Rauner, Pritzker spread their money around to political campaigns and organizations

 
 
Posted10/9/2018 5:31 AM
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  • Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, left, and J.B. Pritzker, his Democratic challenger

    Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, left, and J.B. Pritzker, his Democratic challenger Associated Press

Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker has donated to nearly six times as many political allies as Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner since the start of 2017, but Rauner has dug deeper into his war chest to assist fellow GOP interests.

That's according to an analysis of campaign contribution records available on the Illinois Board of Elections website.

Pritzker has donated $13,264,446 to 101 different political campaigns and organizations since Jan. 1, 2017. Meanwhile, 17 Republican campaigns and organizations have been the recipients of $15,042,895 from Rauner during that same time frame. Both candidates are running largely self-funded campaigns.

"It pretty clearly demonstrates both the major parties are being run by these two individuals who are extraordinarily wealthy," said Madeleine Doubek, vice president of policy at the Better Government Association. "With that comes a concentration of power and implied loyalty to those two people."

Most of Rauner's donations went to the Illinois Republican Party and the House Republican Organization, with the two GOP entities receiving $7,538,571 and $6 million, respectively. GOP attorney general candidate Erika Harold's campaign received more than $1.3 million from Rauner since 2017, according to campaign finance records.

Meanwhile, Democratic attorney general nominee Kwame Raoul's campaign has received more than $1 million from Pritzker, records show.

Pritzker's largest donation was $3 million to the Democratic Majority fund overseen by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. Donations of more than $1 million were also made by Pritzker to the Rock Island County Democratic Central Committee, the Illinois Democratic Heartland Committee, the Senate Democratic Victory Fund and the state Democratic Party.

In the suburbs, Republican township organizations in Schaumburg, Downers Grove and Palatine each received donations from Rauner totaling a combined $46,100. Pritzker donated a combined $48,250 to Democratic organizations in Leyden, Maine, Naperville, Orland, Lyons and Worth townships.

County party organizations also received cash infusions from the candidates. Pritzker gave $540,000 to Cook County Democrats and $8,000 to the DuPage County Democratic Central Committee. Rauner donated $100,000 to the Cook County GOP, $5,000 to Lake County Republicans and $1,000 to the Republican Central Committee of McHenry County, according to the contribution reports.

Pritzker also made nearly $200,000 in donations to various Democratic ward funds in Chicago.

"While it's somewhat natural for the top of the ticket to be assisting parties and legislative caucuses, this has kind of taken it to a whole new level," Doubek said.

Two other gubernatorial candidates, Libertarian Party nominee Kash Jackson and Conservative Party nominee Sam McCann, do not appear to have spread their campaigns' cash to other political entities, according to the reports.

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