A group aligned with the interests of incoming mayor Rahm Emanuel, backed by ample cash from an undisclosed group of donors, has announced four additional endorsements in April's aldermanic runoffs.
For A Better Chicago is a political action committee headed by Greg Goldner, a longtime political hand who managed Rahm Emanuel's successful bid for Congress in 2002. According to campaign finance reports, at the beginning of this week the group had $175,000 in its coffers; it began with an $855,000 donation from its nonprofit arm. As the Chicago Tribune reports, federal law shields nonprofits from releasing the names of their contributors, meaning that that nearly $1 million in donations is completely anonymous.
The organization does have some connections to Emanuel, beyond Goldner's and his shared history. David Herro, a big-time political donor who gave $10,000 directly to the PAC, described their relationship in the same Tribune piece:
"Envision two circles," Herro said. "It's not like the circles are completely over one another, but there is an intersection and it isn't a tiny intersection. I would say two-thirds of the circles are over one another, but I don't think this group is going to be 100 percent loyal to everything Rahm does."
But the Emanuel camp denies any direct connection to the group. “My efforts will be directed by me and my political entity, not some third party group. It's a different group," Emanuel said two weeks ago. He also pressed FBC to disclose its donor list, saying they shouldn't use a “quirk in the law” to keep that information secret. And the group did support some aldermanic candidates who backed Emanuel's opponents in the mayoral race.
Still, of the committee's now eleven endorsements in the aldermanic races, none of them runs counter to the desires of the Emanuel camp.
The Chicago News Cooperative is reporting today that FBC has added incumbent Toni Foulkes and candidates Michael Chandler, Mary O’Connor and Tim Egan in aldermanic races around the city. It is also supporting Emanuel favorites like challenger Debra Silverstein in the 50th Ward, looking to unseat longtime Alderman Bernie Stone, and incumbent Danny Solis in the 25th, hoping to fend off a challenge from Cuahutemoc Morfin.
For A Better Chicago describes itself as "issue advocacy organization, working to ensure taxpayers and their families, businesses and the entire city are engaged and educated on the issues shaping the future of Chicago." It purports to advocate for issues like job creation, education and government transparency, though it remains unclear exactly what issues it hopes to advance in the City Council.