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Family feud? Pritzker cousin donates to stop governor’s coveted graduated income tax proposal

The $500,000 donation from Jennifer Pritzker, the first transgender billionaire, to the Coalition to Stop the Proposed Tax Hike Amendment was reported Tuesday. Jennifer Pritzker has split from her cousin politically before.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, left, in July; Jennifer Pritzker, right.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, left, in July; Jennifer Pritzker, right.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times file; Provided

Billionaire Jennifer Pritzker may have abandoned President Donald Trump for the Democrats, but she’s still siding with the Republicans on her cousin’s coveted graduated income tax proposal.

The retired Army National Guard colonel on Tuesday contributed $500,000 to the Coalition to Stop the Proposed Tax Hike Amendment, a group opposed to what Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker and his supporters prefer to call the “Fair Tax.”

That’s twice what Jennifer Pritzker donated to committees backing Trump four years ago before breaking with the Republican president on LGBTQ issues.

This time around, the transgender advocate has contributed lesser amounts to support Democratic presidential candidates Mayor Pete Buttigieg during the primary and then Joe Biden.

The donation from Jennifer Pritzker, the first transgender billionaire, to the Coalition to Stop the Proposed Tax Hike Amendment was reported to state election officials on Tuesday. In a statement, she warned the amendment could eventually be used to raise taxes.

“There is evidence that the tax hike amendment could eventually raise taxes on the middle and working classes,” said Jennifer Pritzker, who serves as the president and CEO of TAWANI Enterprises. “With so many families and small businesses struggling to recover from the ravages of the pandemic, raising taxes is not a financial solution Illinoisans can afford to enact.”

Along with leading the property management company, Jennifer Pritzker is also the president and founder of the Pritzker Military Foundation, as well as the founder and chair of the Pritzker Military Museum and Library.

Her governor cousin has contributed $56.5 million of his personal fortune to back his signature ballot initiative, the constitutional amendment to allow a graduated income tax.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker unveils his graduated income tax plan during a news conference in 2019.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker unveils his graduated income tax plan during a news conference in 2019.
Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register file

Gov. Pritzker has an estimated net worth of $3.4 billion, and Jennifer Pritzker is worth an estimated $1.9 billion, according to Forbes.

Jennifer Pritzker has split from her cousin politically before.

She donated $250,000 to committees supporting Donald Trump four years ago, according to Forbes.

Her cousin, before being elected governor, was a major donor to Democrat Hillary Clinton during that heated presidential race.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, center, then gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker and his running mate Juliana Stratton participate in a roundtable discussion in 2018.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, center, then gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker and his running mate Juliana Stratton participate in a roundtable discussion in 2018.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

In 2014, Jennifer Pritzker gave $104,000 to Republican Bruce Rauner’s successful campaign for governor. J.B. Pritzker backed former Gov. Pat Quinn at the time.

In 2018, Jennifer Pritzker also donated $111,200 to Republican Erika Harold’s run for attorney general. At the time, her cousin was leading the ticket that included Democrat Kwame Raoul, who went on to win the attorney general’s race.

Jennifer Pritzker has also backed a few Democrats, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot, contributing $6,000 to her successful mayoral run.

Gov. Bruce Rauner, left, talks to reporters in 2018; President Donald Trump, right, speaks during the first day of the Republican National Convention in August.
Gov. Bruce Rauner, left, talks to reporters in 2018; President Donald Trump, right, speaks during the first day of the Republican National Convention in August.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file; Chris Carlson/AP

And since the last presidential election, the transgender activist has spoken out against some of Trump’s policies, such as barring transgender people from serving in the Armed Forces.

Arguing against the “apparent vendetta Trump and his party have against LGBTQ people,” Jennifer Pritzker has said she was suspending any contributions to the GOP.

“Until the party I once loved gets back to basics, I’ll remain politically homeless but always committed to equality, meritocracy and compassion, that is, to America at its best,” she wrote in a Sun-Times op-ed column in June.

She has donated $2,000 to a committee supporting Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Forbes previously reported.

Earlier this month, Illinois billionaire Ken Griffin, head of the hedge fund Citadel, donated nearly $27 million to stop Gov. Pritzker’s proposed graduated income tax. That followed a $20 million donation in September.