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Business, Hollywood big shots help stock Emanuel’s war chest

Rahm Emanuel has raised more money his campaign fund than all other Chicago mayoral candidates combined. | Keith Hale~Sun-Times

Rahm Emanuel has raised more money in his campaign fund than all the other Chicago mayoral candidates combined. | Keith Hale~Sun-Times

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Mayoral fund-raising

Candidate Raised Cash on hand (Dec. 31)

Rahm Emanuel $11.7 million $8.3 million

Gery Chico $2.5 million $2 million

Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins $500,367 $361,499

Carol Moseley Braun $445,760 $164,178

Miguel del Valle $111,499 $2,115

William “Dock” Walls $37,710 $25,406

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Updated: May 4, 2011 4:46AM

Rahm Emanuel took in an eye-popping $11.7 million for his Chicago mayoral campaign in just three months, notching big contributions from Chicago’s business community, Hollywood heavyweights and other out-of-state donors.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange gave Emanuel $200,000, records released Thursday show. He also took in $100,000 apiece from wealthy Chicago businessmen James Crown and Fred Eychaner, plus another $100,000 from Hollywood mogul David Geffen, $75,000 from film director Steven Spielberg and $50,000 from Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

In all, Emanuel — President Obama’s former chief of staff — had raised more than $10.5 million as of Dec. 31, records show. He also transferred more than $1.1 million from the federal campaign account he used when was a Northwest Side congressman.

Emanuel spent nearly $3.5 million, including $2.2 million to AKPD Message and Media LLC, a publicity firm once run by David Axelrod, now an Obama senior adviser. That left Emanuel with more than $8.3 million to spend on the mayor’s race as of the start of this year.

Though he’s been criticized by his opponents for raising big bucks from outside Chicago, Emanuel’s campaign said 74 percent of his 2,494 contributors live in Cook County and more than half gave him $250 or less.

Thursday marked the deadline for state and local political campaigns to file their financial reports with the State Board of Elections disclosing how much money they raised and spent between July 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2010.

Emanuel made his name raising money for Mayor Daley, President Bill Clinton and Democratic congressional candidates across the nation.

Now he is on track to have more money than all of his mayoral opponents combined. To put the $11.7 million he raised over three months in perspective, Gov. Quinn’s path to the governorship cost $20.1 million over 18 months, records show.

Gery Chico, who has won the backing of Chicago’s police union and powerful Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th), ranked second behind Emanuel in the mayoral money game. He reported $2.5 million in contributions as of Dec. 31. Chico spent $353,221, leaving him with slightly more than $2 million for the Feb. 22 municipal-general election.

Chico, who heads the law firm of Chico & Nunes, collected tens of thousands of dollars from several current or former clients who do business with City Hall, records show. They include O’Hare Airport cleaning contractor Scrub Inc., which gave Chico $20,000. Chico also got $20,000 from Dan Walsh of Walsh Construction, one of City Hall’s premier construction contractors.

Chico accepted — but later refunded — a $25,000 contribution from Symon Garber, who operates Chicago Carriage Cab, the city’s largest taxi company. Chico’s law firm is helping Garber fight the city over $9 million in fines Garber’s company was assessed for illegally operating 180 once-wrecked cars as taxis.

The other mayoral hopefuls trailed far behind Emanuel and Chico in terms of money raised as of Dec. 31. The next highest candidate in terms of fund-raising was Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins, a community activist, who raised $500,367 as of the end of the year. More than half of that money, $296,754, came from Joseph Stanford, pastor of Ambassadors for Christ Ministries.

Watkins spent $138,868, leaving her with $361,499 to spend as of Jan. 1.

Former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun — who has been polling in second place behind Emanuel — raised less money than Watkins. She took in $445,760 and spent $281,582, leaving her with $164,178 to start the year. Her biggest donor was Ariel Investments founder John W. Rogers, who gave her $100,000.

Miguel del Valle, Chicago’s city clerk, raised $111,499. He had $2,115 available to spend as of Jan. 1.

William “Dock” Walls, a community activist whose information was updated Friday morning, reported raising $37,170 during the last six months of 2010 and had $25,406 to spend as of the start of the year.

A new state campaign-finance law that kicked in Jan. 1 limits the amount of money candidates can accept to $5,000 from individuals, $10,000 from corporations and unions and $50,000 from political action committees. Had that law been in effect last year, Emanuel, Watkins and Braun wouldn’t have been able to accept the six-figure contributions they took in.

The new law also requires candidates to disclose any contribution of $1,000 or more on a rolling basis. Since Jan. 1, Emanuel has reported getting $113,000 from 35 donors; Chico $98,000 from 62 donors; and del Valle $15,300 from seven donors. None of the other candidates reported contributions in excess of $1,000 since the start of the year.

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