Not long ago I posted a story about my dinner with Rahm.
This wasn’t a planned dinner. It was an accident. Anne and I were having dinner at our neighborhood fine dining establishment, the wonderful Lula, and up drove a big black SUV and out came Rahm with some friends who plopped themselves down at the table next to ours.
According to the latest column in the Chicago Reader by Ben Joravsky and Mick Dumke, this may have been the closest that Rahm got to a bunch of regular working stiffs in a long while.
Ben and Mick filed a Freedom of Information Act request for a list of those who The Mayor meets with.
It ain’t folks like me.
Last September, after submitting a FOIA request and badgering mayoral aides for weeks, we received copies of the first months of Emanuel’s daily schedule. We reported in October that it was filled with rich guys who also happened to be some of the mayor’s big-money donors.
This time we asked for the next three months of the calendar: September, October, and November of 2011—a period when GOP presidential candidates battling for the nomination were railing against the White House.
The mayor’s office didn’t respond to our request to discuss Emanuel’s schedule. But once again, we found that his days were loaded with rich guys, campaign donors, powerful contractors, union busters, charter-school supporters, City Hall insiders, aldermanic brownnosers, and other favor seekers.
But during these three months Emanuel found time for another type of visitor: major funders of conservative attacks on President Obama. As such, the mayor’s calendar offers a glimpse of what passes for bipartisanship in Chicago—and shows the ways in which wealth and access, at least as much as party identity or ideology, have come to command the attention of politicians, leaving everyday people out of the conversation.
- Muneer Satter, a managing director at Goldman Sachs. Satter donated $190,000 last year to Restore Our Future, a Romney-affiliated PAC.
- Ken Griffin, CEO of Citadel Investment Group, a hedge fund.
- Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, widely known for defending the “right” of banks to make a profit and proposing to charge account holders a $5 monthly debit card fee.
- Jim Rohr, the $16-million-a-year CEO of PNC Bank, a donor to Romney, the Republican National Committee, conservative former senator Rick Santorum, and the Eagle Forum, which is dedicated to cracking down on “illegal aliens,” limiting abortions, and ending “multiculturalism” in schools—while also freeing the U.S. from United Nations “encroachment.”
- Bruce Rauner, principal and chairman of GTCR, a private equity firm. Rauner is an old friend and repeat visitor who helped fund the creation of four Chicago charter schools. In addition, he’s given $80,000 to the national Republican Party since Obama was elected president.
- Sam Zell, owner of the Tribune, who donated $100,000 to Illinois Stand for Children and its campaign to weaken the teachers union.
- Pat Ryan Jr., scion of the Ryan family, longtime Republican boosters who started Aon Corporation.
Joravsky and Dumke make this important point. Rahm isn’t just not having dinner with poor mopes like me. His meeting companions are not just rich. They’re rich, Republican, Romney sucking, teacher hating, union busting and rich.