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Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Millionaires Have Golden Ticket To The Man On Five

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Millionaires Have Golden Ticket To The Man On Five

The Chicago Reader has a great story about who gets face time with Mayor Rahm Emanuel. After filing a Freedom of Information Act request, the Reader obtained a copy of the mayor’s in-house schedule, which records his minute-by-minute movements, for June, July and August. The best way to get the mayor’s attention? Give him money. The mayor loooooves money, and he loves people who have money.

The Reader reports that Mayor 1% shared hour-long breakfasts at the Chicago Club with fellow 1%-ers Bill Downe, CEO of Bank of Montreal, and Mark Furlong, CEO of Harris Bank.

Downe and Furlong are the kind of guys Mayor Emanuel often makes time for: rich, influential, and frequently at odds with organized labor and other progressive groups that historically made up the base of Emanuel's Democratic Party.
Downe earned more than $10 million last year, landing a 28 percent raise during a period of economic stagnation, and Furlong made $24 million when Harris Bank took over Marshall & Ilsley, the bank he led previously. While Downe has largely steered clear of party politics, Furlong has donated money to Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, a Republican who made headlines this year for ending the collective bargaining rights of state employees.

The article also contrasts Emanuel’s guest list with that of his predecessor, Richard M. Daley, who entertained more provincial company.

Richard M. Daley is a Chicago guy, born and raised. Except for his college years in Providence, Rhode Island, he's stayed here all of his life. And it shows in the people who had his ear: in addition to pols and big-shot business leaders, his meeting schedule was packed with the ministers of small churches, local school leaders, and owners of neighborhood businesses like the local sausage shop.
Emanuel, on the other hand, grew up in the north suburbs, went to college in New York, and spent the better part of the last two decades in Washington, first as an aide in the Clinton White House, then as a congressman, and finally, for almost two years, as Obama’s chief of staff.
Much of his mayoral schedule is taken up by meetings and calls with wealthy out-of-towners, many of whom have donated to his campaign.

This sounds like another issue for the Occupy Chicago protestors. The wealthiest 1% of Americans are getting far more than their fair share of meetings with the mayor.

Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!

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