Buying Power: A Wealthy Governor and His Friends Are Remaking Illinois

The richest man in Illinois does not often give speeches. But on a warm spring day two years ago, Kenneth C. Griffin, the billionaire founder of one of the world’s largest hedge funds, rose before a black-tie dinner of the Economic Club of Chicago to deliver an urgent plea to the city’s elite.They had stood silently, Mr. Griffin told them, as politicians taxed too much, spent too much and drove businesses and jobs from the state. They had refused to help those who would take on the reigning powers in the Illinois Capitol. “It is time for us to do something,” heimplored.Their response came quickly. In the months since, Mr. Griffin and a small group of rich supporters — not just from Chicago, but also from New York City and Los Angeles, southern Florida and Texas — have poured tens of millions of dollars into the state, a concentration of political money without precedent in Illinois history.Their wealth has forcefully shifted the state’s balance of power. Last year, the families helped elect as governor Bruce Rauner, a Griffin friend and former private equity executive from the Chicago suburbs, who estimates his own fortune at more than $500 million. Now they are rallying behind Mr. Rauner’s agenda: to cut spending and overhaul the state’s pension system, impose term limits and weaken public employee unions.

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Massive rallies for the climate, but violence in Paris

Hundreds of thousands of people rallied around the world Sunday on the eve of a Paris summit aimed at averting catastrophic climate change, but violent clashes in the French capital soured the show of people power. The global protests, including an emotional linking of hands near the heart of this month’s terror attacks in Paris, were aimed at building grassroots pressure for an historic deal at the UN talks to limit global warming. As US President Brack Obama and other world leaders began flyin

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