Citadel CEO Ken Griffin has donated a record-smashing $2.5 million to the campaign of Bruce Rauner, Illinois' Republican nominee for governor.
It is the largest single political contribution from a donor to candidate in state history, and increases Griffin's total offerings to Rauner to $3.57 million.
The Chicago-based billionaire submitted the cash to Rauner's campaign on Wednesday, the day before Rauner released his much-hyped, much-mocked plan to reform what he deems wasteful government spending.
Earlier this year, the founder of Citadel, an $18 billion hedge fund, contributed $150 million to Harvard, his alma mater, to be used for students' financial aid. Griffin himself is worth $5.2 billion.
He's an active political funder for a range of politicians from former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley to current boss Rahm Emanuel on the Democratic side to Republicans including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and presidential also-ran Mitt Romney. (As PandoDaily recently reported, Griffin considers Emanuel a "good friend" and allegedly purchased millions of shares of stock in Marriott in the months leading up to the city's decision to give the company a lucrative contract for a new hotel.)
Griffin sat on Rauner's exploratory committee before the super-rich venture capitalist from Winnetka announced his gubernatorial campaign last year.
"I imagine Mr. Griffin is eager for a reformer like Bruce, who is willing to shake things up in Springfield and deliver results for the people of Illinois, to become governor," Rauner's rep, Mike Schrimpf, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Reacting to the news, incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn's campaign sniffed that Rauner had unfairly un-capped state limits for campaign financing by taking advantage of a provision that removes restrictions on spending when a candidate tosses in at least $250,000 of his or her own money. (Rauner has gone above and beyond that, having personally spent almost $7 million in the past year. His war chest is now up to $8.3 million since March's primary victory, while Quinn has netted $1.3 million.)
“It is notable that one year ago, we were abiding by the campaign contribution limits put in place by Gov. Quinn that ended Illinois being the 'Wild Wild West' of campaign finance," said Quinn spokesperson Brooke Anderson. "Then Mr. Rauner came along and single-handedly smashed those campaign contribution limits so that he and his billionaire pals could try to take over in Illinois."