… Would somebody please tell Mr. Sullivan that the Keystone Pipeline originates in a foreign country?…
…Adding… Missed this one…
One of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s top City Council allies said she will “absolutely not” support her campaign for re-election and criticized the mayor for being divisive, comments that reflect broader discontent with Lightfoot’s leadership style as she prepares to seek a second term.
Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza, who Lightfoot tapped to lead the City Council Workforce Development Committee that often handles union contract issues, made the comments in an interview on the Ben Joravsky Show podcast after being asked if she would support the a second term for the mayor.
“I’m tired of being ignored. I’m tired of not getting phone calls returned. I’m tired of letting the inmates run the asylum. Yeah, no. Absolutely not,” Garza said in the podcast, published over the weekend. “I have never met anybody who has managed to p*ss off every single person they come in contact with — police, fire, teachers, aldermen, businesses, manufacturing, and that’s it. I said it. That’s it. I don’t care.”