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WASHINGTON--EMILY'S List hits Chicago on June 27 for a fund-raising event featuring a panel with EMILY's List President Stephanie Schriock; Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan; City of Chicago Treasurer Stephanie D. Neely and MSNBC's Karen Finney.

EMILY'S List helps to bankroll the candidacies of viable females who support abortion rights. EMILY is an acronym from "Early Money is Like Yeast"--it makes the dough rise."

The EMILY's List Chicago Luncheon will be at the Willis Tower with a variety of price points:

*$5,000 Host (includes 10-top table and 4 tickets to Reception)
*$2,500 Sponsor (includes 10-top table and 2 tickets to Reception)
*$1,100 Majority Council Membership* (includes 1 ticket to Reception)
*$100 Renewed Majority Council Member (includes 1 ticket to Reception)
*$150 Luncheon Only Ticket

Why Chicago? According to a spokesman, "Last year we had our first Chicago Regional Conference as part of our Regional Conference series in Houston, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco to come to our members' communities. We are back in Chicago this year because of the overwhelming amount of support from the community. ....Event will be attended by dozens of EMILY's List members and donors, many of whom contributed last year when we raised $52 million for women candidates."

WASHINGTON -- First Lady Michelle Obama, at a fund-raiser for the Democratic National Committee here on Tuesday told a heckler, "One of the things I don't do well is this," according to the pool report.

Obama left the lectern after being interrupted by a woman associated with the pro-LGBT group GetEQUAL, petitioning for tighter anti-discrimination measures against those who act against contractors based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The first lady told the heckler, and the crowd "listen to me or you can take the mic, but I'm leaving. You all decide. You have one choice."

The complete pool report below - UPDATED AT THE BOTTOM

WASHINGTON--President Barack Obama hits Chicago on Wednesday afternoon to headline two fund-raisers for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at the Chicago Hilton and a dinner at the Near North side home of Bettylu and Paul Saltzman. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) landed in Chicago on Tuesday for two days of fund-raising to benefit House Democrats.

Joining Obama and Pelosi are DCCC chairman Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), House Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who, when he was a House member and DCCC chair helped recruit and elect enough Democrats to the House in 2006 to make Pelosi the first female Speaker.

Many members of the Illinois Democrat House delegation are expected, including Reps. Bobby Rush, Bill Foster, Jan Schakowsky, Cheri Bustos and Robin Kelly. The money raised in Illinois will be used for Illinois House races, Pelosi told me in a Monday interview.

The ticket price for the 5 p.m. Hilton event runs from $1,000 to $2,500. The 7 p.m. Saltzman dinner --with about 70 expected--including Schakowsky, former Obama chief of staff Bill Daley and former Obama strategist David Axelrod runs from $10,000 per person to $32,400 per couple.

On Thursday, Kelly, the newest member of the Illinois delegation, hosts Hoyer, the number two Democrat in the House, at a tour of Bimba Manufacturing in University Park and the Chicago Ford Assembly plant, part of a drive to promote the Democrats' "Make it in America" initiative.

Though the Wednesday events are aimed at major donors, the DCCC had a robust April on-line fund-raising drive,
hauling in $1.4 million online with an average donation of $22.

Obama will be overnighting in Chicago

Below, his Chicago schedule:

3:55PM THE PRESIDENT departs the White House
South Lawn

4:10PM THE PRESIDENT departs Joint Base Andrews


5:00PM THE PRESIDENT arrives Chicago
O'Hare International Airport

6:30PM THE PRESIDENT attends a DCCC event
Chicago Hilton
Pool Coverage of the President's remarks

7:45PM THE PRESIDENT attends a DCCC event
Private Residence
Print Pool Only Coverage of the President's remarks

WASHINGTON--Even though fund-raising invites were sent out weeks ago--and I reported on this in an April 12 post--the White House on Tuesday announced that President Barack Obama will hit Chicago for fund-raisers to benefit the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

My April 12 post, based on invitations for the events...

WASHINGTON--President Barack Obama returns home to Chicago on May 29 for a fund-raiser to benefit the House Democratic political organization. The tab ranges from $1,000 to $50,000 to raise or write. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chief Rep. DCCC Steve Israel will be on hand as well as Democratic members of the llinois Congressional Delegation. The main event is at the Chicago Hilton, 720 S. Michigan, with BettyLu and Paul Saltzman hosting a dinner for the major contributors. BettyLu Saltzman was one of the first major Democratic activists to meet Obama when he was starting out in Chicago politics and see in him a man who could become president.

WASHINGTON--Newark Mayor Cory Booker hits Chicago on Tuesday for a fund-raising swing as he eyes a New Jersey Democratic Senate run. The funder is at Untitled Chicago, 111 West Kinzie Street

It's relatively low-end as funders go, with tickets from $75 to $750, donate or raise.


Mike Crandall | Keating Crown | Daniel Goodman | Jordan Goodman | Ashley Simmons | Aaron Tucker | Lora Whitticker | Beth Wolfson


Vanessa Abron | Marc Carmel | Javon Coney | Abby Baine Dunn | Dan Drexler | Joydeep Dasmunshi | Jeremy Ebie | Evan Eschmeyer | Leslie Fields | Danny Gutman | Jon Hirschtritt | Jarvis Houston | Kamilah Jones | Scott Kannry | Zach Koutsky | Layla & William Lumpkin | Umair Mamsa Sam Matthew | Wendell Mosby | Andray Napolez | Nneka Rimmer | Dave Seman | Holly Snow | Stephen Sotoloff | Dennis Winstead | Michael & Franny Zucker

WASHINGTON--Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is fund-raising in Chicago on Monday and Tuesday for her Senate war chest and her "Off the Sidelines" political action committee--which Gillibrand is using to boost female candidates.

During the day Monday Gillibrand is doing a series of one-on-one finance meetings; followed by a reception at Tabula Tua, 1015 W. Armitage hosted by Grace Tsao-Wu and Lucy Moog.

After that, there is a dinner reception at the S. Prairie Ave. home of Chaka Patterson.
Among the co-hosts: Wendy Abrams · Wally Brewster and Bob Satawake
Touré Claibourne · Laura Ricketts · Judy Wise

Tsao-Wu, Patterson, Ricketts, Brewster and Satawake were among President Barack Obama's very top bundlers for the 2012 campaign, raising more than $500,000 for his re-election bid.

On Tuesday, Joan Hall hosts a breakfast to benefit Gillibrand's "Off the Sidelines" PAC at her East Lake Shore Drive home.

Gillibrand is hitting Chicago on the day Politico's Maggie Haberman reported on Gillibrand's presidential prospects in a story headlined, "Could Kirsten Gillibrand run for President?"

In the 2012 cycle, Gillibrand's "Off the Sidelines" PAC donated more than $1 million to 15 House and Senate candidates, mostly women--and aims to double the contributions in the 2014 cycle.

WASHINGTON--With a big assist from Hollywood producers and studios, Mayor Rahm Emanuel scooped up $378,700 from individuals in the first quarter of 2013, building a $1.9 million warchest in his main campaign fund, Chicago for Rahm Emanuel.

A companion fund controlled by Emanuel, The Chicago Committee, reported raising $110,000 in the past three months, according to finance disclosure reports filed Monday with the State of Illinois.

To be precise, Emanuel has $1,908,696.08 on hand for a 2015 re-election bid, a sum to ponder as the Chicago Teachers Union is starting to organize against his re-election.

Emanuel's brother, Ari, is a Hollywood agent; the mayor held a fund-raiser in Los Angeles a few weeks ago.

Among the Hollywood donors:
LB1 Entertainment
Lionsgate Entertainment

Disney CEO Robert Iger
Windsor Media president Terry Semel
NBC Universal President Ronald Meyer
HBO Executive Michael Lombardo
Overbrook Entertainment co-founder James Lassiter
A Squared Entertainment executive Andy Heyward

Former Disney chier Michael Eisner

Writer producer Laurie David
Writer Aaron Sorkin

Pamplona Productions writer Amy Lippman
Picturemaker Productions writer producer director Glenn Caron


Good Morning. High today 54, partly cloudy[Forecast]


In the wake of the twin blasts at the Boston Marathon, a White House official tells the Sun-Times that overnight, President Barack Obama "received updates from his Assistant for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco on the ongoing response efforts and investigation into the explosions in Boston, including the continuing federal support for those activities. 

"The President made clear that he expects to be kept up to date on any developments and directed his team to make sure that all federal resources that can support these efforts, including the investigation being led by the FBI, be made available. Later this morning the President will receive a briefing from his Assistant for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco, FBI Director Robert Mueller and other senior members of his team."

Takeaways: The first major attacks on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001 now overshadows a week where Congress is starting to grapple with two major items on Obama's legacy agenda, immigration and gun-control. The Boston tragedy will likely mute--for a few days--critics and supporters.

Anchors for the morning network shows--NBC, ABC, CBS--in Boston; the marathon bombings will dominate the news today.


The Senate "Gang of Eight"--including Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)--unveil their long-awaited bi-partisan immigration bill with a key provision in the sweeping measure a 13-year path to citizenship for the millions of people living in the U.S. illegally. The bill would cover individuals in the U.S. prior to Dec. 31, 2011.  The  11 a.m. ET press conference was cancelled as the Boston blast dominates the day.  [Washington Post] Durbin played the key role in adding Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) to the "Gang of Eight." First Judiciary Committee hearing on the bill is set for Friday.

Boston bombings

The aftermath...From the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications: "At this time, we are not aware of any additional threats." Tighter security in Washington D.C. on Tuesday morning, especially around the landmarks. Ramped up security on the Metro. 

Explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon--12 seconds apart--killed three and injured at least 144. [Sun-Times] 

[Boston Globe] [Boston Herald] [CBSBoston]

Nightmare: Brothers watching marathon each lose a leg. [Boston Globe]

Photo gallery: [Sun-Times]

Map: [Sun-Times]

Obama: "We will find out who did this." Video and transcript. [Sun-Times] What Obama is learning talking about terror. [Politico]

Chicago's security challenges. [Bowman, Sun-Times] 

Bombing turns Marathon area into a war zone. [New York Times]

The hunt for the bomber(s) [Time]

London marathon on Sunday; planners are "confident" there will be no security problems. [London Telegraph]

For updates through the day: [Sun-Times]

Wrigley Field Deal: Not so fast

There are still big discrepancies between what Emanuel has agreed to support and what the Cubs say they need to preserve Wrigley for 50 years and make it the moneymaker Ricketts says he needs to turn the Cubs into a perennial contender. [Crain's Chicago Business, [Sun-Times]

Oust Rahm Drive

Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis isn't waiting for 2015 to try to oust Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whom she blames for closing a historic number of public schools, she said Monday, announcing an aggressive campaign to train his possible replacement. "If the mayor and his handpicked corporate school board will not listen to us, then we must find those who will," Lewis said.The popular Lewis, who hit the national stage during the historic Chicago teachers strike in September, strongly denied she'd be the one seeking to replace Emanuel. Nor would she name candidates she had in mind. Instead, the CTU and other partners are launching a new effort to get 100,000 new voters registered in time for the 2015 elections when Emanuel is expected to seek reelection. They also plan to train possible candidates for mayor, alderman and statehouse offices, and increase donations to their political action committee to financially support potential candidates. [Sun-Times] [Crain's Chicago Business] 

Meanwhile, Emanuel continues to raise a lot of money for his political war chest; see Political Business below. And note to CTU: you can't beat someone with no one. At some point, a candidate--not a concept--will need to surface if this political attack is to be taken seriously.

Gun-control fate uncertain
The immigration bill gets dropped in the Senate as the chamber grapples with gun control. Despite efforts from Vice President Joe Biden on down, the Senate votes may not be there. [Politico]

Washington Post/ABC News Poll shows "most Americans, including half of all gun owners, say it is possible to enact new laws without infringing on gun rights, and overwhelming majorities support expanded background checks at gun shows and for online gun sales." 

And on immigration, "There are deep partisan differences on the other marquee issue slated to soon start moving in the Senate: comprehensive immigration reform. Overall, support for legislation that includes a way for undocumented immigrants to live legally in the U.S. is higher than ever, with nearly two-thirds of Americans backing a pathway to legal status. However, while three-quarters of Democrats and at least six in 10 independents support such a move on immigration reform, support drops sharply among Republicans. As with gun legislation, the results are yet another reminder that Republican lawmakers face a fractured base on these two volatile issues." [Washington Post]


While the CTU ponders mounting a challenge to Emanuel, the union besides a voter drive, needs a face (as noted above) and a lot of money. Emanuel's latest campaign disclosure, filed Monday--covering Jan. 1-March 31 shows that in the first quarter of this year he raised $378,700 and has $1,908, 696.08 in his "Chicago for Rahm" war chest.

The report shows Emanuel picked up a lot of Hollywood money from producers, directors, writers and studios. I'm told he threw himself a fund-raiser when he was in Los Angeles a few weeks ago for an "Education Mayors" conference. Brother Ari Emanuel is the big Hollywood agent. 

A sampling...Aaron Sorkin, $2,500; Michael Eisner, $2,500; Laurie David, $2,500; Lionsgate Entertainment, $10,500...Check out my blog later for more details....[Sweet]

.....Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) sworn-in last week, is staffing up in Chicago and Washington. Among the first wave of hires:

Audra Wilson - District Chief of Staff  (former Director of Diversity Education and Outreach and Adjunct Professor, Northwestern U. Law; former welfare advocacy staff attorney, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law; former Deputy Press and Policy Director, U.S. Senate Candidate for Barack Obama.

Dante Sawyer- Chicago Office Coordinator/Constituent Services Representative -  former Field Director, Robin Kelly for Congress

Anthony Beckham - Constituent Services Representative/Caseworker - Ministry Outreach Coordinator, Robin Kelly for Congress; former small business owner        

E. Brandon Garrett - Chief of Staff - Policy and Political Advisor for Vice President Joe Biden at Obama for America; former Policy Director for the Congressional Black Caucus.                                                                                               

Kayce Ataiyero - Communications Director (former Chicago Tribune reporter, former Deputy Communications Director at Illinois State Treasurer's Office, most recently did communications in the Quinn administration).

Tony Presta - Scheduler and Office Manager (former scheduling and logistics coordinator at Illinois State Treasurer's Office, former special assistant to the Chief Administrative Officer at Cook County Government)



President Barack Obama meetings with United Arab Emirate Crown Prince Moammed Bin Zayed, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, NASCAR's  Sprint Cup series champ Brad Keselowski

Gov. Pat Quinn speaks at groundbreaking ceremony for Grundfos' new North American headquarters in Downers Grove. 

Visitation for Anne Smedinghoff, U.S. diplomat from River Forest killed in Afghanistan. Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home in Oak Park. 

Panel discussion on the legacy of the late Mayor Harold Washington. Chicago State University

Chicago native and Academy-award winning director William Friedkin joins Filmspotting co-founder and host Adam Kempenaar to discuss his new memoir "The Friedkin Connection." Harold Washington Library, Pritzker Auditorium. In case you did not get the reference, Friedkin directed the French Connection. He is married to  former Paramount Pictures CEO Sherry Lansing, another Chicago native. [Tribune]

NPR "All Things Considered" host Michelle Norris speaks in the Columbia College "Conversations in the Arts" series. Film Row Cinema, 1104 S. Wabash Ave. Very fun to guest on her show.


Cubs play the Texas Rangers at Wrigley Field; White Sox  in Toronto for match with the Blue Jays. The Blackhawks and the Bulls are both off Tuesday.

WASHINGTON--Freshman Rep. Tammy Duckworth will report raising $351,285 in the first quarter, the yield from fund-raising events in the Chicago area, Washington and direct mail appeals. That's one of the top totals from the House freshmen class.

Duckworth's finance chair is Democratic activist John Atkinson; her fund-raising consultant is Leah Israel.

"Congresswoman Duckworth has sent a strong message that she will have the resources to continue standing up for working families," said Atkinson. "In just 100 days she has helped secure approval of the Elgin O'Hare Western Access Project, introduced legislation to assist small businesses, and stood against efforts to eliminate the guaranteed benefit of Medicare. Congresswoman Duckworth was outspent 13 to 1 by right-wing Super PACs in 2012, but her grassroots fundraising has proved yet again that she will never back down to the right-wing extremists who attacked her and working families in 2012."

Duckworth defeated former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) by some ten points last November. Duckworth--who is unlikely to face an expensive primary again-- is building a strong war chest in order to--and this is a standard technique--discourage major GOP opposition in 2014.

Organizing for Action--the spin-off group created out of the Obama presidential campaign--will report later Friday that first-quarter fund-raising hit just under $4.9 million from 109,582 supporters. The OFA has been scouting for a headquarters in Chicago; the group already set up shop in Washington.

Click below for OFA Executive Director Jon Carson's letter pitching supporters for small dollar donations....the list of big contributors comes out later today....

OFA is teaming with Mayors Against Illegal Guns to hold "We Have Not Forgotten and Demand Action" events as the Senate starts debating gun-control bills.


Good Morning. Overcast, drizzle, high today in the low 50's. Goose Island streets open again...


House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) swears in Robin Kelly at 1:30 p.m. Chicago time. Kelly holds presser afterwards to talk about her swearing-in on the House floor. Freshman Kelly is allowed to inherit the well-situated Rayburn House Office Building suite of the man she is replacing, disgraced former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. 


Two brothers shot at on the South Side, a man grazed by a bullet in Lakeview and a car-on-pedestrian accident in Goose Island were among the stories that happened between midnight and 6 a.m. in Chicago. [Sun-Times


Senate gun-control votes

Four months after the Sandy Hook massacre, the Senate today is set to hold a series of crucial votes on gun-control laws, with big resistance from the National Rifle Association. The House will not act until the Senate sends over legislation. [USA Today] President Barack Obama has a lot on his plate: guns, immigration, new budget. [Washington Post]

Sandy Hook families will be at press conference with Democratic senators in the Capitol this morning, pushing for a package of measures to curb gun violence.

Michelle Obama jumps in gun fray

With the Senate poised to act, First Lady Michelle Obama, back home in Chicago spoke out for the first time--with great emotion-- about youth violence and for the first time, gets involved in a controversial issue, urging Congress to allow votes on gun bills. [Sun-Times] And finally time she did. [Lynn Sweet] Mrs. Obama spent two hours at Harper High School on the South Side. [Mary Mitchell] [Bloomberg]

Mrs. Obama made it a day-trip. She headed from Harper back to Midway Airport, returning to Washington last night.

Quinn's gun push

With gun measures pending in Springfield, Gov. Pat Quinn headlines an Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence rally "in support of common sense gun legislation" in front of the Abe Lincoln statue at the state Capitol.

Wright's daughter indicted

Imagine if this story broke during the 2008 election, when the controversy surrounding the Rev. Jeremiah Wright--then pastor for presidential candidate Barack Obama threatened to derail his bid. Jeri Wright, his daughter, was indicted Wednesday on charges of money laundering and lying to federal investigators in an expanding 2009 state grant-fraud case.[Sun-Times]

Political Business

* Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) will be reporting more than $390,000 raised in the first quarter. Aiming to discourage the man he beat for the tenth district seat from trying again, Schneider's team noted that he raised more than former Rep. Bod Dold (R-Ill.) "raised in his first quarter in 2011."

*Ald. Tom Tunney holds a fund-raiser aimed at the LGBT community. Double entendre on invite: "Come out to support equality." Tunney Honorary co-chairs: state Rep. Deb Mell and spouse Kelly Cassidy; state Rep. Greg Harris; Ald. James Cappleman and Water District Commissioner Debra Shore. Happening at the Lincoln Park home of Brad Lippitz and Jonathan Pizer. The tab ranges from $100 to $1,000.

* Last night, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) threw  a fund-raiser at Nationals Stadium during the Nationals-White Sox game.

* Cook County Committeemen huddle today to select a replacement for the latest pol forced to resign because of corruption, former Cook County Board Members William Beavers, convicted on federal evasion charges last month.


Memorial for Roger Ebert, the beloved Sun-Times movie critic who died last week. His funeral was Monday and today, a tribute at a fitting place, the Chicago Theater, 175 N. State.

 ...Mayor Rahm Emanuel joins Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Charles Williams in announcing Chicago's completed transition to a grid garbage system at 11:30 a.m. CT, 900 East 103rd St. 

...U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin at Greene Elementary School, 3525 S. Honore on student health. ...National ACLU president Susan Herman at the Chicago-Kent College of Law. 


Donald L. Duster, the grandson of anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells. Under former Gov. James R. Thompson, he led the state's Department of Business and Economic Develop. [Sun-Times Obit writer Maureen O'Donnell]

Sports Today

Bulls play New York Knicks; Cubs host San Francisco Giants; White Sox continue stand against Washington Nationals. The Nats beat them Wednesday 5-2. 

Talkers Today

HBO's "Veep" star Julia Louise-Dreyfus guests on Ellen DeGeneres; Edie Falco on Jon Stewart; Alec Baldwin on David Letterman; LL Cool J on Jay Leno; Tom Cruise on Jimmy Kimmel; Carl Reiner on Craig Ferguson and Vince Vaughn on Jimmy Fallon.

Lynn Sweet discusses her Michelle Obama column on Julie Mason's SiriusXM show, 12:03 p.m. Chicago time.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) hits Chicago on Monday for a high-dollar fund-raiser hosted by Illinois GOP House members: Peter Roskam, Rodney Davis, Randy Hultgren, Adam Kinzinger, John Shimkus and Aaron Schock,

The funder is at Dikta's Restaurant, 100 E. Chestnut

The price points:

Host Committee: $50,000 Contribute or Raise

Roundtable Discussion: $25,000 Contribute

VIP Photo Reception: $10,000 Contribute

General Reception: $5,000 Contribute

The cash goes to several Boehner-related war chests: Friends of John Boehner, the National Republican Congressional Committee, The Freedom Project, and the Ohio Republican Party State Central & Executive Committee

President Barack Obama is in San Francisco and the Bay area for Democratic fund-raising events to benefit the House political operation and the Democratic National Committee. This fund-raising is separate from the fund-raising appeals the Obama team is also making for his new Organizing for America, the group spawned from his campaign to help sell his programs.

One of Obama's Thursday events--both for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee-- was at the home of a billionaire environmentalist, Tom Steyer--who has been an outspoken opponent to the Keystone XL pipeline. Getting U.S. approval of the pipeline for Canadian oil is a priority for the Canadian government.

The report from the San Francisco Chronicle's Carla Marinucci and Drew Joseph: "The visit drew protests from opponents of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and from Republicans, who slammed it as a jaunt to "billionaires' row."

"Obama appeared first at a cocktail reception at the Sea Cliff home of billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer and his wife, Kat Taylor, where about 100 guests paid $5,000 to $34,200 to attend the fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee."

Obama hits Atherton on Thursday for the Democratic National Committee.

WASHINGTON--Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) mentioned as a 2016 presidential candidate, hits Chicago on April 1 for a fund-raiser at the Near North home of Joyce and Judson Green, the event chairs.

The price points range from $1,000 to $10,400, which includes a private dinner for two after a reception. The funder bankrolls the Rubio Victory Committee.

The pricing:

$1,000 per Individual

$2,600 Event Sponsor (Includes Two Tickets to General Reception)

$5,200 Event Host (Includes Private Dinner For One After Reception)

$10,400 Event Co-Chair (Includes Private Dinner For Two After Reception)

Chicago's Jordan Kaplan, who started political fund-raising for then Illinois Senate candidate Barack Obama in 2004, has been tapped to be the new Finance Director for the Democratic National Committee, chaired by Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fl.). He also was finance director for Rahm Emanuel's mayoral campaign and political action committee and the Illinois Finance Director for Obama's 2012 and 2008 presidential campaigns.

WASHINGTON--Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn made a quick trip to Los Angeles Friday for a fund-raiser, aiming at Hollywood cash. A Quinn operative told me he was in Los Angeles for about 24 hours for the funder at the home of producer Bob Teitel. About 100 folks attended the event, including Glee star--and Dolton native--Jane Lynch.

To note: Quinn has been a lackluster fund-raiser and is bolstering his war chest as he heads into re-election facing an almost certain 2014 Democratic primary battle with either Attorney General Lisa Madigan or former White House chief of staff Bill Daley. I posted earlier: on Thursday, Quinn headlines a fund-raiser at Loft 644, 644 N. Orleans in Chicago. The tickets for the Quinn Thursday event range from $100 to $1,000. Madigan holds a 3-to-1 fundraising lead over Quinn. Hollywood hat tips: Reel Chicago, Crain's Greg Hinz

quinn funder.png

WASHINGTON--Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, up for re-election in 2014--and facing a potential Democratic primary fight with Attorney General Lisa Madigan-- is throwing a fund-raiser March 28 at Loft 644, 644 N. Orleans in Chicago.

The tickets for the Quinn event range from $100 to $1,000--modest compared to Madigan's ask for a fund-raiser Monday night at Wildfire, 159 W. Erie. The price tiers run from $1,000 to $5,000. The theme is to mark Madigan's 10 years as Illinois' attorney general.

WASHINGTON--Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) hit two fund-raisers on Sunday, stockpiling cash for his 2014 re-election bid with events at the homes of two of his major supporters, Susan and Lew Manilow in Chicago and Dan and Fay Levin in Winnetka.

The events at the Manilow and Levin homes were attended by Durbin's circle of longtime donors.

Susan Manilow, a long-time Democratic activist, is the finance chair of Durbin's campaign. Lew Manilow, a real estate developer, is also a long-time Democratic activist who, in 1992, was President Bill Clinton's national vice-chair and Illinois Finance Chair.

Dan Levin is the founder and chairman of The Habitat Company. Fay Levin is the former United States Ambassador to the Netherlands, tapped by President Barack Obama. She served between 2009 and 2011.

Durbin's fundraising has been and continues to be handled by the Chicago-based Nancy Kohn.

WASHINGTON--Business executive Penny Pritzker, expected to be tapped by President Barack Obama to be Commerce Secretary, on Thursday quit her seat on the Chicago School Board.

Pritzker was the finance chair for Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and an early supporter of his political career. Pritzker's ability to raise early major money for Obama's White House run--when he was locked in a battle with Hillary Rodham Clinton--made his candidacy viable.

Sun-Times City Hall Reporter Fran Spielman has the story HERE.

She submitted her resignation in a brief letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama's former chief of staff. Quitting governmental boards --and severing ties to business enterprises --are necessary for a cabinet appointee. Pritzker would have to be confirmed by the Senate.

WASHINGTON--Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) mentioned as a 2016 presidential candidate, hits Chicago on April 1 for a fund-raiser at the Near North home of Joyce and Judson Green, the event chairs.

The price points range from $1,000 to $10,400, which includes a private dinner for two after a reception. The funder bankrolls the Rubio Victory Committee.

Judson Green, a business executive and his wife are arts patrons; read about them in bios at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra site HERE.

franken:baldwin chicago.jpeg

WASHINGTON--Democratic Sens. Al Franken and Tammy Baldwin hit Chicago on Sunday for a fundraiser at the Lake View home of Brad Lippitz and Yoni Pizer to benefit Franken's political war chests.

The prices range from $1,000 to $5,200 to raise or donate for the Franken for Senate fund and Franken's Midwest Values Political Action Committee.

Franken, from Minnesota, first elected to the Senate in 2008 after a career as a comedy writer, performer and author, is up for re-election in 2014.

Last June, Lippitz and Pizer hosted a fund-raiser for Baldwin, elected to the Senate November from Wisconsin, with actress Jane Lynch a special draw.

Lippitz and Pizer hosted a fund-raiser on March 15, 2008 for President Barack Obama, when he was an Illinois senator making his first run for the White House.

WASHINGTON--Three Illinois freshmen House Democrats--Brad Schneider, Cheri Bustos and Bill Enyart-- are among the 26 members considered the most vulnerable in 2014 by the House Democratic political operation and will be bolstered with fund-raising and other assistance.

Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said Tuesday the three from Illinois will be part of the DCCC "Frontline" program.

From the DCCC: "The Frontline Program is a partnership between the DCCC and Members to lay the groundwork for the 2014 cycle by supporting and expanding their fundraising and outreach operations. Frontline Members must sign a memorandum of understanding that requires Members to meet aggressive fundraising goals, accelerate volunteer and recruitment efforts, and increase their online networking.

"Frontline membership will change as Members' political circumstances shift as a result of redistricting, their opponent or other factors."

WASHINGTON -- The Obama campaign released its final list of "bundlers" over the weekend -- supporters who raised megabucks to re-elect President Barack Obama -- and the abundance of Chicago money muscle, and lack of Hawaiian fund-raising juice, takes away any doubt that the Obama presidential library will end up in Chicago.

Of about 250 bundlers who raised more than $500,000 -- counting couples or business associates as one unit -- 21 were from Chicago or the suburbs and none were from Obama's native state, which has been publicly angling for the library. The University of Chicago is waging a covert bid for the library. See the list of Obama's Illinois super-bundlers at the end of the column; the fourth-quarter list had no local surprises.


This wealthy and well-connected group has very deep pockets, and they are being tapped at present -- the library ask will come later -- to help bankroll the newly formed Organizing for Action, a nonprofit spawned by the Obama campaign to, in the short term, help push Obama's second-term agenda on guns, immigration, the budget and climate change, to name a few issues.

The new group already has an office in Washington and another will be in Chicago, where Executive Director Jon Carson will be based.

While the goal is to create, as Carson has said, "the largest grassroots network in the history of politics," OFA is following a fund-raising model the Obama campaigns of 2008 and 2012 perfected and also wooing big money with offers of exclusive briefings and access to mingle with top figures in the Obama orbit, including the president.

The group is hosting a "Founders Summit" on March 13 at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington, with a $50,000 price tag for the daylong event, according to the invitation I saw. A top donor told me that the ask went up in a conference call to $500,000 to land a spot on a "national advisory board."

After the New York Times' Nicholas Confessore first reported on OFA's $500,000 pitch, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked last Monday about Obama administration officials -- up to the president -- helping to raise money for OFA.

"White House and administration officials will not be raising money for Organizing for Action, and they, while they may appear at appropriate OFA events in their official capacities -- they will not be raising money," Carney said, making a tortured distinction with absolutely no difference.

OBAMA TOP BUNDLERS: From Illinois, raising $500,000 plus for the Obama 2012 campaign are: Neil Bluhm; Wally Brewster and Bob Satawake; Steve Cohen; Les Coney; Kevin Conlon; James Crown; Fred Eychaner; Rajiv Fernando; Vicki and Bruce Heyman; Jill and John Levi; Lee Miller; Chaka Patterson; Penny Pritzker; Laura Ricketts; John Rogers Jr. and Mellody Hobson; Michael Sacks; Andy Schapiro and Tamar Newberger; Amy Singh; David Solow; Alan Solow; Grace Tsao-Wu.

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama would not be starting his second term if it were not for his major donors, and they were here en masse -- to map strategy to advance Obama's agenda and to take in a few of the VIP perks, including--for some--a coveted invite to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's late-night party.

Chicagoans from the beginning have played key roles in bankrolling the Obama political operation. One of them Alan Solow, was a national campaign co-chair.

Solow -- and other top fund-raisers -- viewed the inauguration from seats close to the stage, reserved for members of Obama's National Finance Committee. Other Chicagoans nearby were Obama 2012 Illinois Finance Co-Chair Vicki Heymann and her husband, Bruce; Wally Brewster and his partner, Bobby Satawake; and William Mahoney and his wife, Amalia.

"There is a lot of work yet to be done," Solow said. "And I think part of it will be to build on the success we have had in the first term."

Toward that end, there was a daylong "road ahead" meeting Saturday with briefings on the Obama team's new political operation: the non-profit Organizing for Action, based in Chicago with offices in Washington, is sure to be another ask from the Obama fund-raisers.

Obama's National Finance Committee members were hosted at White House receptions on Thursday and Friday and had access to a variety of other VIP inauguration events.

Obama 2012 campaign Illinois finance co-chair John Rogers -- who was also a donor to the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) -- was at one of the White House receptions.

Chicago business executive Fred Eychaner was one of the very top Obama campaign donors, also boosting the Obama-allied SuperPAC (as did Rogers) and donating to the PIC. Other Chicago area PIC donors included Penny Pritzker, Obama's 2008 finance chair, Laura Ricketts and Michael Sacks.

Emanuel's longtime fund-raiser, Anne Olaimey, helped raise corporate money for the PIC; veteran Obama fund-raiser Jordan Kaplan handled the Chicago-area contributors -- some of whom he has been dealing with since Obama was a senator.

The PIC organizers put together perk "packages" for their donors, including invites to a reception at the National Building Museum and reserved seats on the parade routes. The "Premium Partner Access" package was priced at $250,000 for an individual and $1 million for an institution --such as a corporation or labor union.

David Rosen runs a Chicago events company where he has carved out a particular niche for Democratic political causes: "I help VIP hospitality," Rosen told me on Monday.

Part of his role as a faciliator is to also score invites for donors to one of the very many other elite parties -- none part of the official PIC -- taking place these past days.

One of those hot tickets was for Emanuel's late night party -- 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. at a downtown club here.

Emanuel's party is underwritten by donors, whose identities have not been disclosed. Rosen said he was one of the contributors.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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