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.).
Among the other noteworthy donors to Emanuel on the report filed Thursday with the Illinois State Board of Elections was Blair Hull, the wealthy financier and one of the Democrats who lost the state's 2004 Democratic Senate primary to now President Barack Obama. Hull, who spent $29 million from his own pocket on his Senate bid, gave $2,500 at the end of November. Around the same time, Joel Johnson, a managing director at the Washington, D.C.-based Glover Park Group, gave $15,000 to Emanuel. Johnson and Emanuel are friends and fellow veterans of the Clinton White House.
Also listed on the latest report are former Clinton administration Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who gave $10,000, and Roger Altman, who served as deputy treasury secretary in the Clinton administration and gave $50,000. Under Illinois campaign finance law, Emanuel could receive unlimited donations from individuals before Dec. 31. But the law changed on Jan. 1, and individual contributions to candidates are now limited to $5,000.
Emanuel is the frontrunner in next month's primary, but he must win 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff. A new Chicago Tribune/WGN poll found the former Congressman had 44 percent, followed by former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun at 21 percent, former Chicago schools president Gery Chico at 16 percent and Chicago City Clerk Miguel del Valle at 7 percent.
Emanuel left the White House in early October to run for mayor. In addition to the more than $10 million that his campaign raised through the end of the year, he also transferred $1.1 million from his former Congressional account to his mayoral bid.