Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Obama Contributor Pleads Guilty To Purchasing State Job From Illinois Governor

A man who contributed $5,000 to Sen. Barack Obama's senate campaign a few years ago has pleaded guilty to buying a powerful state job directly from Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for $50,000 in contributions to his campaign. According to court documents filed by the U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago, Obama's close political friend Tony Rezko facilitated the purchase of the state job for Ata. “It had better be a job where [Ata] could make some money,” Blagojevich is quoted as telling Ata at a fundraiser about the job Rezko was going to line up for him. Ata eventually landed a $127,000 a year job as executive director of the Illinois Finance Authority. The Sun-Times reports on Ata's plea agreement:

A former top official in Gov. Blagojevich’s administration pleaded guilty to federal charges this afternoon and leveled some of the most significant accusations yet against the governor.

Ali Ata said in his plea deal that the governor offered him a top administrative position in state government in exchange for Ata’s tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.

According to Ata, he handed the governor a $25,000 check for a campaign contribution at a 2002 meeting with Blagojevich and longtime Blagojevich campaign fund-raiser Tony Rezko in Rezko’s Chicago office.

Blagojevich “expressed his pleasure and acknowledged that the defendant had been a good supporter and good friend,” the plea agreement says. The governor, “in the defendant’s presence, asked Rezko if he [Rezko] had talked to the defendant about positions in the administration, and Rezko responded that he had.”

Ata said that, after the meeting, he filled out an application for a state appointment. He previously had given Rezko a list of three agencies to which he would like to be appointed. Later, at a July 2003 fund-raiser for the governor at Navy Pier, Ata — who had contributed another $25,000 — said Blagojevich spoke of him joining the administration and said, “It had better be a job where [Ata] could make some money.”

Ata subsequently was appointed executive director of the Illinois Finance Authority, a $127,000-a-year state job. The authority, which Blagojevich created in 2004, has provided $11 billion in funding for 780 projects . . .

Ata, 56, of Lemont, was a codefendant in a business-fraud case against Rezko — involving Rezko’s fast-food franchises — that has yet to go to trial.

Rezko is now on trial on unrelated corruption charges that accuse him of using his influence in the Blagojevich administration to orchestrate a kickback scheme involving state business deals.

Ata admitted to making false statements to a federal law enforcement officer and a tax-related count. He has agreed to give federal authorities unspecified future cooperation, according to his lawyer, Thomas McQueen.

Bear in mind that Obama's close pal Tony Rezko is at the center of a variety of corruption investigations of Illinois state government being undertaken by federal prosecutors. Obama has admitted that Rezko helped him raise at least $250,000 for his past political campaigns. Rezko also aided Obama in the purchase of his South Side mansion. At one point in their relationship, Rezko and Obama met or spoke to each other on almost a daily basis. Obama's whole campaign is centered around him being an agent of change who doesn't accept any money from lobbyists or special interest groups. If I were the Democrats, I would be getting a little bit anxious about where all these corruption investigations are headed in Illinois and the possible fallout for Obama's presidential ambitions. Several top aides to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley were just ordered to jail and Gov. Blagojevich is almost certain to face indictment as well. You can bet Republicans will use Obama's ties to the corruption in Illinois politics to tarnish his reputation if he's the Democratic nominee.


M Theory said...

Perhaps this is the explanation I was looking for as to why Obama endorsed Andre. The answer is that Obama is a hypocrite and doesn't act in accordance with his rhetoric. I never thought I'd say this, but I'm pleased Hillary took PA. --Melyssa

artfuggins said...

Melyssa, we dont want to open the can of worms of all of the people surrounding the Clintons who have been convicted of various crimes.

jabberdoodle said...

I'm afraid that any Democrat in office will always be under investigation - no matter how flimsy. Yet, Republicans get a free ride.

It's either time for the dogs to be put back in their pens by the Republicans or time for the Democrats to attack things like: Halliburton’s no-bid contracts and relationship to Chaney’s wealth -- Bush pulling us into war with trumped up reasons -- Chaney's role in outing Plame -- Bush letting the Saudi's fly on 9-11 when all others were grounded, especially given their relations with bin Laden -- Bush's profiteering on oil prices -- on and on and on.

How well do you think McCain would fare if he were painted with the same brush as some of his supporters? Remember the Keating Five mess??? McCain took $112,000 in illegal campaign contributions, for starters, back then. How about a fresh look at that scandal? As I recall, Bush handed McCain his walking papers by Swiftboating him, just like he did Kerry. No ethics, no remorse, no conscience, no prisoners.

Unfortunately for our nation, this scurrilous behavior is now the norm from some quarter of the Republican Party apparatus when a Democrat is in office. So, as a Democrat I’m not particularly worried that anything will change on the part of the Republican attack machine and it is totally irrelevant who the Democratic President is.

Crossed said...

Why not include the Karl Rove allegation from this case as well? According to today's Chicago Tribune: "In a bombshell disclosure before testimony began this morning in the Antoin "Tony" Rezko trial, a federal prosecutor said a former Rezko confidant was prepared to say that another friend of Rezko was attempting to pull strings with White House political director Karl Rove to fire U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald and kill his investigation into Rezko."

Gary R. Welsh said...

The key point there, Crossed, was that Bob Kjellander, the national GOP committeeman for Illinois was not successful in that endeavor. There is a movement afoot in Illinois GOP circles to force Kjellander out. If he had any decency, he would simply resign his party position. It is quite apparent he sold out his own party to line his own pockets. Rezko has raised a lot of money for Rs in the past as well, including former Gov. George Ryan, who is now in charge of gardening at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute while he serves his time. It says something about the Ds, though, that they would be so quick to jump into bed with such an opportunist. Obama seemed to have no concern for Rezko's past ties raising money for Rs, as long as he was now raising money for him by whatever means.

MissouriDemocrat said...

jabberdoole surely you jest or are dreaming that those Jesus loving Republicans that want camera's in everyone's bedrooms would manufacture a war, take profit under the table for it and in any other way possible lie? I am appalled that you'd even dream that as fiction.

indyernie said...

Jezz Gary, are you getting all of the nut jobs from TDW now that Jen is gone?

I've never met a democrat who I thought had a clear view of what is happening in America or across the world and some of the d's posting here are reinforcing my beliefs.
Blame the republicans for everything wrong in the world, Bla Bla guys need to see a Doctor and get your ears and eyes checked. Hilbillery and Obma-ma are lost in the woods, and so are
those who are following them.

elme said...

Hey North Carolina - Wanna buy a nuclear power plant?

This Presidential election is not about black/white, male/female, Liberal/conservative, Republican/Democrat.

Its about MONEY - Cheney's NEXT Big Monopoly POWER Energy RIPOFF on behalf of his Corporate Elitist masters.

Austan Goolsbee, Obama's Economics advisor is, in my Grandpa's terminology - an educated idiot.

Goolsbee, who must have several degress in economics, says we must be careful to identify the cause of - the rich getting richer and everybody else getting poorer.

Goolsbee says the cause is: dramatically increased returns to skill i.e. college degrees are paying off better and better all the time.

Uh, huh, yeah but that does nothing to explain the rise of the super rich, nor the increasing poverty of everyone else.

The cause is simple: Reagan cut the top tax rate down from the 70%'s to the low 30%'s AND Corporations all over America trotted out the "Two-Tier Wage Structure" - - right after Reagan was elected. i.e. pay everybody at the top a whole lot MORE, pay everybody else a whole lot LESS.

The rich are getting richer, and have been doing so at a faster & faster rate for the past 30 years -because of RADICALLY INCREASED RETURNS to CAPITAL.

Everybody else has been getting poorer and poorer over that same time span because its been CORPORATE POLICY to pay everybody else a whole lot less; (not to mention the fact that - everybody else has been Paying a Lot More Taxes - to make up that portion of the Federal Budget no longer being paid by the wealthy - or not currently being "borrowed" from our children and grandchildren.)

My grandpa was a farmer, son of a share cropper. In his later years he worked for an experimental farm operated by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. The people who ran the farm had degrees in agriculture. My grandpa had a LIFETIME of EXPERIENCE.

When the ...educated idiots... wanted to get some plants to actually GROW & prosper IN THE REAL WORLD they had to have my Grandpa SHOW THEM and TELL THEM
HOW to do it.

Condoleeza Rice & the whole gang of "Vulcans"/ ...neocons... are educated idiots, along with Zbigniew Berzinski, one of Obama's "foreign policy" advisors.

All they've ever DONE is ... write, postulate & publish their latest hare-brained DRIVEL & ...Wait ... for applause and compliments from the same "'highly specialized literary" ilk as themselves.

Paying those at the top a Whole LOT MORE has paid off handsomely for the corporations and politicians...because... those at the top - responsible for things like morals, ethics, obeying the law, are ALREADY Paid off to ... look the other way ... incentivized ... to sell their fellow citizens down the river.

Case in point: Howard Fineman of Time magazine, and an MSNBC "News Analyst" ... plaintively whining to Chris Matthews on Hardball last week: They shouldn't be complaining about US - they shouldn't be blaming US for our coverage ... We're JOURNALISTS --- reporters --- we just report the facts.

NO. They are highly paid Propaganda Operatives who would make Goebbels (Hitler's Propaganda Minister) PROUD.

GE, 2nd largest corporation on the planet, Westinghouse, Excelon Corp of Illinois, Entergy w/utilities in the Southern States have been planning since 2005 - When the Cheney Energy Bill was passed - to build 29 new nuclear power plants. (licensing hearing for the first few have already been scheduled).

GE owns MSNBC & NBC. Westinghouse owns CBS. AND they have Billions of Advertising $$$$ to spread around in all other forms of media. Obama & McCain are PRO-Nuclear. Clinton says nuclear can be considered in the future IF they make it CHEAPER and find a way to SAFELY and PERMANENTLY dispose of the nuke waste.

The Mainstream Media (the most blatant offenders being MSNBC & NBC) are busy selling We the People and Democracy in America ... down the river.

The media is holding a lid on all the bad news about Obama ... until AFTER he gets the nomination. Then, the full force of their Propaganda BARRAGE will be directed AGAINST him, instead of FOR him.

Thereby, leaving nobody but McCain ACTUALLY running for President.

Starting out the campaign season with the consensus of opinion being that a large majority of voters were all in favor of electing Hillary Clinton President w/Any Republican nominees chances of being elected standing at virtually NIL ... what was the nasty party of the rich & super rich TO DO?

Same thing they Always do Pinky ... Divide & Conquer! (HOW ELSE can a very small minority CONTROL a much larger majority?)

Can YOU think of anything better to DIVIDE the Democratic Party than ... to run a black man Against THAT WOMAN?

Contrary to the Media's BIG LIES:

Obama started the negative campaigning several months ago during the first Philadelphis debate. He began with NAME-CALLING with him & his wife endlessly repeating ... disingenuous...Hillary's disingenuous ... while his campaign staff and surrogates went on TV yelling ... She's a Liar, a Liar, a liar.

Next, the Obama campaign pushed those ...totally absurd... accusations of "racism" to the press because they were LOSING the South Carolina primary.

The LYING and Propaganda have continued to this day ... Obama's the negative dirty campaigner; the Media turns it around exactly backwards & Blames Hillary.

Neither one can gain enough delegates to get the nomination ON THE BASIS OF DELEGATES, but DELEGATE COUNT, having FAILED to get the job done ... the Media Proclaims that it should be the ONLY criteria to get the job done.

First the Obama camp INSISTS on Playing by the RULES:(FL & MI delegates DON"T COUNT); but, NOT Playing by the RULES: SuperDelegates are ENTITLED to and CHARGED to: SELECT the BEST, most Electable candidate - that's the RULES - But NO, don't do THAT!

Obama claims he has special "talents" for working across the aisles, bringing people together to get good new progressive legislation passed - CHANGE -We can Believe In; as EXEMPLIFIED by 26 wonderful Bills he got passed WHILE in the ILLINOIS legislature.

But ... according to a hometown Chicago reporter - all 26 Bills were passed in ONE Year because the Democratic legislative leader .... gave Obama .... all the good legislation OTHER Senators had been WRITING, CRAFTING, and WORKING to get passed .... during the DECADES when the Republicans had majority control. One year to get 26 bills passed would leave...suspiciously little TIME for... working across the aisles, bringing people together, & given a Democratic Majority .... how much NEED to "work across the aisles to get the bills passed actually existed? Obama's claim appears to be FALSE.

He has little to NO experience or accomplishments that would in any way qualify him to be President of anything -or- give him much more than a CLUE about crafting and passing legislation in the U.S. Congress ... absent ... a party leader willing to Falsely give him credit for other people's work.

Things that DON'T ADD UP: The Obama campaign has been bragging to the compliant media parrots since January that he has raised 2X, 3X, and now 5X as much money as the Clinton campaign .... from .... we the little people, but if that's the case then why hasn't he been getting 2X, 3X, 5X MORE VOTES in the primaries from all those little people who support him to the extent of giving him money?

If, as Obama keeps repeating - Clinton is the "establishment candidate", the candidate of corporate controlled America, the candidate financed by Washington Lobbyists Then, WHY is Clinton's campaign chronically running out of money ... WHILE .... the Obama Campaign has been wallowing in Big Piles of CASH since January?

Why is it the Clinton campaign that has been financed the past several months by .... WE the People? How come the Corporate Elites aren't giving her the cash?

The MSM says her wealthy donors are 'tapped out';have already reached the legal limit & so, can't give her any more CASH.

The FACT is tho, the ruling elite corporate power structure, Lobbyists, and Bundlers, have a practically unlimited capactiy to collect myriads of small donations for campaigns - So, IF the corporate elite "establishment" power structure was behind Clinton, rest assured SHE would be Rolling in the CASH.

WHY does the media keep on allowing Obama to tell the BIG LIE that he does not accept money from LOBBYISTS?

He says - I don't take money from REGISTERED FEDERAL Lobbyists. True. But, he does take money from STATE Lobbyists and the husbands, wives, law partners, aunts, uncles and cousins of REGISTERED FEDERAL LOBBYISTS.

I found that information, including plenty of details, with very little searching on the internet, so you would think the media could, and would, find it too would think that... only IF you had not been watching the media very much this campaign season.

For those millions of us who HAVE been watching - the Outright Propaganda and brainwashing put out all day everyday by the MSM -- quickly becomes repetitive, boring, DRIVEL. We stopped watching it and went searching the internet for REAL Information.

The MSM sold you Reagan, Bush 1, and Bush 2-TWICE. The MSM sold you the Iraq War. Are you going to just sit there and let them Sell you Obama/McCain/ 29 nuclear power plants? i.e. the NEXT Big Cheney Energy MONOPOLY RIPOFF just waiting in the wings?

Going to let The Media Sell You, Your Children and Grandchildren Down the River? Democracy down the tubes --- again?.

Or, are YOU going to get the WORD Out Write ...copy paste... & email to everyone on you email list... write & paste into blogs on the internet, newspapers, magazines, radio & TV stations...nationally and locally.

WE the People are in the same situation as the Russians during the days of Samidzat ... when they made Xerox copies & passed them around as the only means available to GET THE WORD OUT about their govt & its govt controlled media ---- but, we've got a LOT BETTER TECHNOLOGY than they had.

In case you don't know what's wrong with building more nuclear power plants - GOOGLE Hanford WA nuclear waste dump, Rocky Flats CO, Barnwell South Carolina nuke waste dump & FIND OUT why I would not accept an all expenses paid vacation at the best hotel in Denver; would go around the entire state of Colorado rather than drive thru any part of it; why I would advise everyone to Completely AVOID an entire county in the state of Washington.

artfuggins said...

Geez, Elme ...are you practicing for your doctoral thesis....I quit reading about 1/3 of the way because your comments are way too long for a posting....