Rahm Emanuel made $13M since leaving City Hall, financial disclosure reports show

Former Mayor Emanuel’s nomination to be ambassador to Japan has no significant opposition.

SHARE Rahm Emanuel made $13M since leaving City Hall, financial disclosure reports show
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Rahm Emanuel laughs with then-Vice President Joe Biden at the mayoral inauguration at Millennium Park on May 16, 2011.

Jean Lachat/Sun-Times Media file photo

WASHINGTON — Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made about $13 million since leaving City Hall in May 2019, according to financial disclosures filed in connection with his nomination to be the next U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Emanuel’s personal financial disclosure report comes as no significant opposition to his nomination has developed in the seven months or so since it’s been known that President Joe Biden intended to tap him for the Tokyo spot. The White House is confident he will be confirmed.

No date for a confirmation hearing has been set. In the meantime, the disclosure shows Emanuel’s ability to quickly make money in the private sector — the second time he’s been able to accumulate millions of dollars in a few years before returning to a government post.

When Emanuel left the Clinton White House in 1999, he earned at least $16 million at the investment banking firm of Wasserstein Perella before launching his first run for Congress in 2002.

On July 20, 2019, Emanuel, a few weeks after wrapping up two terms as mayor, became a senior adviser to Centerview Partners Advisory Holdings, an investment banking firm.

His income from Centerview amounted to $12,094,418, according to Emanuel’s disclosure.

Centerview, on its website describes itself as a firm providing “advice on mergers and acquisitions, financial restructurings, valuation, and capital structure to companies, institutions and governments.”

Though Emanuel continues to participate in City Hall’s Municipal Employee Annuity and Benefit Fund, he does not receive any benefits.

The disclosure shows how Emanuel, anticipating a return to government after leaving City Hall, structured his various corporate deals with favorable financial provisions if he exited to return to public service.

Emanuel, the first White House chief of staff for former President Barack Obama, top staffer to ex-President Bill Clinton and a part of the Democratic leadership while in Congress, also collected:

  • $700,000 in consulting fees from Wicklow Capital, a technology venture capital fund he started with in August 2019. If Emanuel terminates his agreement with Wicklow “in order to return to public service,” the company will pay him three months of fees to total $150,000, to be paid before Emanuel becomes an ambassador.
  • $310,472 as an ABC News contributor. He signed with ABC in June 2019.
  • $150,431 in board of director fees from GoHealth, an online health insurance marketplace he joined in February 2020. He also received shares of GoHealth stock.
  • $77,500 in advances from publisher Alfred A. Knopf for the book, “The Nation City: Why Mayors Are Now Running the World,” published in February 2020.
  • He became a senior adviser to Dedrone Holdings in October 2020. While he does not get cash compensation from the company, he has stock option grants. The unvested options he has will vest when he separates from the company, under his “public service” provision.
  • Centerview will also pay him a “performance retainer” when he leaves the company but before he takes on duties as ambassador.

Emanuel said in a State Department ethics agreement he will resign from these companies once confirmed.

Most of the cash from Emanuel’s paid speeches was donated to charity. Rahm Israel Emanuel funnels much of that money through his firm, RIE Consulting, LLC.

All the honoraria from these virtual speaking engagements — and this is not the complete list — were donated to unnamed charities, according to his disclosure:

  • $29,750, for the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers with GOP consultant Karl Rove.
  • $8,500, at the Panetta Institute for Public Policy, founded by Obama’s Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, with former California and New Jersey governors Jerry Brown, a Democrat, and Christie Whitman, a Republican.
  • $63,750, for talking with BNP Paribas, a financial services firm with Reince Priebus, former President Donald Trump’s first chief of staff.
  • $29,750, Lincoln International, an investment bank, for an event with former GOP New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
  • $29,750, Morgan Stanley, for an event with Christie.
  • $29,750, for a National Association of Realtors event with Christie.
  • $25,500, Goldman Sachs for an event with Christie
  • $21,250, Duke Energy, with Trump’s second chief of staff, John Kelly.

Emanuel has income generated from his extensive financial holdings and investments in residential properties in Georgia and Florida.

In the memo filed with the State Department’s ethics official, Emanuel outlined the steps he would take to “avoid any actual or apparent conflict of interest” if confirmed.

He said he understood “a heightened prospect of a conflict of interest could exist as to companies that maintain a presence in Japan” and he will “remain alert” to the possible need for recusal.

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