Billionaire businessman Sam Zell has plowed $4 million into a new super PAC set up to bolster Gov. Bruce Rauner’s agenda in Springfield and “oppose those who stand in the way” of it.
Documents filed Monday with the Illinois State Board of Elections show Zell is the first donor to the fund set up by two former Rauner campaign aides, called Turnaround Illinois. Rauner has toured the state in recent weeks pushing his so-called Turnaround Agenda, which largely targets right-to-work laws in Illinois. On Monday, a slew of mayors complained that Rauner has asked them to pass resolutions supporting his agenda, but complain Rauner has failed to detail what it is.
Papers filed with the board of elections describe the purpose of the fund this way:
“To support state legislative candidates who support Gov. Rauner’s bold and needed reforms, and to oppose those who stand in the way.”
So far, Rauner has outlined an agenda that tackles the power of labor unions in Illinois, including lobbying for local right-to-work zones. Rauner has also pushed for a 401(k) style retirement fund for state workers.
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The independent expenditure committee is separate from Rauner’s own campaign fund, which he set up after his Nov. 4 election. He and other wealthy businesspeople, including billionaire Ken Griffin, poured $20 million into the account.
This isn’t the first time Zell has donated to Rauner’s efforts; he gave money in the past to Rauner-related committees during the campaign — but not of this magnitude.