Rezko cash three times more what Obama admits: Sun-Times Update: June 2007

posted at 11:43 am on March 9, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

When attempting to defuse an embarrassing situation, the best strategies rely on early and full disclosure in the hope that the eventual revelations prove anti-climactic. Barack Obama apparently hasn’t learned this yet, but the Tony Rezko trial may wind up schooling Obama on the principle. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Rezko and his associates provided three times as much money for Obama than the presidential candidate has admitted:

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.

The connections to Obama have received more attention, thanks to the local Chicago media rather than their national counterparts. One of Rezko’s associates turns out to be Ali D. Ata, who worked in Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s administration. Ata now faces fraud charges for writing a letter on state letterhead on behalf of Rezko that lied well enough to get millions of dollars in loans. Rezko brought Ata into Obama’s camp as a contributor.

There is also Joseph Aramanda. He faces no charges in the Rezko scandals, but Aramanda allegedly played a role in a scheme Rezko used to exploit the Illinois state teachers fund. Aramanda also had a son who worked on Obama’s staff, and he also contributed to Obama’s campaign.

All of this — and more — centers on the Rezko-Obama relationship. Obama has tried to minimize his connections to Rezko, understandably, as Rezko sinks deeper into his federal trial. The Sun-Times and other Chicago newspapers keep finding more and more connections and showing that Rezko was more than just a contributor to an election campaign. Obama and Rezko have significant ties, and at the very least it calls into question how Obama could have remained ignorant of his friend’s corruption while at least indirectly benefiting from it.

He might convince people he had no knowledge of it. However, as more connections come to the light, the best he can argue is that he is so naive and unschooled that he couldn’t see corruption where it obviously exists. If so, how can he argue that he’s sophisticated enough to run the nation?

UPDATE: This story comes from June 2007.  I didn’t notice that when I first read the story.  It’s interesting, though, that no one has thought to follow this up since then, at least not in the national media.  I think this shows why the Chicago media displayed such frustration in last week’s press conference in Texas in that their national colleagues haven’t exactly lit up the wires in picking up on their work.


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He can’t make that argument and apparently his supporters don’t care , in fact they seem happy that he is green,naive and clueless.

bbz123 on March 9, 2008 at 11:48 AM

Yeay! Ed’s awake with coffee in hand! Feed me, Seymour.

shibumiglass on March 9, 2008 at 11:49 AM

I’m shocked that there exists the possibility that a Chicago politician might be corrupt.

BTW, did you know that John McCain once raised his voice? That is so much more important than suspicious campaign contributions to Obama (or Clinton)

rbj on March 9, 2008 at 11:50 AM

Search his freezer!

infidel on March 9, 2008 at 11:52 AM

If so, how can he argue that he’s sophisticated enough to run the nation?

Because he wants change from the old way of being in bed with corrupt business men. Change is the key. Yes we can!

a capella on March 9, 2008 at 11:53 AM

Ohhhhh, that money…

Zorro on March 9, 2008 at 11:56 AM

A little history lesson for B. Hussein. Nixon learned it, Clemens is about to learn it. It is best to come clean when questioned on matters of interest. The cover up is always worse than the question.

pueblo1032 on March 9, 2008 at 11:58 AM

O-busted.

O-bummer.

O-prah tell-all show.

O-back to hustings in anonymity.

profitsbeard on March 9, 2008 at 11:59 AM

Story from June 18, 2007

lorien1973 on March 9, 2008 at 11:59 AM

Previous posters are right: What’s really clueless is assuming anyone could come out of local Chicago politics (or any large city, for that matter) without having associated with shady characters. Obama’s supporters have already discounted Rezko. When they’re hearing daily about raising $50 million a month, $160K over a number of years sounds like less than chump change, particularly when you compare it to the millions the Clintons have taken in internationally in Bill’s post-presidency. It’s beyond a wash.

Nice try, Hillary-piners, but as Bill likes to say, “No cigar”.

sanguine4 on March 9, 2008 at 12:04 PM

I’m waiting for McCain to admonish the Sun-Times for hinting anything negative about Obama. For McCain to promote a civil and respectful debate with his opponents is contrary to the fact that you have to be a two-faced lying thief to be a politician in the first place.

volsense on March 9, 2008 at 12:04 PM

Change. Hope. Change. Hope. Change. Hope. Change. Hope. Change. Hope. Change. Hope. Change. Hope. Change. Hope.

There, all better.

stonemeister on March 9, 2008 at 12:05 PM

He should borrow John Kerry’s ‘lucky hat’ and stress his selflessly noble and heroic military record…

Oh, wait!

heldmyw on March 9, 2008 at 12:09 PM

He claims he has the judgement to answer that phone. But he doesn’t have the judgement to grow up in Chicago and work in the centers of power in Illinois and know what is going on in Chicago.
Most of his supporters might never now about Rezko, etc. because the whole MSM release of info on a need to know basis and that willing suspension of disbelief thingy.

snaggletoothie on March 9, 2008 at 12:09 PM

This might be a good time for Michelle to give another speech about the meanness of it all. Time for some more bad cop, I think.

a capella on March 9, 2008 at 12:16 PM

Today

When attempting to defuse an embarrassing situation, the best strategies rely on early and full disclosure in the hope that the eventual revelations prove anti-climactic.

Two days ago
Remember how Barack Obama called Hillary Clinton one of the most secretive politicians in America? That apparently applies to both Hillary and her husband as a team.

The Clintons have been getting away with murder figuratively, some say literally in the case of Vince Foster. They never disclose anything until they grugingly disclose a little after it becomes general knowledge. They have a perfect record 3 for 3 in elections for national government offices.

burt on March 9, 2008 at 12:20 PM

Screwed up

Today

When attempting to defuse an embarrassing situation, the best strategies rely on early and full disclosure in the hope that the eventual revelations prove anti-climactic.

Two days ago

Remember how Barack Obama called Hillary Clinton one of the most secretive politicians in America? That apparently applies to both Hillary and her husband as a team.

The Clintons have been figuratively getting away with murder, some say literally in the case of Vince Foster. They never disclose anything until they grugingly disclose a little after it becomes general knowledge. They have a perfect record 3 for 3 in elections for national government offices.

burt on March 9, 2008 at 12:24 PM

But, Oprah promised with Obama, “You witness a politician who has an ear for eloquence and a tongue dipped in the unvarnished truth.”

I guess underneath that varnish is a money trail.

moonsbreath on March 9, 2008 at 12:29 PM

Is it just me or does anyone else think that it is Bullshit when politicians get caught with dirty money and give it to charity to make the problem null & void.

In real life do criminals (which is what a dirty politician really is) get to return their ill gotten gains to avoid punishment? Why do we allow a different standard for “public servants?”

And yeah, I have a real problem (one of many w/Barack) with someone who cannot see corruption and illegality when it is staring him right in the face as a friend of 20 some years. He is either too stupid or to much of a liar for the job. Although by that standard Hillary and McCain need to step aside as well.

America1st on March 9, 2008 at 12:40 PM

This story comes from June 2007. I didn’t notice that when I first read the story.

That may be, but the very fact that you didn’t know about it shows how much people NEED to know about it. As has already been said, this sort of information ought to be big news…and isn’t. Or at least hasn’t been, and I am fairly sure that if the candidate in question had an R after his name things would be different. Since it’s a D, well…no one cares much.

It’s time to change that, methinks. We might want to wait for September, though.

Bob's Kid on March 9, 2008 at 12:48 PM

*puts handful of popcorn into mouth*

AbaddonsReign on March 9, 2008 at 12:50 PM

I was looking through Buckley: The Right Word and came across a section on Nelson Rockefeller that could have been written on Obama. Rockefeller, of course, was a liberal Republican, and said things in his speech (sometime around April 23, 1968) like:

“I believe deeply in such a new government, such a new leadership, and such a new America.
“We as a people have – right now – a choice to make.
“We must choose between a new division or a new dedication.
“We can live together as bullies – or as brothers.
“We can shoose a life of the jungle, or a life of justice.
“We cannot have both.
“We cannot live for long with parts and pieces of both.
“We must choose.”

In response, Buckley wrote, “We must cut the crap…it takes men of archaeological passion to find Mr. Rockefeller’s ideas in Mr. Rockefeller’s current prose.”

Obama can’t be specific – he’s too corrupt and too far-left. He’s from Chicago!

emailnuevo on March 9, 2008 at 12:51 PM

O-busted.

O-bummer.

O-prah tell-all show.

O-back to hustings in anonymity.

profitsbeard on March 9, 2008 at 11:59 AM

O-bama!

Entelechy on March 9, 2008 at 12:59 PM

I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose gard…whoops, guess I did.

YES WE CAN!

Teddy on March 9, 2008 at 1:03 PM

Someone needs to get this information out there. Conservative media, I suppose. Because the MSM will do all it can to bury it.

Vyce on March 9, 2008 at 1:07 PM

The problme here is not the fact that the Clintons are secretative and shady; everybody knows that. It’s that the cult-like following of Obama actually expected a Chicago politician represented ‘change’.

michaelo on March 9, 2008 at 1:09 PM

Hope goggles are a b17(#.
Here comes an epic case of Political Coyote Syndrome.

ronsfi on March 9, 2008 at 1:18 PM

Obama just thinks the electorate are “naive and inexperienced”. Con job? Beginning to look that way.

jeanie on March 9, 2008 at 1:24 PM

Uh… did someone say that a person by the name of Ata was involved in this?? Ata, as in the 9/11 hijacker Ata?

Yet another dot connected and I don’t like the picture that I’m coming up with.

swampy on March 9, 2008 at 1:28 PM

Didn’t Obama see “Liar, Liar“?

Virus-X on March 9, 2008 at 1:29 PM

I hope John McCain has his people investigating these connections to the mob. I hope the GOP is investigating exactly where the 55 million just came from. I hope John McCain has the balls to use this information once the house has officially fallen on Hillary and her legs (sticking out from underneath the building) have been confirmed. Then and only then will I actually believe that Obama is on top of the ticket.

What is it with the love fest between organized crime (unions) and the DNC? What is it with the love fest between brutal murdering dictators and the DNC? What is it with the love fest between the American hating UN and all Liberals? Why is it that Clooney and Penn have openly embraced Hugo Chavez while denouncing America on a world wide stage? What the heck is going on with Democrats going to foreign soil and trashing America, only to return to America soil and recieve open arms and a hero welcome? What happened to the days when our soldiers returned home to American soil and received a “heroes welcome”? How far towards Socialism has this country moved in the past 50-60 years?

Keemo on March 9, 2008 at 1:29 PM

Since Obama is keen to divest himself of donations by Tony Rezko, when will he divest himself of his current house?

Th problem is not simply that Obama has acquired a $925,000 obligation as part of buying the house: an unexplained $300,000 discount on his house + effective control of the $625,000 lot (the yard to the house?).

The problem is also that the original offering was for $2.6million, an amount for which Obama simply could not qualify.

Someone, apparently the Reskos, used their influence to create the possibility for the Obamas to purchase the house (and an obligation).

So: in order to start coming clean, and lose this very problematic debt and obligation, when will Obama divest himself of his house?

Arbalest on March 9, 2008 at 1:34 PM

as Bill likes to say, “No Keep the cigar”.

FTFY

But, Oprah promised with Obama, “You witness a politician who has an ear for eloquence and a tongue dipped in the unvarnished truth.”

I guess underneath that varnish is a money trail.

moonsbreath on March 9, 2008 at 12:29 PM

Turns out it’s more of a stain than a varnish. Pale green.

BTW, Jane Hall is on Fox right now defending the media’s man crush on Obama. Kirsten Powers is dutifully propping up Clinton.

fourstringfuror on March 9, 2008 at 1:44 PM

Uh… did someone say that a person by the name of Ata was involved in this?? Ata, as in the 9/11 hijacker Ata?

Yet another dot connected and I don’t like the picture that I’m coming up with.

swampy on March 9, 2008 at 1:28 PM

Is that sarcasm, or are you insane?

Jaibones on March 9, 2008 at 1:48 PM

How long is the Rezko trial supposed to last? Past April 22?

Limerick on March 9, 2008 at 1:56 PM

During the 1972 campaign for president, Watergate was already percolating but not a full-blown scandal yet. There was a Herblock cartoon that came out in September that shows an elephant holding his breath underwater with “watergate” written on his side. The man above the water looking down (I can’t recall if it was supposed to be Nixon) was saying “keep holding your breath for two more months.”

Nixon was running against McGovern, so, short of knocking over a bank, he was going to be reelected. But, it all came back to destroy him, because he didn’t come clean, even after the election.

As others have said, Obama needs to come clean and take his chances. There are too many reporters that would love to be Woodward or Bernstein and break a gigantic story. If there is dirty laundry there, it will be found. Fortunately, there are six months before the Dim convention and 9 months before the election. Pleanty of time to out the “accidental Messiah.”

Mallard T. Drake on March 9, 2008 at 1:58 PM

This story comes from June 2007. I didn’t notice that when I first read the story.

Ed

Before you get all carried away and accuse the Chicago Kneepad Press of committing journalism, rather than their customary journalistic oral gratification, remember that it was:

- one guy,
- at one paper,
- 9 months ago, and
- followed up by no one, including himself.

You’re on your own here, Ed. Good luck.

Jaibones on March 9, 2008 at 2:00 PM

Uh… did someone say that a person by the name of Ata was involved in this?? Ata, as in the 9/11 hijacker Ata?

Yet another dot connected and I don’t like the picture that I’m coming up with.

swampy on March 9, 2008 at 1:28 PM

Um, that would be ATTA. If you are going to be sarcastic or speak tounge in cheek, use the /sarc tag, so you don’t appear like a loon.

Mallard T. Drake on March 9, 2008 at 2:00 PM

Obama has given funds back with a wink apology, not once, but twice..that is telling of the man’s lack of character

Pam on March 9, 2008 at 3:02 PM

Sound familiar?

“There is no controlling legal authority that says this was in violation of law.”

Seven Percent Solution on March 9, 2008 at 4:02 PM

He, probably, still smokes.

2Tru2Tru on March 9, 2008 at 4:26 PM

O-busted.

O-bummer.

O-prah tell-all show.

O-back to hustings in anonymity.

profitsbeard on March 9, 2008 at 11:59 AM

O-bama!

Entelechy on March 9, 2008 at 12:59 PM

O-bummer

NoFanofLibs on March 9, 2008 at 4:36 PM

O-bummer

NoFanofLibs on March 9, 2008 at 4:36 PM

NFoL, please note that profitsbeard had covered this already.

Entelechy on March 9, 2008 at 5:53 PM

Did someone shift the color of that Obama picture? He looks much greener than he really is! That’s dirty politics! I’m telling!
/sarc

shibumiglass on March 9, 2008 at 6:46 PM

great find and write up Ed.

Tark on March 9, 2008 at 7:16 PM

Is it just me or does anyone else think that it is Bullshit when politicians get caught with dirty money and give it to charity to make the problem null & void.

America1st on March 9, 2008 at 12:40 PM

It’s not just you.

Buy Danish on March 9, 2008 at 8:48 PM

It’s time to change that, methinks. We might want to wait for September, though.

Bob’s Kid on March 9, 2008 at 12:48 PM

I’d rather see it trickle a little at a time…death by a thousand cuts…particularly if he is beating HRC. If it all came out now, then the drive-bys could claim it’s all old news, and not cover it at all.

91Veteran on March 9, 2008 at 8:49 PM

Obama is so clueless that just reading the actual facts of the situation, that are so outrageous it comes across as though a parody from the Onion or something.

Chakra Hammer on March 9, 2008 at 9:35 PM

Change you can believe in

Dollayo on March 10, 2008 at 3:16 AM

I propose a new Obama campaign slogan:

“Hand me the money and I’ll give you change!”

moxie_neanderthal on March 10, 2008 at 7:32 AM

I question the timing.

AverageJoe on March 10, 2008 at 10:00 AM

No, this shouldn’t wait until September. The problem with waiting until September is that it takes time for enough people to hear about this, especially since the MSM will do its best to cover things up, and Obama might be able to squeak by with a bedazzled and ignorant electorate.

If these things are brought up NOW, and repeated by bloggers over and over, the MSM might have to cover the stories, and since the Dem primary campaign is still going, the Hillary campaign might latch on to these things to bring Obama down before it’s too late–for her. Since Hillary is not exactly squeaky-clean, there’s a risk in it for her, but is there anything to which a desperate Clinton will not stoop?

Sure, it’s easy NOW for Obama, who raised $55 million in February, to give Rezko’s measly $0.3 million to charity, but the point needs to be made that Obama got his start with Rezko’s money, and then keep digging for other connections, that Obama has also been bought, damaging his reputation for “new” politics as the same-old that’s been practiced in Chicago since 1968.

Can anyone trust a politician from Chicago? That goes for a certain Hillary Rodham, as well!!!

Steve Z on March 10, 2008 at 11:40 AM