Rezko trial to reveal a real culture of corruption

posted at 2:42 pm on February 29, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Chicago political figure and Barack Obama supporter Tony Rezko goes on trial Monday on federal charges of bribery and extortion, and at least one reformer hopes the media starts asking more questions about politics in Illinois. Calling the political culture “sick”, clean-government advocate Jay Stewart points out that Barck Obama has no trouble lecturing America on the Beltway’s broken politics, but has had little to say about the corruption in his own back yard:

With the corruption trial of one of Sen. Barack Obama’s longtime friends and supporters set to begin Monday in Chicago, Ill., reform watchdogs say it will reveal the “cesspool” of Illinois politics in which Obama came of age and has said little about in his campaign for president.

“We have a sick political culture,” said Jay Stewart, the executive director of the Chicago Better Government Association, “and that’s the environment that Barack Obama came from.”

Stewart says he does not understand why Obama has lectured others about corruption in Washington and Kenya but “been noticeably silent on the issue of corruption here in his home state, including at this point, mostly Democratic politicians.”

Stewart believes that the media has missed the story on the relationship between Rezko and Obama as well. Rezko, Stewart argues, was more than just a contributor to Obama’s campaign. He helped Obama make connections in Chicago politics and maintained a close personal relationship with him until it proved damaging. Focusing only on the land transaction misses the point.

Until now, Obama has received fairly friendly treatment — perhaps because the media didn’t believe he could beat Hillary. Why look bad by digging deeper into a likable but doomed candidate? Now, however, Rezko’s trial could allow for a way back into doing research into Obama’s career in the muck of Windy City politics. They have been stung by Hillary Clinton’s complaints about bias, and this could provide an opportunity to look more fair.

Stewart brings up a good question. For a man who promises to reform Washington, how much effort did he put into reforming Chicago and Illinois? He served in the state legislature for seven years. Did he attempt to start a reform movement, as Bobby Jindal has done in Louisiana? Or did his close relationship to a fixer like Rezko have something to do with any lack of crusading zeal?

Once again, we have the triumph of rhetoric over record — at least for the moment. The trial of Tony Rezko may prove to be the point in which America takes a closer look at the Obama phenomenon and starts asking some tough questions about the little experience he has.


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This should be really good…

Red Pill on February 29, 2008 at 2:47 PM

BO’s turn in the barrel is coming, but at this time, it’s too soon.

swami on February 29, 2008 at 2:47 PM

It’s surprising that Hillary Clinton hasn’t spent the last few weeks bringing up this connection outside that half-hearted jab during one of the debates. Any way that Clinton can make herself into the “ethical” candidate would help her sputtering campaign.

highhopes on February 29, 2008 at 2:47 PM

Illinois politics has been corrupt well before Al Capone rose to power; I worked in Chicago 5 years, and dealt with multiple local governments, plus the state. Corrupt politics is the standard, not the exception.

That Obama came from Illinois was a major warning flag to me long ago.

The_Real_JeffS on February 29, 2008 at 2:49 PM

Obama-nation!

sleepy-beans on February 29, 2008 at 2:49 PM

They have been stung by Hillary Clinton’s complaints about bias, and this could provide an opportunity to look more fair.

Hopefully. But seeing as the complaints about media bias have come from Hillary, who is almost out of the race, will the media really care about trying to salvage their image when they can merely train their sights on McCain while the rest of the Hillary camp get behind the Democratic nominee?

darii on February 29, 2008 at 2:50 PM

Are the Republicans nominating anyone this year?

I am getting the impression that, some think anyway, the ballots will just say:

1) Obama – yes
2) Obama – no

MB4 on February 29, 2008 at 2:51 PM

What, you figure we have the “northern Delay” here? Hammer away boys!

DMeNTe on February 29, 2008 at 2:51 PM

Once this Rezko trial starts, you may be seeing B.O. looking over his shoulder more often than usual. Only thing is I bet Shillary is wishing the trial had started sooner, so they could get to the real meat and potatoes of the case and start seeing B.O.’s name getting mentioned more and more prior to the primaries next Tuesday. Looks like McPain may be the recipient of good fortune should the trial indicate a clear connection between Rezko and B.O.

pilamaye on February 29, 2008 at 2:52 PM

Sorry, I forgot…where’s O’DreamyCosby from? That’s right, Chicago.

LtE126 on February 29, 2008 at 2:52 PM

Hillary will have a hard time using this because she also has shady land deal in her past with someone who ended up in jail.

Aaron K on February 29, 2008 at 2:54 PM

The trial of Tony Rezko may prove to be the point in which America takes a closer look at the Obama phenomenon and starts asking some tough questions about the little experience he has.

Not if the Drive-Bys have any control over the situation. This kind of scandal is a candidate-wrecker and they will do everything they can to keep it trussed up and gagged under the cellar steps. Hopefully, the so-called New Media will have enough power to cut the ropes and undo the gag.

NemoParticularis on February 29, 2008 at 2:55 PM

MSM: “Nothing to see here folks! Move along! Move along!”

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on February 29, 2008 at 2:56 PM

It’s hard to follow something like this.

Somebody needs to create a viral website with cartoon like illustrations showing all the weaknesses of Obama(born alive abortion, rezko, ayers, etc). A lot of these attacks on Obama are extremely hard to learn about and digest that they won’t stick if the media is all that is relied upon.

ninjapirate on February 29, 2008 at 2:59 PM

MSM: “Nothing to see here folks! Move along! Move along!”

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on February 29, 2008 at 2:56 PM

Ha! Yeah, “Come over here, we have some anonymous allegations that McCain aides might have suspected that he may have acted somewhat inappropriately in the company of a lobbyist.”

darii on February 29, 2008 at 3:01 PM

I’ll believe it when I see it. The media is going to be very reluctant to do anything that can be damaging to Obama. They’re vested in bringing an end to ‘republican rule’, and their behavior will support that goal.

Obama’s been a clear front-runner for awhile now, and the media hasn’t begun to examine him more closely – its done quite the opposite.

Republicans and conservative bloggers/talk radio will have to do the heavy lifting on this, meaning 1) the people that need to hear it (lefties) won’t, and 2) it will just feed the “those conservos are racists” rhetoric that’s on its way. Criticism of Obama can’t possibly be based on anything else, of course.

Midas on February 29, 2008 at 3:02 PM

Jay Stewart better get a remote starter. Stewart writes for our small neighborhood paper here on the northside.

LtE126 on February 29, 2008 at 3:03 PM

Chicago, I grew up there and my grandmother had a restaurant/picnic grove. The mere fact of BHO coming from there DQ’d him for me right out of the gate.
America should be looking a bit closer at a national candidate spawned by the machine that gave us “Vote Early and Often” and perfected voting from beyond the grave.

bbz123 on February 29, 2008 at 3:04 PM

Excellent point about Jindal coming in immediately and trying to clean up Louisiana politics while Obama came in and basically seemed to go along with the ride.

Queasy on February 29, 2008 at 3:05 PM

Are the Republicans nominating anyone this year?

I am getting the impression that, some think anyway, the ballots will just say:

1) Obama – yes
2) Obama – no

MB4 on February 29, 2008 at 2:51 PM

Huckabee/Steele defeats Obama/Edwards this November.

Red Pill on February 29, 2008 at 3:06 PM

Jay Stewart better get a remote starter. Stewart writes for our small neighborhood paper here on the northside.

LtE126 on February 29, 2008 at 3:03 PM

You know, I was thinking something very similar. It’s hard not to, when I’ve lived through the epidemic of Arkansas Sudden Death Syndrome.

shibumiglass on February 29, 2008 at 3:07 PM

I lived in Chicago during the first Mayor Daily. Corruption got things done. Without it, nothing got done.

I had an off duty Chicago policeman neighbor machine gunned in front of his family as he got out to open his garage door after church. The shooters arrived in 2 Chicago Police cars. We lived in Park Ridge (same as Hillary) which was out of the Chicago Police jurisdiction. The crime was never solved.

We also had a mob guy living across the street, and I went to school with his daughter. Her father worked at night, and they always had strange men (uncles) living there for weeks at a time. No friends of the girl were allowed in the house, but we played outside. In school, she didn’t know what her father did for a job when she was in 5th grade. Funny, but fireworks were strictly banned in Park Ridge, but they alway had bottle rockets, firecrackers, and cherry bombs on the Fourth of July. The cops never came, even when called.

saiga on February 29, 2008 at 3:09 PM

the media has missed the story on the relationship between Rezko and Obama as well

.

Until now, Obama has received fairly friendly treatment

Well.

Imagine that.

Vyce on February 29, 2008 at 3:10 PM

I lived in Chicago during the first Mayor Daily. Corruption got things done. Without it, nothing got done.

I live in New Orleans. Corruption as a tool to get things done is over-rated! At least down here.

I think the difference was that Chicago corruption is a group effort where there is a lot of quid-pro-quo going on while Louisiana corruption is more of an individual effort than team sport these days. Huey Long was probably the last crook to get things done through corruption.

highhopes on February 29, 2008 at 3:16 PM

Yup, house cleaning should start at home (coming from the party that pimped pervert marriage in 2004 as they hid Pedophiles, Pervert Foot Tappers, and criminals (only calling the corruption out AFTER it was caught).

YUP, hypocrites is US is they name.

TOPV on February 29, 2008 at 3:17 PM

For a man who promises to reform Washington, how much effort did he put into reforming Chicago and Illinois?

Well, duh. I’ve been asking the same question for weeks now. I never get credit for anything.

Mark V. on February 29, 2008 at 3:21 PM

Hillary will have a hard time using this because she also has shady land deal in her past with someone who ended up in jail.

Aaron K on February 29, 2008 at 2:54 PM

Yup. And she has yet to release her tax records which, when brought up by Hussein, seemed to have stung rather badly.

BowHuntingTexas on February 29, 2008 at 3:21 PM

Don’t expect any tough questions from the MSM. He is the chosen one.

easy on February 29, 2008 at 3:23 PM

Yep, as I said a few days ago, ethics reform begins at home, Barry.

I look forward to this trial.

Sources said [FBI Mole] Thomas also logged frequent visits to Rezko from Gov. Blagojevich and U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Blagojevich and Obama were among the many politicians for whom Rezko raised campaign cash. Neither has been charged with any wrongdoing.

Will Obama have to testify?

Buy Danish on February 29, 2008 at 3:24 PM

So what stops Rezko from laying down plea (pardon’s await)?
It would stop any sworn testimony from entering the record.
The MSM would have a perfect excuse to let the story go like Hillary’s Chinese money.

Limerick on February 29, 2008 at 3:24 PM

So, voting for Obama in TX and OH might, just might, be a good thing?

cjs1943 on February 29, 2008 at 3:26 PM

Don’t forget that this trial will get our Dem Governor “Blogo” as well. He, and many others are tied to this. Yes, I live in Ill-noise.

BobK on February 29, 2008 at 3:31 PM

Wouldn’t surprise me if Hillary pushes this through third parties – partly to help keep the heat off of her own misdeeds and partly to avoid having it skipped because “she’s just being bitter about losing.”

If she can keep it reasonably close (as she has been) and get enough tarnish on his halo then of course the SuperDelegates will have to annoint her – for the good of The Party, you see, not for her.

KCSteve on February 29, 2008 at 3:34 PM

http://rezkowatch.blogspot.com/

This blog rounds up most, if not all the stories about Rezko.

I don’t know where the “messiah” nickname came from, but it’s increasingly appropriate. Here’s why.

Did Obama quit when he couldn’t reform social services as a street lawyer? No, he ran for State Senate.

Did Obama quit when he couldn’t reform social services as a State Senator? No, he ran for US Senate.

Did Obama quit when he couldn’t reform social services as a US Senator? No, he ran for President.

Did Obama quit when he couldn’t reform social services as President? No, he ran for UN Secretary General.

Did Obama quit when he couldn’t reform social services as UN Sec Gen? No, he ran for Pope.

Did Obama quit when he couldn’t reform social services as Pope? No, he is the second coming of Christ, aka “The Messiah”.

gabriel sutherland on February 29, 2008 at 3:34 PM

Yup, house cleaning should start at home (coming from the party that pimped pervert marriage in 2004 as they hid Pedophiles, Pervert Foot Tappers, and criminals (only calling the corruption out AFTER it was caught).

YUP, hypocrites is US is they name.

TOPV on February 29, 2008 at 3:17 PM

Hmmmm. So, are you for or against digging into Obama’s past political relationships which may be corrupt? Your post has a bit of diversion in it. Are you really voting for Obama because you are opposed to McCain on principle, or do I detect a false flag?

a capella on February 29, 2008 at 3:39 PM

Great news that this trial is finally beginning. We could (figuratively speaking) kill two dirty birds with one stoned Rezko, Obama and Illinois’ idiot governor Baloneyvich.

Baloneyvich should end up in jail, but I certainly hope that Obama gets a reaming out of this, too. He has one coming.

Jaibones on February 29, 2008 at 4:03 PM

I’m sorry, but we cannot discuss any potential corruption on Obamahammed’s part. Someone actually mentioned his middle name at some point!

DaveHusseinS on February 29, 2008 at 4:06 PM

I’d expect the Hillary campaign to throw a Rezko bomb, via third parties, before Tuesday. It’ll be just in time for Ohio and Texas, but too late to be fact-checked.

petefrt on February 29, 2008 at 4:10 PM

I don’t know where the “messiah” nickname came from…
gabriel sutherland on February 29, 2008 at 3:34 PM

I don’t know who was the first to use that nickname, but I’ve always interpreted it as the Demoncrat’s name for “the one” to lead them back to the promised land of controlling the Presidency, and via his “coat tails” to keep a majority in the House and Senate, so that they can also control judicial nominations and hence control the Supreme Court.

Yes, it’s the Demoncrat’s dream of Supreme power, and Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. is their “messiah” who, by the way, fails the God test:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
1 John 4:1-3 (New King James Version)

He ain’t no “messiah”.
Is he the antichrist? I don’t know…you be the judge.

Red Pill on February 29, 2008 at 4:15 PM

Old article here but it has some relevance to Obama’s good judgement.

knat on February 29, 2008 at 4:17 PM

Until now, Obama has received fairly friendly treatment — perhaps because the media didn’t believe he could beat Hillary. Why look bad by digging deeper into a likable but doomed candidate?em>

The media only dig deep on Dem candidates who are serious? Captain, life must be so much more exciting for you, being constantly full of amazing surprises such as the Sun coming up yet again and all.

drunyan8315 on February 29, 2008 at 4:18 PM

Astonishing that so many posts believe that the MSM will actually look into Obama’s background.

The Rezko story is older than John McCain. Don’t expect bells and whistles to go off now.

Angry Dumbo on February 29, 2008 at 4:28 PM

I know they won’t. I’m wondering like mad how we can. Is it possible for us to make a dent?

shibumiglass on February 29, 2008 at 4:48 PM

Angry Dumbo on February 29, 2008 at 4:28 PM

Pretty hard to ignore a trial, and if nothing else, it keeps the topic bouncing up in the sunlight. The glass is half full.

a capella on February 29, 2008 at 4:52 PM

The Obama’s are very good at sermonizing to the rest of us but to what extent have they followed their own advice?

Rezko is just one side of the same coin.

Criminal indictment of Tony Rezko, Yes we Can!

“We have to fix our souls – our souls are broken”

“That we have to compromise and sacrifice for one another in order to get things done – that is why I am here, because Barack Obama is the only person in this race who understands that.

That before we can work on the problems, we have to fix our souls – our souls are broken in this nation.”

“We have lost the understanding that in a democracy, we have a mutual obligation to one another”…..

Here is one excerpt of the latest sermons from Michelle Obama:

“Don’t go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we’re encouraging our young people to do that. But if you make that choice, as we did, to move out of the money-making industry into the helping industry, then your salaries respond.”

Here is their tax return: ($983,826)

moxie_neanderthal on February 29, 2008 at 4:58 PM

Anyone critical of Saint Obama is a RACIST!!!

Montana on February 29, 2008 at 5:10 PM

go to my blog, ed,

and read this:

http://astuteblogger.blogspot.com/search?q=%22john+thomas%22

and go to chicago sun times or trib and

and word search john thomas.

he’s the fbi mole in the case.

many of his conversations with OBAMA were recorded.

they might contain some interesting stuff and it might come out at the trial.

reliapundit on February 29, 2008 at 5:22 PM

Google: Obama, Morris, Odinga

Please! There’s more “corruption” than just this…

Califemme on February 29, 2008 at 5:22 PM

Anyone who thinks a guy who gets elected to the Senate from Chicago doesn’t have some pretty nasty skeletons in his closet is just, y’know, not paying attention

And hasn’t been, for quite a while now.

mojo on February 29, 2008 at 5:27 PM

Now, if only Jon Stewart would start talking about it … or even Jay Leno … someone outside the Right might take it seriously.

njcommuter on February 29, 2008 at 5:35 PM

As usual…great points by Ed!

Seaberry on February 29, 2008 at 5:52 PM

One day before Texas and Ohio (and VT and RI).

SouthernGent on February 29, 2008 at 6:04 PM

Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. is their “messiah” who, by the way, fails the God test:”…” He ain’t no “messiah”. Is he the antichrist? I don’t know…you be the judge.
Red Pill

Scary possibility. Very scary.
I don’t know how much I believe in Revelation as a word for word message from God, BUT…
I will start packing for the ‘end times’ if obama gets elected this November.
Maybe those Mayans were right?

shooter on February 29, 2008 at 6:06 PM

reliapundit on February 29, 2008 at 5:22 PM

I read just today at Rezco Watch that they had not recorded the Obama conversations…

Buy Danish on February 29, 2008 at 6:10 PM

From the Chicago Sun Times -

Sources said Thomas helped investigators build a record of repeat visits to the old offices of Rezko and former business partner Daniel Mahru’s Rezmar Corp., at 853 N. Elston, by Blagojevich and Obama during 2004 and 2005….

Sources said the government had him wear a hidden wire to record conversations with a Chicago alderman — but that he did not record Blagojevich or Obama.

Buy Danish on February 29, 2008 at 6:15 PM

This may actually be to HRC’s benefit. Would not a corruption trial running through the summer auger a less-than-stellar Democrat candidate? HRC could easily argue Obama could not win in the General Election if a Rezko trial hits close to Obama. If I understand the byzantine rules for the Democrat Convention, only the first ballot counts; given enough ‘reasonable doubt’, Obama may lose that critical first ballot. A brokered convention could then happen during which the Corrupt Clinton Machine will break however many legs needed to hand HRC the nomination. Regardless of the Primary Delegate count.

SeniorD on February 29, 2008 at 7:12 PM

The MSM will never allow anything to touch this guy. Tonight on t.v. they were already setting the rules regarding the care and protection that will be required to shield this delicate flower from Hawaii. Makes you wonder how he will stand up to any pressure after he assumes leadership of America. Do they know something we don’t? I sure don’t want to find out anything AFTER he’s in control of my country.

The little wife looks a bit bruised and disheveled by her difficult life and she really has whining down to a science. How annoying will she be after a few months in the public eye?

UnEasyRider on February 29, 2008 at 11:24 PM

And to think everybody on our side thought he was just an empty suit.

Empty of positive qualities, sure, but not empty of everything.

platypus on March 1, 2008 at 11:24 AM

“Barck Obama has no trouble lecturing America on the Beltway’s broken politics, but has had little to say about the corruption in his own back yard”…And in true lefty style: no solutions, therefore, no positive results.

“The trial of Tony Rezko may prove to be the point in which America takes a closer look at the Obama phenomenon and starts asking some tough questions about the little experience he has.”…But, will we (with the help of the Obama-loving media) be able to bring this up without his handlers and devotees shooting it down as ‘RWConspiracy’ or ‘the politics of personal destruction’? Yes, the gloves will come off and the tactics that HRC (from Illinois) employs will fall to BO. I don’t think any amount of pc politeness can stop what’s coming…but, no matter who is elected, we are in deep sheep dip without a hand to pull us out.

Christine on March 1, 2008 at 12:34 PM

I’d love to ask Obama what he thinks about the local political culture and about Patrick Fitzgerald’s job performance. (Fitzgerald is the prosecutor in Rezko’s case.) Would he reappoint him as US Attorney for the Northern District?

shaedo on March 1, 2008 at 1:30 PM