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Protesters Shut Down Morningstar Lobby, Blame State Budget Cuts On Billionaires

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Police forced six protesters to leave the lobby of Morningstar in downtown Chicago on Monday morning, after they picketed inside to protest state budget cuts they claim are being forced by big corporations opposed to tax hikes.

It was the fifth "Moral Monday" protest by activists who claim billionaires are bullying lawmakers into supporting budget cuts to protect tax loopholes for the wealthy.

Dozens of protesters rallied outside the Thompson Center, and marched to Morningstar headquarters at 22 W. Washington St., where they focused their anger on CEO Joseph Mansueto.

Toby Chow, vicar at First Lutheran Church of the Trinity in Bridgeport, said Mansueto has been trying to buy off politicians to avoid paying his fair share of taxes.

"He's given half a million dollars to a political action committee called IllinoisGo, and the only purpose of these kinds of groups is to buy politicians and force our elected officials into protecting the corporate tax loopholes that only protect the very rich," he said.

IllinoisGo (Illinoisans for Growth and Opportunity) is a political action committee formed by a group of self-described "center-left" Democrats, who have raised millions of dollars to spend on state legislative races, though many Springfield insiders believe it is a front organization for Gov. Bruce Rauner.


Rev. Victor Corriano Gomez said Rauner's proposed cuts to social service programs are immoral, because they affect the needy and elderly.

"These seniors that have no family are going to be by themselves. Somebody's going to one day knock on their door, and go in, and that person will be laying on the ground, dead," he said.

Gomez was one of six protesters detained after refusing to leave the Monringstar lobby, and temporarily shutting down the entrances to Morningstar, and CBS 2, which is directly next door. The six demonstrators who were detained were issued citations for trespassing. Police dispersed the rest of the crowd, and lobby entrances were reopened in short order.

Previous Moral Monday protests targeted billionaires Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of global investment firm Citadel, and business magnate Sam Zell.


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