Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel announced Thursday that his Chicago mayoral campaign raised more than $10.5 million in three months, unveiling a lengthy, star-studded donor roll that showed only faint glimmers of his ties to Capitol Hill.
Despite serving six years in Congress, it appears only one of his former colleagues gave to Emanuel as of Dec. 31, the close of the fundraising period. Former Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-N.Y.), a member of the 2006 "majority makers" class that Emanuel shepherded in as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, gave $1,000 from his re-election committee on Nov. 18. Arcuri was one of many members of the 2006 class who were defeated in November.
Emanuel's only other contribution that was easily linked to a national politician's re-election fund or political action committee was a $5,000 check he received in early December from the Rendell '95 committee, an account of former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D), who was re-elected mayor of Philadelphia in 1995.
Among Emanuel's biggest-name contributors — several of whom wrote his biggest checks — were real estate mogul Donald Trump, screenwriter and producer Aaron Sorkin, film director Steven Spielberg, record and film producer David Geffen and Apple chief executive Steve Jobs. Geffen gave $100,000, followed by Spielberg with $75,000, then Trump and Jobs, who both gave $50,000. Sorkin gave $10,000.
"Not only do these contributions reflect the strength of our support across Chicago, but they include contributions from business and philanthropic leaders around the country who believe in Rahm's leadership and his vision for the city," campaign manager Scott Fairchild said in a statement Thursday.
Emanuel has well-documented ties to Hollywood through his brother, talent agent Ari Emanuel. Rahm Emanuel further cultivated his entertainment industry donor relationships during his tenure as DCCC chairman from 2005-2006, when he raised millions and led Democrats to take the House majority.
There were a few names on his latest campaign report that harkened back to his DCCC days. Among them were two Democratic consultants: pollster John Anzalone, who gave $1,000, and direct mail consultant Jim Crounse, who gave $2,500. Both gave in the latter half of October, not long after Emanuel launched his campaign and before the midterm elections.
Crounse has counted Emanuel as a client previously and worked for numerous DCCC clients; Anzalone was one of the top Democratic pollsters for challengers during Emanuel's DCCC chairmanship. Also donating to Emanuel was Adrienne Elrod, who worked in the DCCC press shop during Emanuel's tenure and is now chief of staff to Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.).
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.