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*** UPDATED x1 *** New Griffin gun stock story prompts intense round of finger-pointing

Thursday, May 19, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller


Billionaire Kenneth Griffin’s financial empire expanded its holdings in gun and ammunition stocks this spring, newly-filed records show, while he and his favored GOP gubernatorial candidate, Richard Irvin, hammered Gov. JB Pritzker for rampant violent crime.

Griffin’s $51 billion hedge fund, Citadel, and its market-making cousin, Citadel Securities, increased the value of their gun and ammunition manufacturing holdings by 62% during the first quarter of this year compared to the final three months of 2021, a company filing with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission shows.

All told, Citadel’s gun and ammunition holdings were worth more than $139 million as of March 31, up from $86 million three months earlier, the records showed. […]

Last February, WBEZ reported how gun manufacturers in which Citadel invested produced one in four recovered firearms from Chicago homicides during the past five years.

Citadel maintained that it was compelled to hold shares in those gun companies because of its role as a market maker, but Griffin and the company faced criticism from some anti-violence activists because of his stridency in blaming Pritzker personally for rising crime in Chicago.

* From Ken Griffin’s spokesperson Zia Ahmed…

Citadel Securities is the largest equity market maker in the U.S., helping people buy or sell stock in companies they want to invest in to achieve their financial goals — whether to buy a home, fund their children’s education, or save for retirement. It is disappointing that a publicly-funded news organization insists on continuing to deliberately misconstrue our role in the marketplace and parrot sloppy political opposition research from Governor J.B. Pritzker. The violence destroying Chicago is the result of a failure to prosecute criminals, a lack of support for police, and progressive left legislation that prioritizes criminals ahead of law-abiding citizens – policies perpetuated by the Governor.

A “publicly-funded news organization.” Hmm.

* From Ken Griffin…

There’s an old adage, ‘Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty while the pig likes it.’ When great companies like Boeing decide to leave our State it should be a wake up call that policies not politics matter. The Governor should focus on making our streets safer, improving our schools, and creating more jobs in Illinois

Not sure that Boeing left for such parochial reasons, but whatevs.

* Natalie Edelstein at the Pritzker campaign…

Ken Griffin is entirely unserious about making our state safer and this massive increase in investments is just further proof. One out of every four guns recovered from city homicides in the past five years came off the assembly lines of companies in which Griffin’s Citadel held shares––and when faced with that information Griffin doubled down. Just like his hand-picked gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin, Griffin will say anything to save face in public, but Illinoisans can see right through their tired act and know where their loyalties lie.

It’s still kind of a stretch.

* Eleni Demertzis at the Irvin campaign…

Mayor Irvin is a supporter of the 2nd amendment, owns two licensed firearms and believes Mr. Griffin, like everyone else in this country, is free to invest in whatever industry he chooses. Everyone agrees the spike in violent crime is directly related to the radical anti-police, pro-criminal policies pushed by JB Pritzker and Kim Foxx. To get violent crime under control, throw Pritzker out of office, repeal his radical pro-criminal policies, empower the police to do their jobs and pass a constitutional amendment to allow voters to recall pro-criminal prosecutors like Kim Foxx. 

The spike in violent crime has been national.

Anyway, your thoughts?

*** UPDATE *** A spokesperson for Boeing just called to say that the company is not leaving Chicago. “We’re going to continue employing 400 people in the area.”

The spokesperson also pushed back at Griffin’s notion that the company left because of crime or other issues. “I can confirm that is not the case,” he said.


  1. - fs - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 9:55 am:

    Politically for Pritzker I get trying to frame Griffin/Irvin as gun nuts, but I have zero issue with investing in companies like Smith & Wesson, etc.. Its a legal product, used by many for self defense, and the focus should really be on what happens after it’s sold. Maybe the Pritzker camp is simply unaware that Firearms manufacturing has a long history and presence in Illinois, even to this day. Would Pritzker suggest the manufacturers like Springfield Armory and Rock River, etc, who employ thousands of Illinoisans, leave the State?

  2. - Da big bad wolf - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:01 am:

    === Everyone agrees the spike in violent crime is directly related to the radical anti-police, pro-criminal policies pushed by JB Pritzker and Kim Foxx.===

    They do? Everyone agrees? What anti-police policies? Like hiring more of them?
    Or the Violent Crime Witness Protection Act, authorizes funding for an expanded version of the Gang Crime Witness Protection Act as well as funding for tiplines. Because getting witnesses to talk to the police is alway “pro-criminal.”

  3. - ;) - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:01 am:

    Do democrats really believe attacking markets, while inflation is at one of the highest levels it has ever been, gas has reached its highest prices in all 50 states ($4.00+/gallon) for the first time ever in history, and people have watched their 401k deplete by 30% over the last month? Talk about head in the sand.

  4. - Give Us Barabbas - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:02 am:

    It’s a fair hit regarding Griffin’s hypocracy. “The shareholders made me do it” is no excuse, Ken. Other companies can and do make ethical choices about stuff like this.

  5. - 47th Ward - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:04 am:

    I hear Citadel is starting a new fund to put their clients into the flame thrower business. It’s pretty hot right now.

  6. - Pundent - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:06 am:

    =Everyone agrees the spike in violent crime is directly related to the radical anti-police, pro-criminal policies pushed by JB Pritzker and Kim Foxx.=

    Everyone? Because I don’t agree and I wouldn’t consider myself a radical or a liberal. And if I don’t believe Irvin has correctly defined the problem how can he convince me that he’s capable of fixing it?

    Passing a constitutional amendment to recall a duly elected public official in Cook County shows how out of touch and willing to pander Richard Irvin is. Would Irvin do that before or after refusing to pardon Mike Madigan?

  7. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:07 am:

    Seem like a sloppy attempt to paint Griffin/Irvin with Gun violence. First Smith & Wesson/Sturm, Ruger, and Co do not sell directly to consumers – all new inventory is sold elusively through licensed FFL dealers – and no matter which state you’re in, buyers go through an FBI background check. Citadel also reduced holdings in the pure play firearm companies. The other two companies mentioned Olin and Vista Outdoors – sell a wide variety of products besides ammunition. Olin is a leading manufacturer of industrial chemicals. Vista sells Camlebak hydration packs, Bell Motorcycle helmets and outdoor grills. The article also buries Griffin’s donations…

    Last week, Griffin contributed $25 million to launch two academies at the University of Chicago to underwrite six months of training for police leaders in Chicago and elsewhere and to those running violence interruption groups. In 2018, Griffin donated $10 million to the university’s Crime Lab.

  8. - Patch - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:08 am:

    Grif is a hypocrite who is profiting off the very crime he decries and the candidate he purchased just parrots the tough on crime talking points from the consultants Grif paid without any real solutions. Pretty simple message to throw in a TV commercial. Gun manufacturers are being held liable for the massacres that occur with their weapons. Grif propping up these companies for profit is fair game.

  9. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:08 am:

    How can we truly fight violent crime with such a free flow of illegal guns, and the utterly permissive attitude of the GOP on guns? The Pritzker campaign should and probably will counter hard with the illegal gun profiting, and Irvin’s support of it.

    Griffin never cared about crime until it could be used as a political weapon. That much is obvious. He and Rauner purposely starved social services and violence prevention funding, and the entire state.

  10. - Because I said so.... - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:10 am:

    In my opinion, there is morality in ones investment portfolio.

  11. - Blue Dog - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:13 am:

    I’m starting to like this Griffin fellow more every day. From one gun nut to another.

  12. - Jocko - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:14 am:

    ==focus on making our streets safer, improving our schools, and creating more jobs==

    Those things all cost money…which you’d rather direct toward Irvin’s hapless campaign.

  13. - Lord of the Fries - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:16 am:

    How is Griffin profiting off of illegal gun sales that are used to commit these crimes.

    If gun stocks are climbing its more than likely its from law-abiding consumers buying guns for protection.

    Griffin isn’t getting any commission off of back alley gun sales.

  14. - JS Mill - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:18 am:

    =Would Pritzker suggest the manufacturers like Springfield Armory and Rock River, etc, who employ thousands of Illinoisans, leave the State?=

    Bit of a strawman there.

    The point isn’t what investments are allowable. IN that regard Irvin is actually right. So is the right to own a gun (I have many handguns and long guns and a CCL. But a 2nd Amendment fetishist, I am not). The issue is Griffin’s attacks on Pritzker on the crime issue, especially violent crime as an investor in gun mfr’s that are responsible for 25% of the guns used in Chicago homicides. Hypocritical if you are, at any level, part of the issue.

    It is like owning part of a brewery and complaining about drunks.

  15. - Arsenal - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:20 am:

    ==Do democrats really believe attacking markets==

    Do you really think you’re gonna convince many people to connect guns to gas prices? Please go touch some grass.

  16. - City Zen - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:20 am:

    ==this massive increase in investments==

    From 0.17% to 0.27% is massive?

  17. - Arsenal - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:24 am:

    == The other two companies mentioned Olin and Vista Outdoors – sell a wide variety of products besides ammunition.==

    And yet, if reducing violence was really your priority, you wouldn’t invest in them, either.

    But reducing violence is not Griffin’s priority, and that’s why he recruited a criminal defense attorney who went around promising to fix his girlfriend’s arrests to run for Governor. Griffin’s just big mad that another billionaire dared to admit that they could all stand to pay more taxes. You don’t have to pretend to fall for it.

  18. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:24 am:

    “Please go touch some grass.”

    Sir/madam, I tip my hat.

  19. - Old and In the Way - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:25 am:

    Speaking of gun manufacturing in Illinois, did anyone else catch this?

  20. - thechampaignlife - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:31 am:

    If this was 1943 and the investments were for Zyklon-B manufacturers, history would not look kindly, market maker or not.

  21. - The Snowman - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:31 am:

    I have no problem with gun manufacturers. I do have a problem with criminals possessing firearms illegally and deciding to fire that weapon. I also have an issue of politicians trying to make it more difficult for a person to legally have a firearm, leaving them vulnerable to the criminals that disobey the laws.

  22. - Excitable Boy - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:32 am:

    - Never wrestle with a pig -

    I’m sure Grif has been dying to use this on Pritzker. What a fragile, childish dude.

  23. - TR - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:32 am:

    == Everyone agrees ==

    More dumb-downed Trump speak. I suppose it’s better than “a lot of people are saying.”

  24. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:34 am:

    Hypocrisy is the magic word (as others point out). Having anti-crime as a central campaign issue but fully supporting illegal guns, so many of which are used in homicides, can be countered. The Pritzker campaign has it right, and has financial resources to attack that position.

  25. - Blue Dog - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:42 am:

    fully supporting illegal guns?

  26. - fs - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:46 am:

    == but fully supporting illegal guns==

    How, exactly, are the guns they manufacture illegal?

  27. - The Dude Abides - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:50 am:

    I don’t see the big deal in Griffin investing in companies that produce guns or ammunition. He’s not breaking any laws. We live in a country with a lot of people who like guns, whether it be for target shooting or hunting.

  28. - Blue Dog - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:52 am:

    we may need that crack DHS disinformation board to review some of these comments.

  29. - Huh? - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 10:55 am:

    Obviously, the way to fight crime is to put more guns on the street. /s

    That being said, can’t find many placed with any appreciable amounts of ammo.

  30. - Amalia - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 11:12 am:

    Follow the money. Period. Full stop. You don’t want violence? Don’t fund the instruments of violence. somehow this country can’t control it’s impulses with weapons in hand. stop the spread. Divest.

  31. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 11:14 am:

    Griffin and Irvin apparently don’t care that Griffin guns are used in almost a quarter of Chicago homicides. Heck, they double down on it. They’re flippant about it: “Well, it’s only .0000 something percent of all investments.” “Griffin can invest however he wants.” Flippant about so much pain and harm. That looks like full support. Waiting for Irvin’s position on gun control.

    “we may need that crack DHS disinformation board”

    Coming from the right wing and Trump supporters, that is so funny. But it’s not really funny, because Griffin’s guy DeSantis is using government to stifle free speech and attack opponents, all while the right cries about freedom of speech and cancel culture.

  32. - Juice - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 11:58 am:

    Welp, while Griffin may be increasing his interests in gun manufacturers, looks like he will now be divesting himself of whatever Boeing stock he happens to hold.

  33. - Moe Berg - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:00 pm:

    So Griffin is calling the state’s governor a “pig.”

    At thee end of the day, underneath the billions and Great Man pretensions, he’s just a shallow frat bro.

    Boeing’s leaving our state for the sake of better government influence peddling, something an under-regulated hedge fund honcho can surely appreciate.

  34. - Arsenal - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:03 pm:

    To the update, Griffin is not doing himself or his candidate any favors if he’s making Boeing come out and correct the record.

  35. - Baloneymous - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:09 pm:

    Boeing corrected a billionaire. Thank goodness Griffin is not rich enough to buy them.

  36. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:12 pm:

    Where does Griffin stand…on flame throwers?

  37. - Norseman - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:28 pm:

    Griffin grumbling, “I hate it when people dispute my narrative.”

  38. - MisterJayEm - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:30 pm:

    “First Smith & Wesson/Sturm, Ruger, and Co do not sell directly to consumers”

    And Benjamin Moore may not have sold their lead paint directly to consumers, their product still gave children brain damage.

    – MrJM

  39. - Baloneymous - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:34 pm:

    ===And Benjamin Moore…===

    and Purdue Pharma didn’t sell Oxy directly to patients…

  40. - Annonin' - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:41 pm:

    Continued to be uncertain why a “Market maker” needs to increase a holding. Generally these firms are backstop to make sure their are folks on both sides of a transaction. Perhaps some Capt Fax Wall Street nerd could enlarge? Tusk you out there?

  41. - JS Mill - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:58 pm:

    = ==this massive increase in investments==

    From 0.17% to 0.27% is massive?=

    It was a 62% increase. Yes, massive.

    And Boeing is staying put.

    And Illinois’ population is growiing.

    Narratives corrected.

  42. - Real - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 1:07 pm:

    A sad reality when a billionaire who can sail into the sunset not having to work ever again would rather use millions to fund a corrupt candidate. A candidate that is self seeking and who will do nothing to improve our the lives of people in this state if ever elected.

  43. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 1:32 pm:

    ” … buyers go through an FBI background check.”

    You might want to reconsider that “backstop” …

  44. - NickNombre - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 1:57 pm:

    A market maker maintains inventory of all the stocks in which they trade. The amount of inventory of each stock they need to carry fluctuates based on market activity. I expect if you did a historical analysis of Citadel Securities firearm related holdings you will find they go up and down all the time based on the size of the market for those securities.

  45. - Chris - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 2:05 pm:

    “manufacturers like Springfield Armory and Rock River, etc, who employ thousands of Illinoisans”

    It appears that Springfield Armory employs between 100 and 200, and Rock River employs about 100.

    Who are the “etc” who employ thousands?

  46. - thechampaignlife - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 2:13 pm:

    ===Who are the “etc” who employ thousands?===

    Gotta fluff up the numbers to count the ‘true’ impact. E.g., those 250 employees generate six times (or pick a number) the revenue by investing their hard earned dollars back into their own communities, buying homes and cars, groceries and school supplies, and so on.

  47. - fs - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 2:41 pm:

    ==Who are the “etc” who employ thousands?==

    Springfield Armory is currently expanding and will be closer to 400 employees.

    There are a lot more manufacturers in the State than most probably realize. And the overall economic impact of the industry is not small. If there are those who would like that to go away, you are free to make that argument. Good luck explaining your position to the regions of the State that are supported by it, though.

  48. - Springfieldish - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 2:50 pm:

    We’re surprised that Irvin’s Oligarch lied about and misrepresented his gun holdings? The more street crime, the more guns the yutz’s convince folks to buy, the more guns go to folks that shouldn’t have’m and a few rounds of bullets for all of’m, yup Ol Oligarch Griffin’s laughin’ all the way to the bank. And the joke’s on us.

  49. - City Zen - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 3:43 pm:

    ==It was a 62% increase. Yes, massive.==

    In a $51 billion portfolio in which said investment comprised a fraction of a percent.

    I suppose it’s all relative, though. Like when Illinois increased the state income tax 67%. Now that was indeed massive.

  50. - Da big bad wolf - Friday, May 20, 22 @ 5:21 am:

    ===67%. Now that was indeed massive.===
    And needed.

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