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Obama Revealed in Rezko Corruption Investigation

Obama_Rezko.jpgBumped and updated: Obama is trying to distance himself from Rezko by divesting himself (again) of tainted money.

Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama said Saturday that his campaign would give charities $40,350 in donations linked to his former friend and fundraiser Tony Rezko, a Chicago businessman who has pleaded not guilty to federal influence-peddling and bank fraud charges.

Obama already has divested more than $44,000 in Rezko-affiliated donations during the last year. But Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said the campaign made a comprehensive review of donations affiliated with Rezko and "found some we'd feel more comfortable not having."


---original post begins below---

Obama Revealed in Rezko Corruption Investigation
Originally published: Jan 19, 08 01:00 PM

The Chicago Sun-Times released a scathing article this morning titled "Obama surfaces in Rekzo's federal corruption case" which for the first time ties Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama into a federal corruption investigation of Obama's longtime supporter and fundraiser Tony Rezko.

The allegations against Rezko that involve Obama are contained in one paragraph of a 78-page document filed last month in which prosecutors outline their corruption and fraud case against Rezko, who was also a key money man for Gov. Blagojevich and other politicians.

Rezko is set to go to trial Feb. 25 [and has been rescheduled to start March 3]. The revelation that Obama's name could come up in court is a political headache he doesn't need as he heads into a round of primaries that are likely to determine his party's nomination for president.

Obama is not named in the Dec. 21 court document. But a source familiar with the case confirmed that Obama is the unnamed "political candidate" referred to in a section of the document that accuses Rezko of orchestrating a scheme in which a firm hired to handle state teacher pension investments first had to pay $250,000 in "sham" finder's fees. From that money, $10,000 was donated to Obama's successful run for the Senate in the name of a Rezko business associate, according to the court filing and the source.

Rezko, who was part of Obama's senatorial finance committee, also is accused of directing "at least one other individual" to donate money to Obama and then reimbursing that individual -- in possible violation of federal election law.

If you aren't familiar with Obama's other ties with Rezko not to worry, there's lots of information out there, including favors extended to Obama by Rezko surrounding the Obama purchase of Illinois real estate.

In June 2005, Obama and Rezko purchased adjoining parcels in Kenwood. The state's junior senator paid $1.65 million for a Georgian revival mansion, while Rezko paid $625,000 for the adjacent, undeveloped lot. Both closed on their properties on the same day.

Obama's dealings with Rezko buy a parcel of questions Sweet blog: '08 hopeful in Iowa again. State worker puts up home for Rezko bail Blagojevich: I don't recall Rezko list
Last January, aiming to increase the size of his sideyard, Obama paid Rezko $104,500 for a strip of his land.

The transaction occurred at a time when it was widely known Tony Rezko was under investigation by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and as other Illinois politicians befriended by Rezko distanced themselves from him.

In the Sun-Times interview, Obama acknowledged approaching Rezko about the two properties being up for sale and that Rezko developed an immediate interest. Obama did not explain why he reached out to Rezko given the developer's growing problems.

Last month, Rezko was indicted for his role in an alleged pay-to-play scheme designed to fatten Gov. Blagojevich's political fund. Rezko also was accused of bilking a creditor.

But there's more. Here's another skeleton in the Obama closet, this from December, 2006:

In addition to a land deal, Sen. Barack Obama's ties to indicted dealmaker Antoin "Tony" Rezko include an internship the senator provided the son of a contributor at the request of Rezko, an Obama spokesman confirmed today.

John Aramanda served as an intern for Obama for about a month in 2005, said Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs. His father is Joseph Aramanda, a Rezko business associate who was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal corruption case against Rezko. Aramanda has contributed $11,500 to Obama since 2000, Gibbs said.

"Mr. Rezko did provide a recommendation for John Aramanda," Gibbs said. "I think that it's fairly obvious that a few-week internship is not of anything of benefit to Mr. Rezko or any of his businesses."

The revelation of the internship comes after Obama acknowledged a mistake in buying property from Rezko in January 2006 -- a deal that enlarged the senator's yard in the Kenwood neighborhood on the South Side. The transaction occurred at a time when it was widely known Rezko was under investigation by the U.S. attorney's office.

"It was a mistake to have been engaged with him at all in this or any other personal business dealing that would allow him, or anyone else, to believe that he had done me a favor," Obama -- a likely presidential candidate -- told the Sun-Times in November.

Money... politics... and favors. Some things never change.

Related: "Obama Supporters Spin Harder as Nevada Caucus Begins" - link.


Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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Comments (9)

Steve Crickmore:

Lee, I agree Obama shoud be 'vetted' in what he admits was a 'bone-headed mistake', and he should have seen the red flags- one strike against him, but I think he has learned his lesson, and he seems contrite about having sought Rezko's help to buy compulsory adjacent lot "when it was already a stretch to buy the house."

I assume you are comparing this to the Clintons' record. But have the Clintons ever learned about doing business with unsavoury characters from their much larger Rezko real estate affair - Whitewater of which quite a number of officials and associates went to jail or were indicted (14?), though not all of them were offences directly related to Whitewater.

And then there Peter Paul in their farewell Hoolywood gala to the presidency in 2000
Paul "had (years earlier) pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to distribute. He was sentenced to eight years in prison for the cocaine charge, and a concurrent three years for fraud; he was paroled after three years" from wikipedia, but the Clintons unknowingly or unknowly used him as their major fund raiser and continued to try to receive Paul's funds, laundered into stock, even after the gig was up.

This is the big difference. Obama seems genuinely shamed. The Clintons give the impression that they don't think they are doing anything wrong or don't care; they just got caught. It's just politics and money to them. (the pardons)

In 'addition' now, Bill has raised over 500 milion dollars for his foundation in the last 7 years, In Charity and Politics, Clinton Donors Overlap

Evidently the donations have risen sharply since Hillary's drive to retake the White House... Bill says that if Hillary becomes president he will release names of future donors, though he is not legally entitled to do so even so, past donors should remain private, he insisted, "unless there is some conflict of which I am aware, and there is not."..So that's okay we have Clinton's word on that.

Lee Ward:

Oh, I'm sure Obama is saying he realizes his mistake and he's learned his lesson -- and I'm sure Clinton would say the same thing if asked...

Clinton isn't claiming to be the "hope" and "change" candidate, Obama is -- and Obama isn't any different from the rest of them.

For me the biggest news to date is not the Rezko scandal - although the Feb 25 trial may reveal even more about Sen. Obama's "mistakes"...

No, I'm really disappointed that Obama has sold his soul to the Wall Street banks, and is apparently willing to stand by and let Americans lose their homes in order to protect the interests of America's biggest banks.

And let's not even talk about the Obama's homage to his pals in the nuclear industry.

Obama got far on his campaign of telling Americans he's different and is the agent of change -- it looks to me like he's no different - just less experienced.

Steve Crickmore[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Lee, I'm not as familiar with all the particulars of American sub-prime mortgage crisis. It is not really their home until they pay for it, or have sufficient equity in it. How is their argument different from someone who is a tenant and rents their house because they don't think they may be able to afford the payments and risk of a high renewable mortgage rate. Doesn't having a sub-prime mortgage rate tell you implicitly that this could go bottom-up. But naturally, their should be some redress available. I don't know what it should be?

And, back to your main post, I guess what we are really talking about is Obama different enough to matter. If the Clintons, it seems both just placed a little more emphasis on being transparent, or more ethical, I might concede much of your good line..he look's to be no different, just less experienced.

In a way, I'm starting to concede that Obama may have to show that he is really different, but that will probably take another 4 or 8 years for him to do it. Perhaps he would be a better candidate then too.

He might give us some of his judgements, unlike Bill Clinton who was noticably quiet about the Iraq war for the first 3 years that was so much against and he seems to be holding all his fire for Obama. I don't recall him criticizing Bush Senior or Junior as harshly as he has Obama.

If the Clintons would say they have changed, kind of like Gore reinvented himself, I might be prepared to accept them in the meantime... But on the contrary, they seem exactly like they were, only more so. Bill is even getting shrill, but this time its going to be Hillary as the public White House persona, from day one.. as she never tires to remind everyone (I wish she would drop that line) and that doesn't reassure me.

Steve Crickmore:

While we are at..How about the Clintons'(or do you think they are impartial) homage to their pals in the nuclear energy.. Obama's is receiving a pittance in terms of dollars compared to what is being yielded by Clintons' ties with NRG Energy/nuclear power plants.., and their donations of 175 million to Bill's 'Global Initative' funds as part of a 6 year project ...And while Obama was making his position clear for the last two years against the Yucca Mt.(Nevada) waste disposal..Hillary typically with her trademark arrogance, "Justified Previous Inaction On Yucca Mt. Issue, Saying It Was " A Waste Of Time ( for her) To Ask Questions".

Hillary Clinton recently called for congressional hearings on the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. This move sparked criticism due to her failure to attend 2 previous hearings on the issue. Clinton said it would have been "a waste of time to ask questions" in the Republican-controlled Congress and that" no matter what questions were raised, there was a very strong momentum that the administration and their Republican allies in Congress... to move forward on Yucca." [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 7/30/07]

158 Exelon Illinois employees dip into their own pockets to contribute a 150 hundred thousand to Obama's campaign while David Crane CEO and President of NRG Energy and a Hillary bundler writes Hillary's husband some nice round checks which will total over a thousand times that - 175 million. (it's all legal of course) .mnnn...with no conflict of interest and who receives the broadsides ...yes, I forget the Clintons are very experienced.. but at what.. deflecting criticism onto others.

civil behavior:

Why would anyone vote for Hillary?

She has never taken responsibility for her fools error of Iraq and if she is really that experienced she would have known the reasons were bogus.

She hasn't said word one of cutting the insurance industry out of the health care equation. Everyone who reads knows that's where the money is going.

I've been through enough other national movements for change i.e Nam war, civil rights, womens lib to know when I see establishment candidate. Hillary is a good old boy in a power pantsuit.

The discussion becomes once again who is "less tainted". Why are we even bothering anymore?

For the first time in my life I refuse to vote for the preselected candidates. Not in the primary or the general. I will vote my heart and vote Kucinich. I will write his name over all others if I have to. If that means that a republican gets elected so be it. The populace should have been in the streets long before this to make the changes they claim they wanted.

obamaDirty:

====> http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-3695966.html


http://www.ontheleft.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=8513


Obama supporters, ask yourself these questions regarding Senator Obama:

Why did he get a cheaper price on his house? (While Rezko's wife paid the full asking price for the land, Obama paid $300,000 under the asking price for the house. The house sold for $1,650,000 and the price Rezko's wife paid for the land was $625,000.)

Why did he do business with a man he knew was under investigation by the FBI? (Rezko had been widely reported to be under investigation by the U.S. attorney and the FBI at the time Obama contacted him and has since been indicted on corruption charges by a federal grand jury in a case that prosecutors say involves bribes, kickbacks and "efforts to illegally obtain millions of dollars." )

Why did he write letters for this same man to get government contracts?
"For more than five weeks during the brutal winter of 1997, tenants shivered without heat in a government-subsidized apartment building on Chicago's South Side. It was just four years after the landlords -- Antoin "Tony'' Rezko and his partner Daniel Mahru -- had rehabbed the 31-unit building in Englewood with a loan from Chicago taxpayers."
"But Obama's ties with Rezko go beyond those two real estate sales and the political support, the Sun-Times found. Obama was an attorney with a small Chicago law firm -- Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland -- that helped Rezmar get more than $43 million in government funding to rehab 15 of their 30 apartment buildings for the poor."

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/35382 9,CST-NWS-rez23.article

I do understand wanting to defend your candidate but this is reality and we can't afford to loss this election, and, my god, the country certainly can't afford it. There are two other democratic candidates in this race who have a much greater chance of defeating the Republican nominee in the fall. Here's another question you should ask yourself, what do you think the Republicans will do with this information pertaining to Senator Obama's record?

Adam:

Um.

Rezko contributed to the CLINTON CAMPAIGN, as well:

http://drudgereport.com/flash1.htm

Lee Ward:

I imagine a prominent Chicago Democrat like Rezko had his picture taken with a lot of Democratic politicians.

I also wouldn't be surprised if he donated to a Clinton campaign at some point, but there's nothing in the link you provided which supports your claim, at this time anyway. The Drudge flash mentions nothing about a donation.

If anyone turns up a connection between Rezko and Clinton that comes anywhere close to the sleazy dealings Obama had with this guy I would be very, very surprised. Rezko was a Chicago big-shot, which no doubt got him into that picture, but his relationship with Obama is just plain dirty.

Ginger:

Did you miss the part where Rezmar now has a deal to build a nuclear power plant in Iraq....payback for Obama helping with that little Energy Bill thing?


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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