(Crain's) â€” A state pension fund has decided to postpone dropping minority-owned money manager Ariel Capital Management LLC for poor investment performance, after lobbying by two state senators and a former aide to Gov. Rod Blagojevich.ISBI originally yanked the business because clout-heavy Ariel's stewardship of pension money was below par.
Strahler deserves credit for finding the story but he missed a couple of elements. He failed to note that Ariel is a huge campaign contributor to Blagojevich. According to state records, the investment firm has given about $600,000 to pols over the years. More than $100,000 has gone to Blagojevich, according to an October 2005 Sun-Times story.
Another intriguing sidelight is the Carl McCall connection. McCall is a board of director at Ariel and has strong ties to Joe Cari, the indicted Democratic fundraiser whose plea agreement stands as one of the most damning statements to date concerning Blagojevich's fundraising operation. Steve Rhoads outlined the McCall-Cari-Blagojevich connection in an excellent Chicago Magazine story in December 2005.
McCall is listed on the schedule of the "Shakedown Shuttle," the 2003 trip Blagojevich took with two fundraisers who since have been indicted and with at least one other who is under heavy federal scrutiny.
Clout in Illinois never takes a holiday.