Crusader Staff Report
Campaign donations are pouring in for Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx as she steps up her re-election campaign against opponents who seek to capitalize on her handling of the Jussie Smollett case.
Since Foxx held a fundraiser last June at Taste 22 on the Near West Side, she has received 81 donations totaling $259,050, according to the latest filing with the Illinois State Board of Elections.
Her Democratic opponent, Bill Conway, a former local prosecutor and Navy veteran, has received 10 campaign donations for a total of $538,800, state records show. On August 9, Bill Conway’s father, William Conway, Jr., a billionaire who co-founded the Carlyle Group, donated $500,000 to his sons campaign.
Many of Foxx’s donations are relatively small contributions ranging from $250 to $5,000. Foxx’s largest donor since June is $100,000 from Michael Rubin, a billionaire and owner of the Philadelphia 76 Sixers basketball franchise. Rubin is also the founder and co-chair of REFORM Alliance, which aims to change the criminal justice system. The group also includes rapper Jay Z, Meek Mill and leaders in business, entertainment and sports.
Conway is the largest donor to his own campaign with $8,500. The rest of his donations are from private individuals.
Foxx also received $3,000 from Weston Milliken, the son of South Carolina textile billionaire Roger Milliken. Businessman Willie Wilson, who’s running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Dick Durbin, gave Foxx $5,000.
Other donors to Foxx include former Deputy Mayor Andrea Zopp, former Emanuel aide Tara Cooper, former Chairman of Johnson Publishing Company Linda Johnson Rice and Mahalia Ann Hines, mother of rapper Common.
Former prosecutor Donna More, who came in third in the 2016 Democratic primary for Cook County State’s Attorney, is running again against Foxx. So far her campaign has $6,000, all of which are from More herself, according to state campaign records.
On the Republican side, former prosecutor and Cook County Judge Pat O’Brien, who ran as a Democrat during his campaign for the Circuit Court, has raised $34,600. That includes $22,000 of O’Brien’s own money. The other donations are from private individuals.
Foxx is running for a second term after defeating incumbent Anita Alvarez in 2016. Foxx campaigned as a criminal justice reformer after protests erupted after Alvarez charged Officer Jason Van Dyke with first degree murder 13 months after he killed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
In March, Foxx, drew outrage after her office dropped felony charges against Smollett, an actor on the television series Empire who reported being attacked by two men in Streeterville in the early morning hours in February.
Chicago police searched the area and talked to many witnesses before they accused Smollett of staging a racist and homophobic attack and filing a false police report. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson demanded that Smollett reimburse the city $130,000, the cost in investigating his claim.
Smollett and his attorneys have not responded to the city’s request. A judge has ordered a special prosecutor to investigate the state’s handling of the case. Last month, U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall, said she will rule in October on whether the city could move forward with its lawsuit to redeem the costs.
With six months before the Democratic primary, the case has threatened to damage Foxx’s re-election hopes.
Several white activists and the Fraternal Order of Police have held protests calling for Foxx’s resignation.
Reverend Jesse Jackson and many Black community leaders support Foxx, a product of the Cabrini Green housing project and protégé of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who contributed $250,000 to Foxx’s campaign in 2016.
CORRECTION: The Crusader initially reported that Conway had raised 38,800 for his campaign. This was incorrect. At the time, Conyers had raised $538,800 after his father, William Conway Jr., donated $500,000 on August 9.