Monday, October 29, 2012

Patrick Fitzgerald Joins Law Firm Of Obama's Former White House Counsel

It's business as usual in Chicago. After protecting President Barack Obama from criminal liability for his corrupt relationship with convicted political fixer Tony Rezko, former Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has been rewarded with a partnership in the Chicago office of New York-based law firm giant Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. The firm counts among its partners, Greg Craig, Obama's first White House Counsel, who had to help navigate Obama through Fitzgerald's investigation of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's attempt to sell Obama's Senate seat, from which he resigned shortly after being elected President but before he was sworn into office.

Interestingly, Skadden Arps represented The Tribune Company, the parent company of the Chicago Tribune, in a transaction that took the company private in 2007. Gov. Blagojevich was caught on wire-tapped phone conversations discussing an attempt to shake down The Tribune Company's CEO Sam Zell for campaign contributions in exchange for his help in providing public financing for Wrigley Field, to aid the company in the sale of the Chicago Cubs baseball franchise to the Ricketts family. Fitzgerald has recently come under criticism after two reporters for the Chicago Tribune, who broke the story about Fitzgerald's office wiretapping Blagojevich's phone conversations, revealed in a new book that Fitzgerald is the one who tipped off the Tribune's reporters of the wiretaps before Blagojevich could complete a deal on the sale of the Senate seat. Fitzgerald's office closely protected potentially damaging phone conversations Blagojevich had with Obama and Rahm Emanuel discussing Obama's replacement in the Senate.

Skadden Arps' Greg Craig was the Obama White House transition attorney who conducted the investigation of the Obama campaign's discussion of the Senate seat with Blagojevich and prepared a whitewashed report that cleared Obama, Emanual, Valerie Jarrett and others close to Obama. Fitzgerald's investigators dismissed Blagojevich's claim that Rezko had given at least $25,000 cash to Obama when he ran for the Senate just like it ignored Rezko's financial role in helping the Obama's purchase their southside mansion.

UPDATED: Illinois Pay To Play has learned that the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform is conducting a preliminary investigation of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago to determine if obstruction of justice may have occurred as a result of the office's leaks to the media of its ongoing investigation of Gov. Rod Blagojevich during the period of time that the former governor was attempting to sell Obama's Senate seat. The focus of the inquiry is based upon disclosures made by the two Chicago Tribune reporters in their new book about their exclusive accesss to government transcripts and wiretaps gathered by the U.S. Attorney's Office as part of its investigation of Blagojevich and others in Illinois state government during a highly sensitive period of the investigation.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing this out. Will be posting this to my blog and linking back to your article.

Scotty Starnes

Beldar said...

I'm a conservative law blogger, and I've been a partner in two BigLaw firms. The implication in this post that Greg Craig's connection to Barack Obama is the reason why a departing U.S. Attorney would want to join an international mega-firm like Skadden Arps is profoundly unpersuasive to me. Skadden Arps has hundreds of partners, among whom Greg Craig -- Obama connections or no -- is merely one. Its client list and reputation, the practice opportunities that firm offers, are vast and rich, and were before Greg Craig ever arrived there, and would continue to be the day after he left.

I know that Mr. Fitzgerald has been controversial. But this is silliness.

Unknown said...

Oh the webs that these politicians weave! Very interesting article and I hope in the end justice prevails and all the controversies come to the surface for all to see.
law firms for sale