Gold Rush Amusements, one of the largest distributors of video poker gaming machines in Illinois, is still donating money to Chicago aldermen even though Mayor Emanuel remains opposed to its legalization within city limits.
In January, the company wrote a $2,500 check to Ald. Michelle Harris (8). Two months ago the company donated $1,000 to Ald. Joe Moreno (1) and Ald. Raymond Lopez (15). Lopez introduced an ordinance in the Council last year to make video gaming legal in Chicago, but Mayor Emanuel immediately squashed that plan, telling reporters the day it was introduced he would never approve it. The company has already given money to 31st Ward Ald. Milly Santiago ($2,500) and 40th Ward Ald. Pat O’Connor ($300). The 33rd Ward Regular Democratic Organization, run by the ward’s Democratic Committeeman and former alderman Dick Mell, received a $10,000 donation from the company, too.
Since creating a new campaign committee on January 7, Ald. Harris has reeled in quite the campaign cash. Her first two reported campaign transfers to the new Citizens for Michelle Harris campaign fund are large: one $25,000 check was from theConstruction & General Laborers’ District Council of Chicago, another $53,900 check was from the UA Political Education Committee. 27th Ward Democratic Committeeman Walter Burnett transferred $10,000 to Harris’ campaign, as did Ald. Ed Burke (14), with a $1,000 donation to Harris from his personal campaign fund.
City Treasurer Kurt Summers brought in $24,400 in donations, all of which were dated on the January 11th. The biggest check he received, $5,400, the maximum allowable contribution, was from Killerspin, LLC., a table tennis facility near Grant Park owned by Robert Blackwell, Jr., founder of Electronic Knowledge Interchange, a government technology contractor. Like Ald. Harris, Summers got money from theConstruction and General Laborers’ PAC, put they gave him far less than Harris: $5,000. Summers’ also got a $1,000 check from former 43rd Ward alderman andKirkland & Ellis attorney Bill Singer.
Chicago for Rahm Emanuel, the Mayor’s candidate committee, declared $36,581.66 from Stand For Children Illinois, PAC for postage and mail. Emanuel’s overall fundraising fell short of December’s amounts, when he brought in more than $100,000 in contributions. In January, he received three donations: $5,000 from Wellness Healthcare Partners, a home health agency for senior citizens; $1,500 from Bruce P. Weisenthal, an attorney with Schiff Harden, LLP; and $1,500 from Paul Meister, Vice Chairman of GCM Grosvenor, a global investment firm.
South Loop Ald. Pat Dowell (3) and downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42) continue to bring in a lot of campaign cash, well beyond that of their colleagues on the City Council.
For the past few months, Ald. Dowell has been reporting checks from the real estate industry. The trend continued in January: Dowell reported a little over $17,000 in total donations, which includes contributions from the prominent zoning law firm DLA Piper($1,500), South Loop Chicago Development ($1,500), and Holsten Real Estate Development Corporation ($1,500). Ald. Dowell also received a $5,000 donation fromErnest Sawyer Enterprises, a consulting firm run by Ald. Roderick Sawyer’s (6) brother. The company was hired by the city in 2014 to draft an analysis recommending the establishment of the then controversial Washington Square Park Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district.
Meanwhile, Ald. Reilly brought in an additional $35,500 to his personal campaign fund in individual contributions ranging between $1,000 and $2,500. Most of the donations were from the real estate industry, too.