Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn held a fund-raiser Monday night—but he refused to accept any funds at it. Quinn spokesman Bob Reed said Quinn “didn’t feel it was appropriate” to throw a check-collecting party while the country is waiting to find out the latest sordid details in the state’s latest pay-to-play scandal. Instead, Reed said, the gathering “became a holiday reception.”

But that doesn’t mean the lieutenant governor won’t receive donations at other times. Interest in Quinn has grown in proportion to disgust with embattled governor Rod Blagojevich; expect the money to flow in even faster if impeachment proceedings against Blagojevich move along.

Quinn, who made his name as a government watchdog, taxpayer advocate, and annoyance to the political establishment, hasn’t been the most prodigious fund-raiser. Over the last four years his primary campaign fund has collected about $626,000 in donations; by contrast, Blagojevich raked in more than three times as much cash ($1,891,238) in just the first six months of 2008.

But Quinn does have his loyal supporters, led by unions, developers, and some wealthy and connected Chicagoans. His top contributor since the beginning of 2005, to the tune of $49,000, has been AFSCME Council 31, which represents thousands of state employees. The Chicago Teachers Union has kicked in $34,500, and the Illinois Pipe Trades, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, the United Auto Workers, the Sprinkler Fitters, the Associated Fire Fighters, the Service Employees International Union, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have each given thousands of dollars to Quinn. 

The lieutenant governor has also received big contributions from prominent property tax attorney Richard Shapiro, venture capitalist and Hyatt heir J.B. Pritzker, and restaurateur Yick Y. Chiu, as well as lesser sums from alderman Richard Mell, Blago’s father-in-law; alderman Ed Burke and his wife, justice Anne Burke of the state supreme court, which today decided not to weigh in on a motion to remove Blago from office; and, of course, Blagojevich himself.

Reed says Quinn screens his donors. “He’s pretty selective in terms of who he takes contributions from,” Reed said. “He doesn’t take anything from currency exchanges, utilities, or insurance companies.”

Below are his top 20 donors since the start of 2005; the full list is here


AFSCME Illinios Council No. 31- PAC

 $ 49,000.00

Chicago Teachers Union PAC

 $ 34,500.00

Chiu, Yick Y.

 $ 30,075.00

Pritzker, J.B.

 $ 25,000.00

Illinois Pipe Trades PAC

 $ 24,500.00

Shapiro, Richard

 $ 20,200.00


 $ 17,500.00

Quinn, Patrick

 $ 16,500.00

UAW Illinois PAC

 $ 16,500.00

315 W North Ave. LP

 $ 15,000.00

Chicago Investments L.P.

 $ 15,000.00

Development Specialists Inc.

 $ 11,500.00

O’Brien, Pete

 $ 10,000.00

Berry, William

 $   9,380.27

Assoc. Beer Distributors of Illinois

 $   9,000.00

Sprinkler Fitters Local Union No. 281

 $   8,200.00

Assc. Fire Fighters of IL PAC

 $   8,000.00

SEIU Illinois Council PAC Fund

 $   7,750.00

I.B.E.W. Local 15

 $   7,500.00

Plumbers & Pipe Fitters P.A.C Fund

 $   7,000.00