What does Chicago’s Stroger clan and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan have in common? The Democrats were funneled campaign cash from a company partly owned by Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner.
Crain’s Chicago Business reports that 11 campaign contributions were made to then-Cook County Board President John Stroger’s campaign fund along with Todd Stroger’s 8th Ward Regular Democratic Organization at the same time Cook County was awarding that company, HealthRev, a “series of contracts over four years.”
HealthRev also gave a $5,000 contribution to “the Democratic Party of Illinois, Mr. Madigan, chairman.”
State records show HealthRev was first registered with the state in 1999 and was owned by GTCR LLC, Rauner’s private equity firm. Over the years, HealthRev did business under a number of different names.
Crain’s reports that in Jan. 2000, the Cook County Board, with the elder Stroger presiding, approved a three-year deal with HealthRev, which was at the time was valued at approximately $1.2 million a year for the company. But records show the firm earned $8.8 million from June 2000 to April 2003.
Almost immediately after the first contract was approved by Mr. Stroger’s county board in January 2000, good things started happening to Mr. Stroger’s personal campaign fund and his 8th Ward Organization account, which supported the activities of John Stroger and then 8th Ward Ald. Todd Stroger. On April 18, 2000, Citizens for (John) Stroger got a $1,500 contribution from HealthRev. It was the first political donation the company ever made in Illinois, according to State Board of Elections records. More money quickly followed, to Citizens for Stroger and to the 8th Ward account, some from HealthRev, some from Argent Healthrev and some from Argent Healthcare Financial Services. It wasn’t a huge amount, a bit under $8,000. But the largesse started just when the contract did and ended around the time GTCR sold the company in 2004.
HealthRev’s only gave campaign donations to two others — the 10th Congressional District Democrats and Madigan, both in 2000.
Says Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf, Bruce had no role in the contributions or knowledge of them. In fact, Bruce was one of Stroger’s biggest adversaries and spent years trying to defeat Stroger and his top allies in Cook County government.