Saturday, March 15, 2008

Obama's Ties To Rezko Much Closer Than Earlier Thought

Sen. Barack Obama's ties to indicted Chicago political fixer Tony Rezko turns out to be much closer than he acknowledged in earlier interviews. A Chicago Sun-Times interview with Obama paints the two as very close friends. Explaining that Rezko was more than just a fundraiser for Obama, the Sun-Times writes:

Rezko helped bankroll Obama in five election runs — for the state Senate, U.S. House and U.S. Senate. The savvy businessman with the North Shore mansion could bring in as much as $70,000 from political donors in one night. In the heat of a campaign, Obama said he sometimes talked strategy with Rezko daily.

Then, during political down-times, Rezko was his lunch or breakfast companion, more concerned about Obama, his wife and daughters than with posing for snapshots with the senator as he rose from political obscurity to Democratic presidential hopeful. On one occasion, Obama recalled, they wiled away time with their wives at Rezko’s Lake Geneva estate.

This portrait of Rezko emerged during an 80-minute interview Friday with the Chicago Sun-Times that marked the first time the senator has spoken in-depth about his relationship with the indicted businessman, who’s on trial on corruption charges involving allegations he orchestrated political kickback schemes in the Blagojevich administration.

The interview followed months in which Obama had avoided questions about Rezko and tried to downplay their relationship. With the Pennsylvania primary looming in five weeks, Obama said he hoped to clear the air about his ties to Rezko.

During the interview, Obama acknowledged Rezko had raised at least $250,000 for him before he was indicted in October, 2006. That's much more than Obama had earlier acknowledged. "Obama acknowledged that Rezko had raised $250,000 for him — about $100,000 more than had previously been disclosed and about five times more than Obama conveyed during a November 2006 question-and-answer exchange with the Sun-Times," the Sun-Times reports.

Earlier, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) was accused of taking a cheap shot at Obama when she suggested Obama was busy doing legal work for his sleazy slumlord friend in reference to Rezko when she was working on higher endeavors. Clinton said, "I was fighting against those ideas when you were practicing law and representing your contributor, Rezko, in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago." To wit, Obama responded: "Here's what happened: I was an associate at a law firm that represented a church group that had partnered with this individual to do a project and I did about five hours worth of work on this joint project. That's what she's referring to." The Sun-Times now reports this:

Obama also defended signing a 1998 letter urging the state to fund a low-income housing project developed by Rezko and Obama’s former boss, Allison Davis — both of whom were clients of Obama’s law firm as well as campaign contributors. Obama said he didn’t remember writing the “form letter” until the Sun-Times asked about it last June. This was not one of the Rezko developments that fell into disrepair . . .

Obama picked Rezko for the campaign finance committee for his 2004 U.S. Senate run. Around that same time, Rezko had begun walking away from affordable-housing projects he was building with government funds, leaving some in squalor — including some buildings in Obama’s own Illinois Senate district. Obama said he knew nothing of those problems.

Had Obama known, he said he would have talked to Rezko about the problems. “I think it is deeply troubling he did not keep these properties up, and I am very disappointed in that,” Obama said.

So we have Obama writing letters to the State of Illinois urging it to fund Rezko's low-income housing projects, some of which are in Obama's state senate district. Rezko later walks away and leaves the projects in Indy's Phoenix-like conditions but Obama doesn't know anything about it. He then asks Rezko to help purchase a lot next to a mansion he is purchasing on Chicago's south side, Rezko tours the home with him and Obama later purchases part of the adjoining lot from Rezko. Between his good buddy Rezko and his minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, I'm having a lot of trouble with the company Obama keeps.


Doug said...

Between Rezko and Keating, you're going to have to sit home in November.

Anonymous said...

What did John McCain have to do with Keating?

As I recall from the report, he had little to nothing to do with it.


Doug said...

Money from Keating. At least the appearance of impropriety. At least as much as the Rezko/Obama connection.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Doug, It's become all too clear how Rezko conducted business in Illinois poliitics. If you were a friend of his, you were probably on the take.

Anonymous said...

First of all, Obamas's house is NOT a mansion. It's a tricked out American Four Square style house in a decent neighborhood on Chicago's southside. In parts of Chicago, $1.4 mil doesn't buy a lot of house. In Indy yes, Chicago no.
Secondly, Rezko's actions are no different than many involved with both the Republican and Democrat candidates in Indiana. Remember the $1 million raised in a few hours for Mitch at the REAL mansion of Mr.Voice Mail?
Look at the money bankrolled by SerVaas into the national GOP coffers that kept him from being indicted for dealing with Saddam Hussein's brass works making shell casings. Or Servaas's business interests in South Africa when the US had a trade embargo.
Rezko may very well be guilty but Obama has done nothing wrong other than accept contributions from a man that at the time, was never accused of any wrongdoing.
It's OK for Lugar to write letters endorsing suspect ethanol plants for his contributors and Obama can't do the same?
This Obama-Rezko thing, in the end, has no legs Gary other than some lame atttempt to smear Obama.
It is obvious that you, a straight ticket Republican, would much rather have Hillary Clinton on the Dem ticket that Obama. Hillary would be certain to insure GOP victories in Indiana, particularly Mitch's but Obama? Well, with Obama at the top of the ticket means it could be a worse year for Republicans than it's already going to be.
To 99% of the average voters this Rezko conspiracy is a tiny blip unworthy of even discussing for lack of any wrongdoing on Obama's part. If Obabam's indicted then you can write all you want about it. That's not going to happen.

Chris Worden said...

Attacking those who know those who we REALLY want to attack is great fun, and it makes for interesting political theater, but I'm wondering how often it's fair. For example, can we assume Elliott Spitzer's main donors knew he was going to a prositute? I would say, probably not, or they wouldn't have given to him. Did Mark Foley's donors (or even his family) know he was a pedophile? What about Senator Craig? Did his donors (or even his Wife) know? What about Governor McGreevey's family? If the main donors for these people don't know the hidden secrets when they're all under the press scrutiny, how many candidates are going to know the dirt on all their main donors? My point is this. Obama denounced this guy, though maybe not as strongly as some wish. But I also remember a President who had NO denunciation for a guy named Scooter Libby, who is an ACTUAL CONVICTED FELON. If somebody wants to investigate Obama for corruption, they should do it, so they can find nothing, and then go about shutting up.

Gary R. Welsh said...

anon 7:21, we'll see what Patrick Fitzgerald turns up in his continued investigation of corrupt Illinois pols. It's hitting pretty close to home for Obama already.

Anonymous said...

Fitzgerald had more than a sufficient amount of evidence to take down the President in the Plame affair and decided to allow Libby to fall on the sword.
Then of course was the Walsh Commission on Iran-Contra when both a President and a Vice President walked when both were guilty of impeachable offenses.
Then there was the millions of dollars spent on Kenneth Starr to find something, anything, on Clinton and in the end all the GOP ended up with was blowjob.
I'm sorry, but this blog is starting to read like a script from the Fox News Network.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote:
"...on Clinton and in the end all the GOP ended up with was blowjob."

That's not entirely true. Apparently, the charge that he committed perjury was substantive and substantial enough that he either surrendered his law license or was disbarred.

Perjury is serious. It's even worse for an attorney.


Anonymous said... This is the place to learn all about Obama. Blog goes back a few years and so is not corrupted by present day views.

Anonymous said...

11:58, The man lied about a damn blowjob for cryin' out loud!
It wasn't like he outed a CIA agent and threatened national security.
The whole impeachement was nothing more than a Republican gig.
He lied about a blowjob, who the hell cares????????
Weinberger and Powell lied for Reagan during Iran-Contra and that was OK?
Guns and drugs OK but lie about a blowjob and you get impeached.