The File on Citadel’s Ken Griffin

He’s the billionaire founder of the Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel. He’s also a philanthropist, a political player, a benefactor of the arts—and a person with a penchant for privacy. So who exactly is Kenneth Cordele Griffin? We scoured public documents, financial records, and other sources to come up with the answer

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Griffin has hedged his political bets, giving money to politicians on both sides of the aisle, including Representative Paul Ryan and Senator Tom Coburn, both Republicans, and the Democrats Rahm Emanuel (both for Congress and for mayor) and Senator Evan Bayh. Nonetheless, the preponderance of the donations has gone to Republicans. Federal and Illinois databases for political contributions contain 275 records for Ken and Anne Griffin, totaling $3,038,091. (The couple often split their political donations, each giving half on the same day.) In 2010, the Griffins’ donations increased in both frequency and amount, as well as taking a rightward turn. Their 65 donations last year, totaling $1,869,400, included $450,000 to Bill Brady’s gubernatorial campaign—all during October—and $500,000 to a right-leaning political action committee. In a 2007 article in Portfolio, Griffin denied any political aspirations of his own.

$500,000  The largest donation: In 2010, Ken gave $500,000 each to two different political action committees—on October 25th to American Crossroads, an organization, according to its website, “dedicated to renewing America’s commitment to individual liberty, limited government, [and] free enterprise” and on December 15th to Stand for Children Illinois, a lobbying group focused on issues related to public education.

$140,000 in October 2010 to Two Party System, a political action committee that fights “Illinois’ one-party system” by supporting the state campaigns of Republicans and independents

During the 2008 presidential election, Ken was a bundler for both Barack Obama and John McCain, according to

$2,000  The earliest donation in the databases: On June 12, 1998, Ken gave two separate $1,000 contributions to Daniel Inouye, the Democratic U.S. senator from Hawaii.

$200,000 to Rahm Emanuel’s mayoral campaign

$150,000 to Mayor Daley in 2006

During the 2010 elections for Illinois state legislative seats, the Griffins were the number one donors to Republicans, giving $445,000 according to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

Ken gave $70,000 to Rod Blagojevich in 2002 and 2003.



A graph of Griffin's national committee donations

* cumulative totals for multiple years




3 years ago
Posted by albanypark

What is the point of this article? Some outrageously rich guy and all of his possessions.What did he ever do to make the world a better place?

3 years ago
Posted by b3890004

albanypark, What is the point of your existence? What did you ever do to make the world a better place?

3 years ago
Posted by JenHen

OK, Bitter in Albany Park. Did you happen to actually read the article and take note of the charitable contributions that this man and his wife have made? Maybe you should look before you leap.

3 years ago
Posted by Nikos

I used to work at cig several years back and even had lunch with Mr Griffin. Tough place. But I learned a lot and was paid fairly. Very beneficial for my career. I admire Mr Griffin. The US needs more of his type. Very intelligent and hard driving and focused man. He works hard and is motivated and surrounds himself with like mnded people.

2 years ago
Posted by hoacele

For what it's worth, I know for a fact he entertains young women around the Chicagoland area and fly's them out to Aspen as prostitutes,

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