Emanuel Super PAC rakes in $350,000 more in one day

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With $8.3 million and counting in his main political fund and no high-profile opponent yet in the race, the last thing Mayor Rahm Emanuel needs is more money.

But that’s what he’s getting, thanks to the speedy and prolific fundraising by a new super PAC created to re-elect the mayor and his City Council allies.

After raking in $1 million in less than two weeks last month, “Chicago Forward” has raised an additional $350,000, thanks to six contributions in just one day this month from well-heeled business titans and one of their wives.

The new donors include: Joseph Gutman, manager partner of Grosvenor Capital, $25,000; his wife, Sheila, $25,000; David Helfand, founder of Helix Funds, $50,000); David Herro, an investment manager of Harris Associates, LP, $150,000; Robert Levy, a partner and chairman of Harris Associates and Timothy Mullen, who identified himself as a self-employed private investor, $50,000.

RELATED: Wealthy businessmen help Emanuel PAC raise $1 million in 10 days

That brings to $1.35 million the amount raised so far by the super PAC spearheaded by Becky Carroll, a political operative with close ties to the mayor. Records show that $200,000 of the first $1 million raised by “Chicago Forward” came from Grosvenor, which bills itself as one of the world’s largest and most diversified hedge funds, with $46 billion in assets under management.

Michael Sacks, the firm’s chairman and CEO, is Emanuel’s close friend and chief business adviser. Sacks also serves as vice chairman of World Business Chicago, the nonprofit economic development arm of City Hall. He is an investor in Wrapports, the company that owns the Chicago Sun-Times.

Emanuel is bound by law to follow the state’s fundraising limits of $5,300 from individuals; $10,500 from corporations, labor organizations or associations; and $52,600 from candidate political action committees or PACs.

Chicago Forward, by contrast, can raise unlimited funds but is barred by law from coordinating with the Emanuel campaign.

Carroll could not be reached for comment about the new round of fundraising.

Earlier this month, she said the group had not set a fundraising goal, but would raise “what we need” to push the mayor’s agenda and support candidates in City Council races and contests for citywide offices in the February 2015 election.

The effort will, no doubt, help Emanuel’s City Council allies and bankroll challengers to Progressive Caucus members who have been a thorn in the mayor’s side.

Chicago Forward was formed last month in a move viewed as a shot across the bow at Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Raising eyebrows was the PAC’s decision to line up a heavyweight team of fundraisers, political consultants and direct mail specialists.

That had some political observers convinced that “Chicago Forward” was formed to run negative attack ads on Preckwinkle — or any other serious challenger — so Emanuel would remain above the fray.

Last week, Preckwinkle ruled out a race for mayor. That leaves Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis and Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) as the highest-profile contenders even thinking about challenging Emanuel.

A prolific fundraiser, Emanuel continues to raise money at a frenzied pace in hopes of scaring off potential challengers who view him as vulnerable because of his 29 percent approval rating and single-digit support among African-American voters, according to a Sun-Times poll.

The mayor’s most recent filing shows hefty contributions from two more trade unions: $50,000 from IBEW Local 134 PAC and $10,000 from Pipefitters Local 56 Political Education Fund. The mayor also reported a $2,500 contribution from Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz.

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