Swamp Thang: Rahm Emanuel, Ex-Chicago Mayor, Is Going to Wall Street

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Written by Ann Brown
Rahm Emanuel
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks at the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is leaving politics and is jumping into the swamp. Emanuel, whose two terms as mayor of the Windy City was plagued with controversy, is taking a job with one of his campaign donors, a Wall Street firm.

Emanuel is joining Wall Street investment banking firm Centerview Partners LLC and opening a Chicago office as a senior counselor for the company.

“Emanuel has also picked up a contributing editor position at The Atlantic magazine since ending his mayoral term last month,” The Hill reported.

“Rahm’s leadership and vast experience providing strategic advice, coupled with a track record of successful planning and execution, will bring tremendous value to our firm and our clients,” Centerview co-founder Blair Effron, said in a statement. “Establishing a presence in Chicago is a logical next step for Centerview as we continue to grow, and it positions us to better serve existing and new clients throughout the Midwest.”

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According to the State Board of Elections records, Emanuel accepted $61,500 in campaign money from Effron in three separate contributions from 2010 to 2014.

For his part, Emanuel said in the statement: “I know the Centerview team well and look forward to working with an accomplished and respected group to provide clients in the Midwest, nationally and around the world with trusted, independent advice.”

New York-based Centerview, which was founded in 2006, has offices in London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Calif., and now Chicago. It has advised clients on nearly $3 trillion in transactions, according to the company, the Chicago Sun Times reported.

Emanuel, who also served as chief of staff to then-President Obama during his first term starting in 2009, left a complicated legacy. While some of his positions as mayor have been praised, overall his tenure as Chicago Mayor has been criticized, especially by a number of Black activists and political observers. The Nation said after Emanuel’s decision not to run for a third term: ” The outgoing mayor’s legacy will be defined by austerity, privatization, displacement, gun violence, and police brutality.”

And his latest decision to go Wall Street has not been met with praise. He has worked in Wall Street before as he spent two years at boutique bank Wasserstein Perella after exiting the White House as a senior adviser to then-President Clinton in 1998.

Not too many are impressed with Rahm’s decision to join Centerview. U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was among the critics of Emanuel’s latest gig tweeted, “not all Democrats are the same.”