The NYT described Antoin Rezko as a "collector of politicians", which is the way he was known in Chicago. His office was full of framed photos of politicians he met and gave campaign contributions to and we now know he often let them know there were strings. Political favors were regularly exchanged. It would be no different with Obama and Rezko. For Obama to deny it is to deny what was known and was common practice with Rezko and his other collection of political friends of Rezko's money.
As reported in the New York Times, by Christopher Drew and Mike McIntire (June 14, 2007), "As Mr. Obama built a career that carried him to the Senate in 2004, Mr. Rezko was there with him, holding fund-raisers and rallying support."
"Mr. Obama has portrayed Mr. Rezko as a one-time fund-raiser whom he had occasionally seen socially. But interviews with more than a dozen political and business associates suggest that the two men were closer than the senator has indicated." (NYT)
"Mr. Obama turned to Mr. Rezko for help at several important junctures. Records show that when Mr. Obama needed cash in the waning days of his losing 2000 Congressional campaign, Mr. Rezko rounded up thousands of dollars from business contacts. In 2003, Mr. Rezko helped Mr. Obama expand his fund-raising for the Senate primary by being host of a dinner at his Mediterranean-style home for 150 people, including some whose names have since come up in the influence scandal." (ibid)
Cindi Canary, executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, a nonpartisan research group, said vis-a-vis Rezko's fund raising for Obama in 2003 "was a little stunning that so late in the game Senator Obama would still have such close involvement with Rezko."
"Years earlier, as a state legislator, Mr. Obama wrote letters to city and state officials supporting efforts by Mr. Rezko and a partner to build apartments for the elderly with $14 million in government money, The Chicago Sun-Times reported in its June 13 editions. The developers received $855,000 in fees." (NYT)
A blogger who uses the handle, "DemAC" wrote: "So what if Barack Obama knows Tony Rezko. Why should we care?" And he goes on to tell us why we should care,
"The facts are that Barack Obama worked at a politically connected law firm. One of the law firm's clients was Tony Rezko, a friend to Obama as well as a fundraiser of millions of dollars for Obama's political campaigns. Tony Rezko, the friend and fundraiser for whom Obama did legal work, was also a slumlord. When Obama worked at the law firm, as well as later when he held political office in Illinois, Obama helped Rezko obtain massive amounts of dollars in subsidies from the government for his housing business via Rezko's company Rezmar. Neither Rezko, nor his partners in the housing venture, had any prior experience in the housing field; however Rezko still received tens of millions in government money." (DemAC)
"The facts are that some of the money in government subsidies went to buy tenements in Obama's state senate district. Rezko treatment of the mainly African-American tenants left a lot to desire. Rezko provided no heat and no hot water during the particularly cold winter of 1997. Rezko claimed he did not have money to provide heat and hot water to Obama's constituents. However Rezko did have enough money to donate to Barack Obama." (DemAC)
"The facts are that, thanks in part to Rezko's fundraising and donations, Obama was elected to the state senate. State Senator Obama still worked for clients at the law firm, including Tony Rezko. State Senator Obama of Illinois, wrote letters of support to get Rezko/Rezmar millions more in government subsidies." (DemAC)
"The facts are that Obama, again with the help of Rezko's donations and fundraising, was elected a U.S. Senator in the fall of 2004. Moving up on the political ladder the Obamas wanted to buy a big mansion in South Chicago they could not afford. The house cost $2.3 million. Obama made a deal with the owner who agreed to part the lot in two, one lot with the house and one lot with the yard, and to sell Obama the house separately from the house's side yard. Obama purchased the parcel of land with the house at a discounted price, of $1.65 million. On the very same day, Rezko's wife, bought the side yard at full price." (DemAC)
"The facts are that Michelle and Obama then moved into the house. The yard which is owned by the Rezkos are not used by them. Instead Obama paid the bills for the upkeep of Rezko's yard. After the deal, Obama paid for mowing of his front lawn as well as REzko's yard. The yard that originally was the yard of Obama's house for all practical purposes still was." (DemAC)
"The facts are thus in sum: Obama got a $300,000 discount on the lot on which the house stood. The yard, purchased by Rita Rezko for the full price of $625,000 the Obamas got to use for no cost at all. Obama's profit is $925,000. Not a bad deal." (DemAC)
"The facts are that in the fall of 2006 years of illegal influence peddling were catching up with Tony Rezko. By late 2006 several news reports indicated a possible indictment by U.S. prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald (the same Fitzgerald who indicted "Scooter" Libby). Fitzgerald's case against Rezko includes charges of bribes, kickbacks and extortion." (DemAC)
Remember, the NYT reported that while Obama implied his relationship with Rezko was casual and he was only a "one-time fund-raiser" and he only socialized with Rezko occasionally, that was a bald faced lie. As stated in the NYT, "...interviews with more than a dozen political and business associates suggest that the two men were closer than the senator has indicated."
At the same time Obama was taking money from Rezko in 2004, Rezko was being investigated by the FBI and was later indicted. It has been pointed out that "an ABC News review of campaign records shows Rezko, and people connected to him, contributed more than $120,000 to Obama's 2004 campaign for the U.S. Senate, much of it at a time when Rezko was the target of an FBI investigation."
There are several issues here besides the fact that he may have less than honest intent. Everything should be considered, not least of all obama's ethics (lack of) and his judgment (or lack of). But the media does not seem to be doing it's job. They are not asking the right questions. Obama has been getting a free pass as many thought he might be as an African-American. Political correctness won out over good sense.
"I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists -- and won. They have not funded my campaign, they will not get a job in my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president." -- Barack Obama, Speech in Des Moines, IA, November 10, 2007
We now know that Obama (who rejected public funds) has received plenty of corporate funds - many times more than his Republican opponents. We now know also that millions of dollars collected by Obama came from Middle Eastern contributors. We know Obama is not who or what he says he is. We all should by now realize we should NOT be surprised by what Obama does is seldom what he says it is.
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Today is Thursday May 23, 2013