Weather Updates

Some elite Chicago fund-raisers dine with president at White House

Updated: January 6, 2013 10:08AM

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama hosted an exclusive White House dinner on Friday for some of his most elite fund-raisers, including a group from Chicago.

A White House aide confirming the event told me, “As is commonplace with past administrations of both parties, the president hosted a holiday party with supporters Friday evening in the residence. The event was paid for by the Democratic National Committee.”

It’s the holiday season and Obama and first lady Michelle — as is routine in prior administrations — are hosting many holiday receptions at the White House each night for hundreds of attendees. These events are paid for by the DNC and are thrown for members of Congress, for print and broadcast press, for military members, major contributors, stakeholder groups, etc.

The Friday event was much smaller — for about 200 who were part of the Obama campaign National Finance Committee.

The Chicago group included Vicki Heyman, a co-chair of the Illinois Finance Committee and her husband, Bruce; another Illinois co-chair, Ariel Investments founder John Rogers; Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts; business executives James Crown and Penny Pritzker; and Michael Sacks, CEO of Grosvenor Capital Management and an investor and board member for Wrapports LLC, the owner of Sun-Times Media, publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, top strategist David Axelrod and deputy campaign managers Stephanie Cutter and Julianna Smoot dropped by the event along with White House adviser David Plouffe.

Inaugural committee

Could it be donor fatigue? I’ve learned that the Obama Presidential Inaugural Committee is poised to take corporate money — reversing its self-imposed 2008 ban. The second Obama inauguration — on Jan. 21 — will be smaller and far more modest than the first, I am told.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.