Once a venture capitalist, always a venture capitalist.
Bruce Rauner, Illinois' Republican candidate for governor, received $853,450 in campaign donations between July 3-9. He turned around and invested $750,000 into the state's GOP -- the largest-ever contribution to the party by a single candidate, the Chicago Tribune reports.
With November's midterm elections four months away, Rauner is plowing ahead in his efforts to out-spend Democratic incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn. So far, the wealthy Winnetka businessman -- who leads Quinn 51-39 in a new poll -- has raised almost $25.2 million since announcing his candidacy last year. A portion of that includes $6.6 million from Rauner's own pocket and $2.5 million from Chicago hedge fund mogul Ken Griffin.
Rauner's early July checks come courtesy of the Illinois Manufacturing Association, shelling out $250,000 and Thomas Siebel, offering $100,000. Siebel is the CEO of C3, a software company headquartered in Redwood City, Calif.
News of his record-breaking, six-figure investment into Illinois Republican Party comes amid public mea culpas for financing companies that engaged in bad business while he was chairman of the Chicago-based venture capital firm GTCR, which he founded 30-some years ago.
Most damning is GTCR's history of backing American Habilitation Services, a Florida nursing home chain being blamed for the deaths and mistreatment of residents. Its business model was based on turning a profit from residents' Medicare coverage. (Ironically, Rauner's most recent tax returns reveal he used a corporate tax loophole to avoid Medicare payments.)
"All I could say is I wish we were perfect, I wish we always picked the right management team that alwys did the right thing and accomplished the right results," Rauner said Monday, showing a humbler, more vulnerable side than we've previously seen. "That management team failed. It was a bad investment for us. We’re not perfect. What we are proud of is our track record. We’ve generally backed great management teams, we’ve invested in companies that did the right thing, got great results."
Earlier this week, Rauner expressed further regret over investing in a troubled VC firm tied to the son of former Mayor Richard M. Daley.