Earlier today The Washington Times reported that President Obama’s super PAC, Priorities USA Action, is having trouble raising money. (That would explain why he’s willing to deploy cabinet secretaries to go out to PAC fundraisers.) They haven’t even raised $60,000 yet, and most of the money came from one man – John W. Rogers, CEO of Chicago’s Ariel Capital.
So, what do we know about John Rogers? The Free Beacon provides some details.
Rogers and his Chicago-based firm’s ties to the president go back to Obama’s time as an Illinois State Senator.
In 2000 and 2001, Obama urged Illinois pension funds to give more business to black-owned investment firms, such as Ariel. The year after Obama’s pitch, the Illinois teacher retirement system reported an 18 percent increase in assets managed by minority-owned firms.
By 2005, Ariel was managing $578 million in state pension funds and had become a supporter of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s re-election campaign. Ariel Investments and its executives donated $117,500 to Blagojevich, making it the second largest contributor with ties to the Illinois state pension business.
Rogers told the Chicago Sun-Times the donations reflected a close philosophical alignment with Blagojevich.
Also in 2005, then-U.S. Senator Obama took 23 private aircraft flights—before he decided to institute an office-wide ban on gifts and privately funded travel—often to attend and headline fundraisers he headlined. One plane was controlled by Rogers.
In 2006, Tony Rezko was indicted in a federal investigation and charged with attempting to extort million of dollars in kickbacks from money managements firms seeking to do business with the Illinois Teachers Retirement System.