Photo courtesy of the nwherald.com
Pritzker’s shady history could result in more trouble for Illinois.
Illinois politics is an incredibly indomitable and imposing beast. When four out of your last seven governors have gone to jail, questioning the ethics of the state government is understandable. And, ever since the Democrats found their candidate to run against Bruce Rauner, that question has been brought up again.
Entrepreneur JB Pritzker was the clear frontrunner in the primary, and when considering his prestige and connections, it should come as no surprise. His family owns the Hyatt hotel chain. He was national co-chairman for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008. Now, he’s president of the Pritzker Family Foundation, a group that funds programs to help needy families. Through all of this, he is also the ideal candidate for Illinois governor due to his plentiful history of shady money practice as well.
Recently, Pritzker has been under fire for using an offshore banking account, one he merely dismissed as being started by his grandfather and used solely for his charitable foundation, not for personal use. However, a recent Chicago Tribune article may have proved otherwise.
According to a leak that was evident when the infamous Paradise Papers were made public, Pritzker is the owner of an offshore company that plans to buy property along the Chicago River that will host boat tours. Pritzker seems to have generated a way to make money in Chicago that won’t be taxed to its full extent.
My biggest question is, why?
For a man who has been blessed with so much, seemingly from birth, why isn’t that enough? It’s a question that has been asked in politics quite a bit recently, and probably at its peak when Donald Trump began gaining momentum in the presidential race. However, as far as we know, even Trump doesn’t have tax havens in the Caribbean.
Although my argument stems from an annoyance with untamed monetary desire, it's not the fact that Pritzker is wealthy that concerns me. It's not the fact that his family’s wealth means he could have became anything he wanted, so becoming governor is just another promotion. It's the idea that, if he is elected, Illinois is risking putting yet another politician in charge that’s vulnerable to malpractice and corruption.
It should be understood that Illinoisans have been disappointed with Rauner. He is a mixed bag of political opinions; faulted by Republicans by not being a true conservative and by Democrats as being too aligned with Trump. It would be fair to label Rauner a wealthy elite as well because of his net worth being well over $100 million. So, the problem isn’t that the favored candidate for governor is an out-of-touch one percenter. Rather, it’s that both candidates fit that bill.
Lately, progressives and grassroot organizers have been seeking candidates with better connections to middle class America. It’s disappointing that the current choices for governor lack this element, but it shouldn’t be forgotten four years from now. Keeping faith that honorable public servants will rise to the occasion is what carries us through these troubling times. However, it also gives us the responsibility of locating such candidates, and promoting the values they bring forward. Perhaps this should become a top priority in this state.