Friday, October 03, 2008
Feds Looking At Another Obama Pal
The Chicago FBI office paid a visit to the office of Will County's executive Larry Walsh this week to question him about a contract that paid a lobbying firm $10,000 a month fee to lobby
Congress for grant money. Walsh is an early supporter of Obama's and an old poker buddy from his days in the Illinois Senate. Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's office may be making progress in its ongoing investigation of corruption in Illinois state government with the assistance of another Obama pal, Tony Rezko. A federal judge this week froze $105,000 belonging to Rezko in anticipation of a likely forfeiture order pertaining to the assets he owns. Rezko's cooperation could allow the U.S. Attorney to obtain indictments against both Gov. Rod Blagoyevich and Sen. Barack Obama. Rezko's ties to Blagoyevich relate to a $7 million kickback scheme to sell business opportunities with the State of Illinois. Obama's ties are much more personal. Rezko aided Obama in the purchase of his million-dollar South Side mansion. That assistance may have saved Obama at least $300,000 on the purchase of the home and additional savings from a discounted jumbo mortgage Obama obtained from a bank with close ties to Rezko.
It is truly unfortunate that the news media has shielded Obama from any public scrutiny concerning his corrupt dealings with Rezko and other political cronies in the past. Obama helped steer tens of millions in state housing grants and loans to Rezmar, a company owned by Rezko. Obama also earned a questionable sum of $120,000 for legal work he supposedly performed for another private business. Obama, in turn, successfully lobbied the state of Illinois as a state senator to award hundreds of thousands of dollars in state grants to the business. Obama never disclosed his financial ties to the company on his financial disclosure statement. Based upon Patrick Fitzgerald's past handling of these types of matters, there is every reason to believe that he plans to target Obama for political corruption as part of his ongoing effort to clean up the pervasive corruption in Illinois politics. An Obama vulnerability often overlooked is the fact that Rezko used his wife to purchase the adjoining lot next to Obama's house, a portion of which was later improved and sold to Obama, to aid Obama in the purchase of his house. If anything illegal transpired, it could mean jail time for Rezko's wife. It is highly unlikely that Rezko would allow that to happen. Rezko knows he's going to have to spend some time in jail, but he would likely cut a deal with the feds before allowing his wife to spend a day in jail.