Home / News / Eileen O’Neill Burke raised over $800,000 in one day after exceeding limits

Eileen O’Neill Burke raised over $800,000 in one day after exceeding limits


One day after that Breaks records in Cook County State’s Attorney race For the Democratic nomination, retired Judge Eileen O’Neill Burke raised just over $836,000 from 13 donors, all of whom are largely leaders in the city’s business community.

O’Neill Burke had already entered the campaign’s home turf with a fundraising advantage over fellow Democrat Clayton Harris III in the March 19 primary. Including new donations, it has received $1.9 million since late July. Earlier this week, Burke and her husband crossed the threshold that allows unlimited contributions to flow into her coffers.

Others in the race (Harris and Republican candidate Bob Fioretti) will also now be able to raise unlimited individual contributions above the $6,900 limit.

With the borders closed, Burke brought in four donations worth $100,000 each from Donald Wilson Jr., founder of trading firm DRW Holdings; Richard Melman, founder and president of local restaurant group Lettuce Entertain You; Craig Duchossois of investment firm Duchossois Group; and Citadel Chief Operating Officer Gerald Beeson. Some are repeat donors who donated smaller amounts to him early in the campaign, and some are donors to Republican candidates at the local and federal level.

O’Neill Burke’s biggest contribution is Daniel O’Keefe, managing director of Artisan Partners, a global investment management firm. He gave $236,000 in this latest round of donations. O’Keefe has not been a major donor in Illinois, but he has donated thousands to Republicans in national races in recent years; These include 2022 U.S. Senate candidates Herschel Walker, Dr. They include Mehmet Oz and JD Vance, and in 2020, Kelly Loeffler.

Harris said in a statement that her opponent’s campaign was “funded by dangerous, right-wing donors.” The last thing we need as we stare down the barrel of a potential second Trump administration is local leaders beholden to extremists. “We share our values.”

Although he identified himself as a Democrat (although he told party members that he had voted in every Democratic primary since he was 18, had previously been nominated for judicial seats by the county’s Democratic Party, and sought their endorsement for this race), O’Neill Burke accusations about his ties Republicans followed him since the first days of the campaign.

O’Neill Burke is proud to have a “diverse coalition of supporters” that includes several unions and elected officials like U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, Treasurer Susana Mendoza, many attorneys and “ordinary families who want him,” a spokesman said in a statement. ” told. “a safer, more equitable Cook County…we are excited by the growing momentum behind his unique experience and vision.”

The statement said Harris was a “corporate lobbyist” and a “political insider” and that any suggestion that she was beholden to her donors was “derogatory and sexist.”

Harris previously lobbied for Lyft and CH2M Hill and is a longtime lecturer at the University of Chicago after serving in various public sectors. in the city and state. Its biggest donors include progressive unions like the SEIU, the Chicago Teachers Union and local liberal megadonor Fred Eychaner. In total, he raised just over $830,000.

Melman, his son RJ Melman and Duchossois were among the hosts of a Jan. 29 fundraiser for O’Neill Burke at Shaw’s Crab House. Melman has donated to Chicago Democrats for decades, including Kim Foxx in 2016, but also donated to Republicans, including State Attorney candidate Pat O’Brien in 2020, according to state records. Beeson, who has also contributed to local Republican and Democratic candidates over the years but skews Republicans in federal donations, was also an O’Brien donor in 2020.

Through a spokesman, Melman declined to comment.

Beeson’s boss, Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, complained about crime in Chicago before moving his company’s headquarters to Miami. “Judge Burke has an outstanding record as a prosecutor, defense attorney, and judge. There is no candidate more qualified to reduce gun violence and make Cook County safer for everyone,” Beeson said in a statement.



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