CHICAGO - Chicago billionaire Ken Griffin made history this week when, as an individual, he wrote a check for $2.5 million to Bruce Rauner's gubernatorial campaign. Illinois political historians say it's the biggest single campaign donation in Illinois history.
Citadel CEO Griffin and his wife Anne have been writing checks to Illinois politicians on both sides of the aisle since 2002, when they supported then-Attorney General Jim Ryan in a three-way GOP gubernatorial primary with Lt. Governor Corrine Woods and State Senator Patrick O'Malley.
Thus far this year, the Illinois State Board of Elections reports the Griffins have written several checks to state politicians and candidates, in addition to thousands of dollars in in-kind contributions allowing Rauner to use the Griffins' personal jet.
Soon after Democrat House member Scott Drury stood firm against making the 2011 income tax hike permanent, Griffin wrote Drury a check for $5200. He's also given $200,000 to the "Yes to Independent Maps" effort.
In 2013, the Griffins supported Republican organizations such as the State Senate Campaign, the Illinois Republican Party, and the House Republican Organization, as well as independent PACs and the Rauner campaign. They also donated $5300 to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
In 2012, the Griffins maneuvered $100,000 to the Illinois Republican Party by writing $10,000 checks to several local GOP organizations, who promptly passed along the donations to the state party.
Griffin also wrote a $10,000 check to the Chicago Committee, which is a political action committee run by Paul Levy, who supports Democrat candidates such as Dick Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, Tammy Duckworth and others.
Along with Rauner, Griffin was instrumental in 2010 bringing Stand for Children to Illinois with a check for $500,000. He wrote a $100,000 to Rahm Emanuel, and at the same time wrote checks amounting to $225,000 to State Senator Bill Brady, who was the IL GOP's gubernatorial candidate in 2010.
Before 2010, Griffin supported Democrats Anne Burke for the IL Supreme Court, Mayor Richard Daley, Rod Blagojevich and Republicans Andy McKenna as well as Jim Ryan.
Altogether as of this weekend, the State Board of Elections shows Griffin giving just shy of $6 million to political causes over the years.