The seven-person inaguration committee for Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, Treasurer-elect Stephanie Neely, and City Clerk-elect Susana Mendoza will "organize the inauguration of Chicago’s three city-wide elected officials and coordinate with members of the City Council as they prepare to begin their terms," according to a statement the Emanuel campaign sent out this morning. The group has some recognizable names, like the former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers. It also includes David Herro, an investment manager at Harris Associates.
What makes Herro's selection stand out is his affinity for Republican Party politicians and the committees that support them; Emanuel, Neely, and Mendoza are all Democrats. According to a review of Federal Election Commission records, Herro has donated to many members of the state's GOP delegation to Congress, including Robert Schilling, Judy Biggert, Peter Roskam, Randy Hultgren, Adam Kinzinger, Robert Dold, and Aaron Schock as well as the House Tea Party leader Michele Bachmann, who represents a district in Minnesota. He's given to Republican U.S. Senators Mark Kirk, Scott Brown, and John Thune, and state GOP organizations as well.
Herro's most substantial political largesse, however, has benefited the murky organizations the controversial Citizens United Supreme Court decision unshackled. In September and October of last year, Herro donated $190,000 to the New Prosperity Foundation, a group that helped Kirk get elected to the U.S. Senate. And last fall he offered up $10,000 to American Crossroads, a committee Karl Rove helped to create that spent more than $1.1 million attacking Alexi Giannoulias during the senate campaign.
Herro, who has identified Wal-Mart's expansion in Chicago as one of his primary concerns, has given heavily in local races as well. A number of city council members -- Alds. Reilly, Tunney, and Mitts among them, as well as former Alds. Haithcock, Tillman and Carothers -- accepted donations from him, according to the state board of elections. He supported one of Ald. Joe Moore's opponents in the 49th Ward race four years ago to the tune of $60,000 and gave $15,000 to another. And more recently Herro gave Mendoza $5,000 in January, $65,000 to Emanuel and $5,000 (PDF) -- amended from an earlier filing that listed his donation as $10,000 -- to the business-centric group For A Better Chicago, which has otherwise kept its donors hidden.
There are a few donations for federal Democrats from Herro too, like $2,000 for John Edwards' presidential bid in 2004, $2,000 for Barack Obama's '04 Senate campaign, and $2,300 to the Obama for America committee in 2007. Herro also contributed $1,000 in February 2002 toward Nancy Kaszak's campaign for U.S. Congress, according to the Federal Election Commission. Her opponent in that race? Rahm Emanuel.