Cook County State’s Attorney nets $305,650 in one day from wealthy philanthropists, Kate Upshaw Spielberg
Crusader Staff Report
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx received 41 donations totaling $305,650 on November 22, according to the latest filings with the Illinois State Board of Elections.
The amount is Foxx’s most successful fundraising effort yet and puts her in a high stakes battle with opponent Bill Conway, who raised $701,600 during the week of November 8.
The fundraising bonanza is building an expensive campaign race between Foxx and Conway, who seeks to unseat Foxx largely with the help of his billionaire father, William Conway Jr., who since September, made two hefty donations totaling $1,150,000. William Conway Jr. co-founded the Carlyle Group, one of the world’s richest private equity firms.
Foxx’s two biggest donors on November 22 are wealthy philanthropist Michael J. Sacks, who is chairman and chief executive officer of Chicago-based Grosvenor Capital Management and Fred Eychaner, a philanthropist whose net worth is $500 million, according to Forbes. Sacks and Eychaner donated $100,000 to Foxx’s campaign on November 22. On September 30, Sacks donated an additional $101,250 and Eychaner donated $100,000 donated to Foxx’s reelection campaign.
Kate Capshaw Spielberg, the wife of renowned Hollywood film director Steven Spielberg, donated $25,000 to Foxx’s campaign, campaign records show. Philanthropist Patty Quillin and high-powered Attorney Gary Elden donated $10,000. Other donations came from private donors.
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.