Thursday, June 05, 2008

Friends with Felons

Is it just me or has the national news media ignored Tony Rezko's multiple convictions yesterday? Rezko was possibly the single greatest force in establishing Obama in politics. He was convicted yesterday of 16 out of 24 counts of fraud and money laundering. Rezko steered government contracts in return for kickbacks and campaign contributions, masterminding the "pay to play politics" that are so common in Illinois government.

Obama has portrayed himself as someone above the usual politics, a reformer even. Yet when he was a state senator he had a choice to make. He could have aligned himself with the Democrats trying to clean up state politics, but instead he chose the dark side of Rezko and Gov. Blogojevich. His land deal with Rezko shows he has no problem with dirty money and dirty politics.

In 2005, the Obama family found a nice Georgian mansion they liked in Chicago. There was an adjacent lot also for sale from the same seller. Obama liked the property and wanted some of the adjacent lot, but he didn't really feel like paying full price. So he contacted his buddy Rezko (they have been friends since 1990). Obama closed on the house and Rezko on the lot the very same day. However, Obama got a $300k discount off the asking price (he paid $1.65 million), while Rezko paid full price ($625k) for the empty lot. Hmmm. Then, last January, Obama paid Rezko $104,500 for a strip of his lot to increase the size of his yard. Hmmm. Making matters worse, Obama knew that Rezko was under investigation by US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald when he made the second deal. Obama ran to Rezko when every other Illinois politician was running away.

Obama was perfectly willing to accept Rezko's dirty money to advance his career. The extent of the problem will probably never be known, but Rezko and his cronies gave at least $200,000 to Obama's campaign (Obama is giving $40,000 of that to charity) and raised much more using pay to play tactics that screw the people of Illinois. Obama took money time and time again from Rezko, while Rezko's low-income housing projects left poor African-Americans in Obama's district without heat in the brutal Chicago winters. Obama even wrote letters supporting Rezko's attempts to get millions in bonds from the city for these slums. I guess if someone's raising millions for your campaign and giving you a helping hand with your home purchases it's a little easier to turn a blind eye. This is the change we're supposed to believe in?

1 comment:

Rudi said...

How on earth do you know all this stuff?

You're a smart cookie. I'm glad that I have this type of intelligence on my side.