Chicago Gangs and PACs

Here’s a take on campaign finance you don’t often see.

I was reading Evan Osnos’ new book, Wildland: The Making of America’s Fury, and came across this surprising story, as Osnos recounts it:

In the 1990s, the Gangster Disciples, with 30,000 members, was the dominant criminal gang in Chicago. Their leader, Larry Hoover, had been convicted of murder, and while in prison, he read Boss, Mike Royko’s classic portrait of Richard J. Daley. Daley had risen from Irish gangs on the South Side of Chicago. Inspired by the book, Hoover decided to get his gang into politics. So they created a PAC, called Growth and Development (a play on the GD’s initials), and started running candidates for local office.

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