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Illinois' Richest Man Became $1.7 Billion Richer In 2015

By aaroncynic in News on May 13, 2016 7:26PM

Citadel LLC founder and CEO Kenneth Griffin is the richest man in Chicago. (Photo via Citadel LLC's website.)

Illinois' richest man, billionaire Ken Griffin, earned himself a cool $1.7 billion last year, tying for the title of the highest-earning hedge fund manager in the world in 2015, Forbes reports.

Griffin’s income last year is equal to that of 112,000 people making the federal minimum wage, according to the Guardian's calculations.Griffin and the other 24 top hedge fund managers collectively made $13 billion in 2015, more than the gross domestic product of 67 countries.

Griffin, the CEO of Citadel, a financial management firm that manages $25 billion, is the nation’s 56th wealthiest billionaire. Both his penthouse in Park Tower on the Magnificent Mile and the Citadel offices on Adams and Dearborn have been the target of several protests, mostly from groups demanding billionaires pay more taxes. On Monday, 23 people were arrested at Citadel as part of a ‘Moral Monday’ demonstration.

While Griffin doesn’t speak much on the record about his political inclinations, his checkbook speaks volumes. Griffin donated more than $3 million to the failed presidential bids of Marco Rubio, Jeb! Bush and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Closer to home, the Griffin family has poured $13.6 million into Governor Bruce Rauner’s campaign coffers. Recently, Griffin has been bankrolling some of Rauner's allies in the legislature, too, with donations of $5,400 to several Republican candidates, including Rep. Terri Bryant and Rep. Avery Bourne.

In total, Griffin has sunk $9,821,050 into the 2016 election cycle so far according to Open Secrets, making him the 8th top political donor - 2 spots ahead of liberal boogieman George Soros.

Though his vast personal fortune of an estimated $7 billion which allows him to pump millions into political campaigns, Griffin—like many other mega-rich business moguls—doesn’t believe he has enough influence.

“I think they (the ultra-wealthy) actually have an insufficient influence,” Griffin told the Chicago Tribune in an interview in 2012. He also said the rich should be able to put as much money into politics as they want (they can, thanks to Citizens United) and had trepidations about transparency when it comes to campaign donations.

“I do worry about the publicity that comes with being willing to both with my dollars and, more importantly, with my voice to stand for what I believe in,” Griffin told the Tribune.