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Pritzker, Rauner spar after Democrat pledges $1 million to black-owned bank

Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker is making a $1 million deposit in a black-owned bank in Chicago, taking a page from Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner‘s playbook.

The issue led to back-and-forth attacks from the two campaigns centered on failures of financial institutions Rauner and the Pritzker family have been involved with in their careers.

Pritzker’s planned deposit, like Rauner’s three years ago in a South Side credit union, carry the goal of generating support from black voters.

Pritzker’s campaign tried to draw a distinction between the two men’s actions: the Democrat’s money pledge was only announced on a Chicago radio show, while Rauner’s visit to the credit union was a major campaign event.

Appearing on WVON 1690-AM Monday, Pritzker was asked by a caller named “Bob” if he could do what Rauner did and “make a commitment to put $1 million of the money in a black bank so we can have loans and hire people?”

Pritzker, a billionaire investor and entrepreneur, responded: “As a matter of fact I have made a commitment to do that, and we met with a number of African-American faith leaders who were very encouraging about that and felt like that’s a very important way for us to create employment in the African-American community, so that’s something I’ve already done.”

The money is going to Illinois Service Federal Savings in Bronzeville, the Pritzker campaign confirmed Friday.

When Rauner campaigned in July 2014 for the governor’s office, the wealthy former equity investor attended a South Side meeting of the group Black Wall Street Chicago, where he pledged to deposit $1 million in a black-owned institution.

Later, Rauner showed up at the South Side Community Federal Credit Union at 54th and Wentworth Avenues, scaling back his deposit to $800,000 and giving another $200,000 as a grant. That was because the credit union couldn’t generate enough revenue to pay Rauner the interest due…

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