The Crusader Newspaper Group

Foxx’s opponent gets additional $650,000 donation from billionaire father

Foxx outraised as opponent Bill Conway raises $701,600 in one week

Crusader Staff Report

Democratic candidate for Cook County State’s Attorney Bill Conway received an additional $650,000 from his billionaire father on November 8, according to the latest filings with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

The hefty donation comes three months after William Conway gave $500,000 to his son’s campaign to defeat Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in the Democratic Primary on March 17. William Conway’s donations to his son’s campaign now totals $1,150,000.

Campaign records show that William Conway’s latest donation has helped his son raise $701,600 in just one week from November 8-15. The last big donation Foxx received was $25,000 from businessman Elzie Higginbottom.

So far, Conway has raised $1,530,734 in political contributions. Foxx, who has received campaign donations after her election in 2016, has nearly $786,000 in her campaign war chest.

Conway’s latest donors include the wealthy Crown family that includes husband, Lester Crown, and his wife, Renee Crown. Both gave $5,800 on November 15. Wealthy Chicago property mogul Robert Buford gave $2,500.

Many of Conway’s donors include powerful investment bankers, influential attorneys, doctors, business owners, and college professors.

The biggest donors are from William Conway and his massive private equity firm, The Carlyle Group, a Washington, D.C. firm that has over $212 billion in wealth and assets. Since August, three executives at the Carlyle Group have donated a combined $1.3 million to Conway’s campaign, including his father, William E. Conway, a billionaire and co-founder of the Carlyle Group.

On August 9, William donated $500,000. On September 19, Allan Holt, who serves as senior partner and managing director of the Carlyle Group, donated $100,000. On October 18—a month later—Gregory S. Ledford, who is a senior advisor at the Carlyle Group, donated $50,000.

The Crusader counted a total of six donors who worked at the Carlyle Group.

In addition to William Conway, Holt and Ledford, other donors include Peter Malone, an operating executive who gave $5,800 to Conway’s campaign on October 4 and Ronnie Jaber, a managing director and portfolio manager for the Carlyle Group, who gave $2,000 on October 18. On October 18, Zachary Crowe, who serves as a principal in the Carlyle Group’s Washington D.C. office, gave $2,000.

Foxx’s biggest donor was the labor union SEIU Healthcare IL, which gave $272,956, campaign records show.

On August 28, Michael Rubin, a billionaire and owner of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball franchise, gave $100,000 to Foxx’s campaign. 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.

On September 27, Chicago philanthropist Fred Eychaner donated $100,000.

At 41, Conway is trying to become the youngest Cook County State’s Attorney in Illinois’ history. Conway is a U.S. Naval intelligence officer, and on August 8 became the first Democratic candidate to run against Foxx. Some of his political advertisements have aired on several Chicago television stations.What is not widely known is that he once was a prosecutor at the State’s Attorney’s office.

Foxx is trying to win a second term after drawing heavy criticism for recusing herself and dropping charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, who was accused of staging a hate crime in January in the Streeterville neighborhood.

In August, former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb was appointed as special prosecutor to investigate why Foxx dropped all the charges against Smollett. A judge recently allowed a lawsuit seeking $130,000 in police costs against Smollett to go forward.

The Smollett case has also inflamed racial tensions in Chicago where white nationalists and the Chicago police labor union—the Fraternal Order of Police—called for Foxx’s resignation.

Black leaders, including the Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr., have stood behind Foxx, Cook County’s first Black female State’s Attorney who ousted her predecessor, Anita Alvarez in 2016. Alvarez drew widespread protests in 2016 after she waited 13 months to charge Jason Van Dyke with first degree murder after he shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014.

Foxx campaigned as a reformer, but the Smollett case has raised doubts as to whether she is fulfilling her promise. While Foxx may get Chicago’s powerful Black vote, there is concern whether she will have strong support in Chicago’s outlying predominantly white, affluent suburbs, where her opponents will seek to campaign.

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