J.B. Pritzker coronavirus guns
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
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What happens when you dare to criticize a powerful elected official in a state where the major media outlets agree with the big man in charge? You get savaged by the palace guard, that’s what happens. And it doesn’t even matter that their claims of hypocrisy are laughably flimsy. The message to all is still clear: shut up, or we’ll come after you and anyone else who doesn’t keep their head down.

Illinois is basically a one-party state. With a few exceptions — the governor’s chair has changed hands between parties over the years — the state is and has been firmly in control of Democrats since roughly the Big Bang. The current occupant of the top office is J.B. Pritzker, heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune. So far, he’s managed to stay out of jail, unlike a remarkable number of his predecessors.

Ken Griffin, like Pritzker, is also a billionaire. His Chicago-based hedge fund, Citidel, is one of the largest in the country. He’s been a vocal critic of Illinois government and he’s aimed a lot of rhetorical fire directly at Pritzker on the issue of violent crime in the Land o’ Lincoln (Pritzker also signed a bill into law ending cash bail in the state as part of “criminal justice reform”).

Griffin said the governor was too easy on rioters who trashed many parts of downtown Chicago after the George Floyd killing. He also thinks the Governor should get more involved in doing something to quell the daily death toll in Chicago, since the city’s Mayor and criminal justice apparatus seem to have little interest or ability to make that happen.

Griffin contributed millions to Pritzker’s opponent in the last election and is reportedly going opening his wallet again this time around. So, strangely enough, the last few days have seen a series of coordinated media attacks on Griffin because of Citidel’s investments in firearms-related companies.

Chicago’s NPR station published “Chicago billionaire Ken Griffin’s firms have $86 million in companies making guns and ammunition” by Dave McKinney on Friday.

But while Griffin was deriding Pritzker’s response as a “disgrace,” Griffin’s $46 billion hedge fund — Citadel — and its corporate cousin had investments and holdings in gun and ammunition manufacturing companies, federal securities records show.

In fact, Chicago police data analyzed by WBEZ show that nearly one out of every four guns recovered from city homicides in the past five years came off the assembly lines of companies in which Citadel held shares — weapons that have played a role in the same, worsening crime wave that Griffin blames on the governor.

OMG! SCANDAL! HYPOCRISY! How can a man — a veritable MERCHANT OF DEATH — with a $46 billion hedge fund say ANYTHING about gun violence when his firm has $86 million invested in gun companies?!

Fortunately, no math is required here at TTAG, but we did a little anyway. Gun and ammo investments make up roughly .19% of Griffin’s firm’s investments.

It probably doesn’t need to be said that those are legal investments in firms that manufacture and sell legal products to law-abiding customers. But because Chicago’s criminal population is particularly good at illegally accessing some of those guns and using them to shoot and murder people, Griffin should be excluded from commenting on the city’s and state’s response to the problem. At least that’s the implication of the WBEZ story.

A few paragraphs down, McKinney makes it clear what Griffin’s actual offense is, though . . .

Griffin’s activism and bank account are shaping the Illinois Republican Party in this year’s election cycle as the GOP looks for big gains in Springfield. Griffin and his favored gubernatorial candidate, Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, are focusing on crime as a defining issue to deprive the Democratic governor of a second term.

But let’s be serious. Who really pays any attention to NPR any more? The answer: virtually no one, which is why Chicagoans woke up to this today from the Sun-Times . . .

They’ve re-run a slightly edited version of the WBEZ state media piece for maximum local effect.

Pritzker enacted a criminal justice package last year that mandated police body cameras by 2025 and ends cash bail in 2023; beefed up State Police staffing, including along expressways; and deployed the Illinois National Guard at Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s request to respond to civil unrest after George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis.

But Griffin poked at that record, with his criticism reaching a zenith last October when he was the headliner at the Economic Club of Chicago after an eight-year hiatus.

“Since I last spoke in 2013, 25,000 of my fellow Chicagoans have been shot. And it is a disgrace that our governor will not insert himself into the challenge of addressing crime in our city,” Griffin said. “It is a disgrace.”

But you’re apparently not allowed to point any of that out if you own stock in legal firearms industry businesses.

Days before Griffin spoke, his companies held shares in five gun and ammunition makers with a combined value of more than $103 million as of September 2021, a company Securities and Exchange Commission filing showed.

A new SEC filing submitted earlier this month showed Citadel and Citadel Securities held more than $86 million worth of shares in gun and ammunition companies last December.

In that disclosure, Citadel listed nearly $13.7 million in Smith & Wesson Brands Inc. stock and another $21.2 million in Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc.

Citadel and Citadel Securities had another $51.2 million in ammunition makers Olin Corp., Ammo Inc. and Vista Outdoor, the filing showed.

In case the article’s purpose isn’t abundantly clear . . .

Pfleger by Boch 5
Image by John Boch

“You absolutely cannot be a voice about crime and murder or shootings on our streets when your company is a major investor in gun manufacturers,” said the Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of Faith Community of St. Sabina Church.

McKinney also thinks Griffin is a skin flint when it comes to funding “anti-violence and policing initiatives.”

While some of Griffin’s philanthropy has been immense — he steered $125 million to the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago — Crain’s Chicago Business has reported only a “sliver” of his private giving goes to anti-violence and policing initiatives. One example was his $10 million grant to the University of Chicago Crime Lab.

Ten million dollars tis but a sliver. And McKinney dug up an academic who drew a straight line from lawful investments in gun manufacturers to violent crime on Chicago’s streets.

A Northeastern Illinois University expert on Chicago street gangs and violence said violent crimes are connected to upstream investments in firearms and ammunition manufacturers.

“Until we address those issues, those largest systemic issues, like investments in gun manufacturing, we’re not going to solve this problem on the streets,” said Lance Williams, professor of urban community studies at Northeastern’s Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies.

Pritzker’s current state financial disclosures do not show gun or ammunition holdings.

We could go on, but you get the drift. Note also that other downstate NPR affiliates are running the article, too.

Griffin is being painted as a beyond-the-pale arms merchant who profits from the dead bodies on Chicago’s streets…a world-class hypocrite for having the temerity to criticize the people who run his city and state (and who do it incredibly ineptly).

The local media are more than happy to toe the political line and point out what they want voters to see as a blatant conflict that invalidate anything Griffin may have to say that might discredit Pritzker.

And maybe the best part is, as this laughable hit piece was written by a public radio scribe, some of your tax dollars paid for it.

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  1. We all know what happens to anyone who calls out the evils of “identity politics” or soft on crime issues! The MACHINE goes into overdrive.

  2. Maybe these presstitutes should investigate the relative sums f money to purchase firearms and ammunition comparing spending by Chicago’s urderous criminal element, and by the state’s law enforcement services. My guess is the State spends several hundred times as much as do the criminalelements. So from WHOM does this Griffin character earn more? Th criminal element or the government ostensibly responsible for keeping crime under control?

    And WHOEVER with any sense within his cranium would listen to that Mike Pfleger critter?

    • Who is “Mike Pfleger”? I thought Pfleger was a line of plumbing components, like plumbers for clearing toilets.

  3. STOP referring to George Floyd’s death as a “killing”. He took his own life by wilfully ingesting four times a lethal dose of fentanl, and twice a lethal dose of meth. He killed himself.
    Let the presstitutes in mainstream media rail on about “murder” in this context. Don’t support the verbiage from the “ministry of truth” on NPR nd other lamestream media.

    • tinco…George Floyd tapped out when he said not once but many times, “I cannot breath.” Drugs and any other lame excuses jerks like you use do not fly and such excuses obviously landed some incompetent people in prison. Ain’t dat right?

      Never mind drugs…I bet if someone held you down following a gasbag like you consuming a big bowl of flaming hot Texas Chili you wouldn’t have lasted half as long a Floyd.

      • 1 of the effects of a fentanyl overdose is the lungs fill with fluids. Had Floyd been found anywhere else it would have been nothing but another overdose victim. He drown in his own fluids. He had pulled the same stunt about a year earlier and lucked out and survived. The reason he was being detained was because he had possibly passed counterfeit $20.00 bills and was acting erratic and possibly dangerous to himself and others. Something left out of the narrative is the fact the other men with him both refused to testify, and were not harmed when they were also detained by the same officers on the scene. Also, the autopsies, both the county and the private, could not show the bruising that would be present if enough pressure was applied to limit Floyds breathing.
        Did Chevin bear some responsibility? Sure, he should have requested medical sooner. Murder? Not by a long shot. But, given the politics and the threat of more destructive riots, a guilty verdict was a foregone conclusion in Hennepin County or anywhere in the Twin Cities Metro Area. Should have pushed for a change of venue outside the area.

      • As someone with more than 25 years experience in healthcare, including emergency rooms and ICUs, and also as someone who watched the entirety of the available video footage of St. Floyd, when he is sitting in the back of the car with his feet outside the car, fully sitting up, with no one on his neck, saying “I can’t breathe” there is a change in his voice. The first thing I thought when I heard it was “CHF”. I’ve heard that sound from thousands of patients.

  4. C’mon TTAG(Dan)! Griffin backs Richard Irvin for govner…da (black) mayor of Aurora,ILL is a backer of & member of EVERYTOWN which is a Bloomberg toady ANTI-2A bunch. So he deserves the heap of abuse poured over his ultra rich behind. There is literally no republitard running I’d vote for…

      • He gave IRVIN a boatload of bucks. Look at up! I’m not “giving” my vote to a Dim. Ever. This billionaire may be as bad or worse than prickster…do a tiny bit of digging.

        • Sorry, but if you’re not voting for a Republican, then you’re vote is being indirectly given to a Democrap. If you vote third party or not at all, that’s what it amounts to.

        • F you and your bullshit party, Gipper. When you republicrats are in power you outspend the dems on social programs and raise the taxes higher than they do trying to look like you have a heart. You never repeal any of the bullshit gun laws. We have to hold your feet to the fire just to prevent you from passing more. If you are better than the dems it is only in the same way a stomach bug is better than fatal food poisoning. The founding fathers warned about capture by 2 parties who trade back and forth and exclude all others. Well now we have it. Neither of them support freedom and both of them want your money.

    • FWW. Mr. Bailey is a top notch fella. He has my vote and support for his campaign. Dunno if there’s any saving this state or not, but I’m gonna try!

  5. You can’t swing a dead cat at Chicago City Hall without smacking into a scandal or two.

    The palace guard defends the gun control plantation aggressively.

  6. It’s what happens over and over again…Gun Control zealots set the pace with catchy ignorant buzzwords like, “Gun Violence.” And one by one politically inept history illiterates pick it up and regurgitate it like gospel all over the internet, TV, etc. Their target is never ever violence. Their target is Your Gun.

    Until the racist, genocide History of Gun Control rot is hung around the necks of Gun Control zealots each and every time they mention the word “Gun” then as I have said often expect it to be business as usual.

  7. ““Until we address those issues, those largest systemic issues, like investments in gun manufacturing,…”


    Thanks for a new whistle-word (along with ‘equity’ or ‘equitable’) to denote whenever a Marxist-inspired policy is being gas-lighted on the American public…

    • no one is more responsible than the ctu. conservative estimates that approx. 12k yutes are now streeted rather than virtual learnin’. many of them will never return to school. couple that with an awareness of lack of prosecution and, well… more fun than we had.

  8. The problem with violence with guns lays directly at the feet of the Republican party who has consistently been a prostitute of the NRA by blocking common sense Universal Background Checks and Safe Storage Laws which all civilized nations have had for decades.

    Two Chicago studies and numerous police tracings of guns used in crime in a number of states prove that criminals get there guns by buying second hand guns and stolen guns and the bulk of the second hand gun sales are shipped in from States that have lax gun laws. This is exactly why civilized countries have had the two above named laws for decades. They do indeed work and work much better than our total lack of such laws which of course is pure insanity.

    • So it’s the gun’s fault for committing crime? That’s idiotic, and you know it. Your proposals are about control and reducing access for law abiding citizens, just like every other infringement you people try to force upon us.

    • dacian, the Dunderhead. The Hell it does! Violence with guns is at the feet of your Leftist masters who have tried to emasculate the criminal justice system. You Lefties have tried to defund the police. See how that worked out for you? You have successfully done away with bail in a number of states and that has backfired.

      If you were really interested in “reforming” the criminal justice system, you would put criminals that use a firearm in jail for extended sentences. The punishment must fit the crime. You are right about one thing, prison and jail does not reform anyone. In spite of well meaning programs, it all boils down to the individual. My sainted mother use to say, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” The same goes for criminals. If they don’t want to reform, it will not happen.

      We do not have a “gun problem”, dacian, the Dunderhead and your other Leftist minions; we do have a people problem. Until you people recognize that crime will continue to run rampant.

  9. The democrat mass-money handouts from congress are specifically intended to bail out the big stinking cities before they go into Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (Liquidation). If the democrats keep the House and make gains in the Senate, the Treasury (and Taxpayers Bank accounts) will be emptied to prop up the fubars like Cjiraq. Forget Polls, the Machine has fine-tuned it’s fraudulent Ballot Harvesting Operations and may very well prevail in November.

  10. Irvin is nothing but a closet Democrap. Aside from one time, every primary he has voted in during the last several years has been the Democrap primary. Of the ads of his I’ve seen so far, not one has mentioned anything negative of Prickster or his communist mandates for the past two years. My suspicion is that Irvin is a Democrap plant who they hope will win the primary, then run a pitiful campaign so he purposely loses to the fat turd and gives him another four years.
    You heard it here first.

    • Nah you heard it from me 1st. And earlier last week. And he comes across as a jerk about kicking all those black folks azzes on TV ads.

    • He is a big talker about being anti crime but supports a Marxist socialist criminal organization. This Man (Mr.Irvin) is not a conservative he is a Trojan horse.

  11. As always, the idiots blame the hardware instead of those who commit the crimes. As for the complaint about bringing in guns from out of state, any sales of firearms through a dealer has to follow the same NICS check as in IL. If guns are being purchased and sold illegally, as in to known prohibited people, arrest and prosecute those doing the selling. by selling guns to prohibited persons, the seller is committing a federal crime. Same with straw purchases.
    Rather than further punishing the law abiding, how about actually enforcing federal law that already exists? Next would be actually prosecute those arrested for violent or firearms related crimes. And drop the lets make a deal crap to get a guilty plea. Do the crime-do the time.

  12. Not to worry, old Kenny is going to be going to jail real soon. He is, by far, the biggest criminal in Chicago. And Citadel be nothing but a distant memory.

  13. All Griffin has to do turn the table.

    “My investment in firearm and ammunition companies allows citizens to protect themselves from the disastrous and lenient criminal justice policies of our governor.”

  14. My Dad was diagnosed with Congestive heart failure (CHF) 4yeras ago. He never smoked a day in his life. The only treatment he received after diagnosis was oxygen. He was supposed to have been prescribed Esbriet but never got the prescription from the doctor. During the 2020 pandemic I came across a herbal clinic on YouTube which caught my attention .I purchased the herbal products and he used them for almost 5 month as they instructed. To my greatest surprise the herbal formula has successfully gotten rid of his CHF condition .They promised us total cure but did not believe it because all my life we were told there is no cure for CHF . He’s living proof that there is a cure for CHF. Many people are still suffering due to lack of information about this disease ,contact : www. multivitamincare. org for Congestive heart failure (CHF) treatment.


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