June 18, 2007

More Rezko Woes For Obama

Barack Obama has worked mightily to distance himself from former fundraiser Tony Rezko, but the Chicago Sun-Times keeps finding more bread crumbs between the two. According to their sources, the indicted businessman contributed three times as much money to Obama's campaigns, including some critical assistance in the primaries for his current position in the Senate:

During his 12 years in politics, Sen. Barack Obama has received nearly three times more campaign cash from indicted businessman Tony Rezko and his associates than he has publicly acknowledged, the Chicago Sun-Times has found.

Obama has collected at least $168,308 from Rezko and his circle. Obama also has taken in an unknown amount of money from people who attended fund-raising events hosted by Rezko since the mid-1990s.

But seven months ago, Obama told the Sun-Times his "best estimate" was that Rezko raised "between $50,000 and $60,000" during Obama's political career.

Obama, who wants to be the nation's next president, has been purging some of those donations -- giving charities more than $30,000 he got from Rezko and three of his business partners referenced in Rezko's federal indictments. All three attended a lavish fund-raiser Rezko hosted for Obama four years ago.

Obama, however, has kept $6,850 from others who also are referenced in Rezko's indictments. Obama also has hung on to contributions from doctors whom Rezko helped appoint to a state-government panel involved in some of Rezko's alleged fraud schemes.

How critical was Rezko's assistance? In 2003, when Obama first began his run for the Senate, the Democrats didn't believe he could compete against the wealthy Blair Hull and state Comptroller Dan Hynes. Obama needed to show he could raise funds in large enouugh amounts to stay abreast of the two better-known potential candidates, as well as against the Republican incumbent, Jack Ryan. The latter turned out to be no problem, as Ryan imploded as details of his divorce became public.

Obama has unloaded most of the money, more than three years later, but not all of it. They have retained some money from people named in the Rezko indictments, but that may be a temporary situation. The campaign has had to bactrack so much to find these donations that they may simply have failed to catch up to these.

Earlier, it appeared that Obama would put Rezko behind him; the peccadillo of the land swap with his former supporter didn''t gain much traction, perhaps rightly so. It didn't enrich Obama except to add a little more yard space to his lot. Unlike that, this shows that Rezko played a key role in moving Obama from a state legislator to a national candidate for President, and during a time that Obama's law office did business with Rezko on his questionable absentee-landlord business. Those kind of connections might get more traction, especially if the Obama campaign keeps getting caught fudging the numbers.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference More Rezko Woes For Obama:

» Obama lied, the Dream died from Wizbang Politics
Senator Barack Obama's Presidential campaign is finally under serious scrutiny, and it can't stand up to the hype created around the candidate. Obama drastically understated the contributions he has received... [Read More]

» FRI JUNE 22 A Long, Warm, Dusty Friday - A Week of Politics from The Pink Flamingo
I have three Blog Critics articles – [Read More]

Comments (12)

Posted by Oldmath | June 18, 2007 11:32 AM

I wonder if the Clinton campaign has noticed this Sun-Times article?

Posted by Matthew | June 18, 2007 11:36 AM

This should pose no more problems for Obama than Hillary's alleged self-dealing is causing for her.

Small Note: Jack Ryan was not an incumbent. Fitzgerald was the incumbent.

Posted by Mwalimu Daudi | June 18, 2007 11:43 AM

When Obama starts playing the race card you will know that he is feeling the heat.

Posted by Karen | June 18, 2007 1:05 PM

Do we have the makings of a manchurian candidate here?

Posted by BillH | June 18, 2007 1:11 PM

Just another poor black man being accused of something he did'nt do.

Posted by unclesmrgol | June 18, 2007 1:51 PM

No purge at all. Obama didn't give the money back to Rezco's victims, he instead give it to his favorite charities.

Such is the difference between believers in the village and believers in responsibility to individuals.

Posted by TimothyJ | June 18, 2007 1:51 PM

"I wonder if the Clinton campaign has noticed this Sun-Times article?"

Oh, come on! Do you really think the Sun-Times did the legwork on this? This is a democrat! Papers don't investigate democrats! They are lovely people who can do no wrong! Get with the program! This came from the Clinton smear machine! And don;t think this is all they've got. We haven't seen anything yet. Her highness will park her b**t in the Oval Office, whatever it takes.

Posted by brooklyn | June 18, 2007 1:58 PM

Curious as to how this could have some real traction, as the Clintons remain the most unethical, corrupt, swindle we have on the National Stage.

As if Hillary will skate through, and the MSM will paint Senator Obama with a conflict of interest and an negligent past?

That would be amazing...

The entire thing becomes pointless, as some get away with everything, and others get nailed for less.

This Country deserves better, and I hope we rise to the challenge in 2008, gather behind the GOP Nomination, and send the likes of Hillary, Reid, and Pelosi back into the Minority.

Posted by Adjoran | June 18, 2007 2:17 PM

The difference is that everyone knows about the Clintons. Hillary isn't pretending to be some pure-as-the-driven-snow fresh face with a "new" kind of politics blah blah blah yadda yadda yadda.

Obama is using that line, and it is the only thing besides his race which gives any meaning to his candidacy. He has no executive experience and not all that much legislative experience (which of itself doesn't qualify one for the Presidency). His ideas are vague and his command of issues is sketchy. All he has is his image.

Once the image is demonstrated to be phony, what's left of the Obama campaign?

WHO CARES if Hillary's people pointed the reporters to this story or not? What ought matter is "Is it TRUE?"

The dirty little secret is that the ONLY thing keeping Obama and Edwards afloat is the nagging concern among Democrats about Hillary's electability in the general election, given her high negatives. If it weren't for that, both of these Bozos would have been on the bus back to Bumfark months ago.

Posted by Bob Smith | June 18, 2007 2:21 PM

The land deal with Rezko is worth a lot more than mere lot size. Rezko's part of the deal represents many thousands of dollars per year in interest payments Obama doesn't have to make. Also, depending on his income Obama might not have been able to qualify for a loan to purchase both parcels, so the deal with Rezko gets Obama a very nice house he otherwise wouldn't qualify to purchase. In my book this is just as corrupt as a straight cash bribe.

Posted by Minesweeper | June 19, 2007 7:31 AM

Bob Smith is right -- Obama was greatly enriched by the land deal. The owner wanted to sell the mansion on it's oversize lot. Instead, Obama got the mansion for $1.65 mil ($300k less than asking) and (or because) the Rezkos paid $625K for the rest of the lot. A million here and a milion there and pretty soon you are talking real money! Then Obama has the stones to claim he had no part in the Rezkos buying the lot ... ya, right.

Posted by Bob Smith | June 19, 2007 7:39 AM

$625k, eh? At 6% interest that's $37,500 per year in foregone interest. Where I come from expenses avoided are just as good as income gained. Better, actually, since there's no income tax on expenses you don't pay. Rezko's deal will be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to Obama.