Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Unions Pay Dues to Preckwinkle

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Unions Pay Dues to Preckwinkle
Unions Pay Dues to Preckwinkle

AP

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Toni Preckwinkle’s campaign filing disclosure would give her opponents plenty of ammunition -- if they had any money of their own to attack her.

Preckwinkle’s campaign for the county board presidency raised $1.3 million in the first half of this year. Compare that to the $19,000 raised by Republican Roger Keats and the Green Party’s Tom Tresser, and you’ll see that this election is going to be a walkover -- a one-horse race.

Preckwinkle’s biggest contributor, by far, was the Service Employees International Union Illinois State PAC, which ponied up $150,000 in cash and $69,425 in in-kind contributions. The SEIU represents 5,500 Cook County Employees. Both of Preckwinkle’s opponents have argued that Preckwinkle’s financial dependence on the union will make it difficult for her to cut county jobs.

“That’s a conflict of interest, as I understand, because she would be sitting across the bargaining table from the SEIU in determining their benefits,” Tresser told Ward Room in May.

The SEIU isn’t the only union that loves Preckwinkle: she also got $25,400 from the Teamsters and $12,000 from the United Food and Commercial Workers.

Among individual contributors, Preckwinkle is being aided by the same network of African-American professionals who bankrolled Barack Obama, with whom she shares a Kenwood address and a multi-racial constituency. She got $5,000 John W. Rogers Jr., of Ariel Capital Management, who has been raising money for Obama since the president was running voter registration drives in the early 1990s. And Preckwinkle received $2,500 from the law firm of Stephen H. Pugh, who held a critical fundraiser for Obama during his U.S. Senate campaign.

Some of Preckwinkle’s other major contributors:

-- $10,000 from Cooney & Conway, which specializes in personal injury lawsuits

-- $10,000 from Richard Driehaus, of Driehaus Capital Management

-- $25,000 from Fred Eychauer, owner of Newsweb

-- $15,000 from Pat Ryan, insurance tycoon

-- $10,000 from Willie Wilson, owner of Omar Medical Supplies

 

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