Emanuel's PAC spends plenty in 2012, just not on other candidates

April 13, 2012

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's political action fund has spent more than $150,000 so far this year, but very little of it went to help candidates on the ballot in last month's election.

Emanuel wasn't shy about endorsing candidates, though money didn't apparently accompany that support.

In a disclosure report filed early Friday, the mayor's political action committee listed just two donations to other politicians:

State Rep. Karen Yarbrough was unopposed in the Democratic primary for Cook County Recorder of Deeds, but Emanuel gave her $1,000. The mayor donated $2,000 to Ald. Deborah Graham, who beat back a challenge from U.S. Rep. Danny Davis for 29th Ward Democratic Committeeman.

Most of Emanuel's PAC spending from January through March was for him and his political team: travel, consultants, polling.

Asked why the committee spent so little during the primaries, Emanuel aide Tom Bowen wrote in an email, "Not elaborating on election strategies, every race has unique needs."

The mayor also quietly changed the name of his fund. Once called the New Chicago Committee, it's now simply The Chicago Committee.

Bowen said the change was to avoid confusion with the mayor's infrastructure proposal, which is being marketed as "Building a New Chicago."

The PAC reported raising $62,500 in the past three months, about half coming from Robert Clifford, a prominent attorney and Chicago Bar Association president.