Mapping the corporate and political power structure in Chicago
Take Back Chicago is a coalition of labor unions, neighborhood groups, faith-based organizations, worker centers, and other grassroots community forces united in a movement for racial equity and economic justice in Chicago. Our Research Group looks at the CEOs, think tanks, corporations, investment banks, equity firms, law firms, foundations, politicians and power players that move the corporate agenda in Chicago. From Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s downtown inner circle to neighborhood developers, employers and charter schools, we’re mapping the corporate profiteers that keep wages low, defund public more »

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Findings & Highlights

TIF Law Firms

The law firm DLA Piper has secured over $130 million in TIF subsidies for development in downtown Chicago, including for such private companies as The Boeing Company,United Continental Holdings, Inc.CNA Financial CorporationUSGand The John Buck Company. DLA Piper's employees have donated $125,000 to the campaign of Rahm Emanuel and thousands to aldermen, including Ameya PawarWalter Burnett JrBrendan ReillyPat DowellMargaret Laurino and William Burns.
After DLA Piper represented the developer Hines Interests to secure $30 million in TIF funding to construct the River Point office tower complex in downtown Chicago, it signed a lease to move its own office space into the building.  

Low-Wage Campaign Contributions to Aldermen

We're currently working on mapping the corporate interests donating money to the Aldermen on our Chicago City Council. Some of the large low-wage corporate interests who are most against raising the minimum wage to $15/hour- groups like the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, McDonald's, Walmart, and others- have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to make sure aldermen keep workers' wages low. We're also making maps showing the corporate dollars flowing to specific aldermen. 

Corporate Control Over Public Education and Public Housing

We've mapped out the relationships that board members of the Chicago Board of Education and Chicago Housing Authority have to large corporations and financial interests like Exelon, Loop Capital Markets, the Commercial Club, Economic Club, and other powerful downtown organizations. Our city is privatizing public education and dismantling affordable housing, while enriching downtown corporate interests. 

Chicago Ed Tech:  Another Front of Privatizing Public Schools
The Chicago Public Schools is using ever increasing amounts of software for instruction and standardized test prep and administration. The companies providing this software are funded through sales to CPS, investments from venture capitalists and grants from venture philanthropists. City leaders, many of them the same people pushing for privatization of schools through a shift from publicly-run district schools to privately-run charter schools, are hoping that Chicago can be a hub in the ed tech industry. 
For example, the newly founded LEAP Innovations, a non-profit "R&D hub for education innovation" has the same CEO and a large overlap in funders and board members as New Schools for Chicago, the organization that spearheaded the opening of scores of charter schools in Chicago. We have started mapping the connections from companies, non-profits and for-profits in what has become another battleground in the struggle to keep public schools as public institutions.

Recent Edits

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