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Hillary Clinton plans 3 fundraisers in Chicago on Monday

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WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton will hit Chicago on Monday for three fundraisers. Meanwhile, Chicago GOP megadonors Ken Griffin and Todd Ricketts are among the funders of a new super PAC taking aim at her.

There’s a lot going on . . .

CLINTON WOOING BLACK VOTERS

The Chicago Sun-Times has learned that in addition to the fundraisers, Clinton also might hold a small, private meeting with African-Americans on Monday, following up on Friday’s kickoff in Atlanta of “African-Americans for Hillary” and the unveiling of her criminal justice reform proposals.

The Chicago native will need a giant outpouring of black voters to maintain her lead in the Democratic primary and win the general election. In Atlanta, Clinton spoke at a Rainbow/PUSH luncheon joined by the founder of the Chicago-based group, the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.

This comes as President Barack Obama has increasingly focused on criminal justice reform as a centerpiece of his remaining 14 months in office. On Monday, Obama will meet with former inmates in Newark, New Jersey, and announce more help to lift obstacles that former prisoners face in gaining jobs and re-entering life.

OPINION

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And as it happens, HUD Secretary Julian Castro, who endorsed Clinton last month — and who has been mentioned as her possible running mate if she is indeed the Democratic nominee — also will be in Chicago on Monday. He’ll discuss the Obama administration’s efforts to help ex-cons, including making it easier to find housing and clear criminal records so they can find jobs.

Joining Castro at Northwestern University’s Bluhm Legal Clinic are Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., an architect of the criminal justice reform bill that just passed the Senate Judiciary Committee; Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., who has made a crusade of helping ex-prisoners; and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

GRIFFIN AND RICKETTS

On Friday, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission, Future45, a super PAC founded this year, spent $115,289 for an ad opposing Clinton. The spot is running over broadcast TV in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire plus cable news channels.

Future45, a reference to the next president, is one of the latest political investments from Griffin and Ricketts, who each gave $250,000 to help launch the super PAC.

Griffin is the billionaire founder and CEO of the Chicago hedge fund Citadel and a jumbo donor to Republican candidates and causes.

Ricketts, a Cubs board member who is the CEO of the conservative Ending Spending super PAC, was the co-national finance chair for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s short-lived presidential primary campaign.

Neither Griffin nor Ricketts has yet signaled who in the still-crowded Republican primary presidential field will get their nod. Another Future45 $250,000 donor, the New York billionaire Paul Singer, just came out for Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

In the meantime, Future45 and its related “45Committee,” an advocacy group that reports to the IRS, is carving out a niche as the GOP 2016 organization studying and testing the most effective messages and tactics against Clinton.

The first spot from Future45, which uses clips from Clinton’s Benghazi Committee testimony last month, scorches her Libya policy and concludes with the kicker, “At least Hillary’s record doesn’t lie.”

THREE CLINTON FUNDRAISERS

Monday will be Clinton’s fourth visit to Chicago since she launched her presidential campaign. Each event targets high-end donors for contributions to her main political war chest.

In the morning, Clinton heads to the Gold Coast home of Tanya and Michael Polsky, the CEO of Invenergy. The $2,700-per-person tab includes a picture with Clinton; hosts, who raise $27,000, get membership in Clinton’s “Hillstarter” donor perk program.

At noon, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is expected to introduce Clinton at a reception targeting Chicago’s legal community at the Hyatt, 151 E. Wacker Dr.

The cost to attend is $2,700. Hosts who raise $27,000 get a VIP reception and photo with Clinton.

Clinton, raised in Park Ridge, then heads to Evanston, for a late afternoon funder at the home of Eric Janssen, the president of Chicago Real Estate Resources Inc.

The other hosts listed in the invitation are Newsweb CEO Fred Eychaner, one of the biggest Democratic donors in the nation; Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.; Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl; Stephen Ondra, a physician and executive at the Health Care Service Corporation; attorney Nabeela Rasheed; and Laura and Brooke Ricketts.

Laura Ricketts is a Cubs board member and major Democratic fundraiser and activist. And yes, her brother is Todd.

As of Sept. 30, Clinton has hauled $2,600,793 out of Illinois, the lion’s share of the $3,071,265 Illinoisans contributed to the main campaign funds of 2016 Democratic contenders.

Follow Lynn Sweet on Twitter: @LynnSweet

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