The Burkle (Dis)Connection
Publication Date: January 2008
Publisher(s): National Institute on Money in State Politics (U.S.)
Author(s): Scott Jordan
Bill Clinton - potential first husband and former President - is working to sever financial ties with Yucaipa Cos. and its prolific Democratic fund-raiser, supermarket mogul and billionaire Ron Burkle. Burkle made his fortune turning around failing grocery chains, often with the help of his friendly relationships with politicians and unions. Burkle currently operates several private equity funds through his investment firm, Yucaipa Cos.
The former President is expected to receive a $20 million payout from Yucaipa Cos., which includes several domestic funds as well as the Yuciapia Global Fund. The fund, of which the former President is one of the three owners and a general partner, has ties to the ruler of Dubai. This situation may be of particular concern for the former president's wife U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton's bid for presidency. Senator Clinton has stated that foreign wealth funds cause concern because they are lacking in "transparency" and can be "instruments of foreign policy" for foreign governments.
Burkle has made significant contributions to state-level candidates, party committees and ballot measure committees, giving more than $500,000 since 1999.
Burkle also hosts up to 40 political fund-raisers a year at his Greenacres, Calif., mansion, where he has helped raise $50 million for the Democratic Party, more than $1 million for the presidential and senate campaigns of Hillary Clinton. He also hosted a fund-raiser for current New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer.