Obama requested million-dollar earmark for … his wife’s hospital? Update: And for fundraiser’s company?

posted at 9:33 pm on March 13, 2008 by Allahpundit

Audacity, baby.

Dan Riehl notes, via Amanda Carpenter, that in the list of earmarks he requested, $1 Million was requested for the construction of a new hospital pavilion at the University Of Chicago. The request was put in in 2006.

You know who works for the University of Chicago Hospital?

Michelle Obama. She’s vice president of community affairs.

Follow the link to Geraghty for the punchline; it’s essential, but I don’t want to rip off his whole post. There has to be more to this story, doesn’t there? If it’s as bad as it looks, Obama would be nuts to have let McCain goad him into disclosing it, and he’s given no signs thus far of being nutty. (Well, almost none.) Granted, it gives him some momentary leverage over Hillary, but at what price?

Reserve judgment until tomorrow. I can’t believe he’d be this corrupt. Exit question one: Per the Byron York quote in Geraghty’s item, isn’t Michelle Obama’s raise sort of … a kickback? Or does that depend on the earmark having actually been approved? Exit question two: When do we get to see those state senate earmarks? Any goodies for the missus in the mix there?

Update: More hope and change, although not as damning as the earmark for the hospital given that General Dynamics is the largest military contractor in the world. Favoritism or just another senator throwing a little business GD’s way?


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bloggless on March 13, 2008 at 11:41 PM

Aw F’it….the fruits of the “system” are ripe, aren’t they?

dmann on March 14, 2008 at 12:04 AM

and please explain how community relations were so improved in one year it justified a 200% pay increase

She never got any “pay increases”. She was promoted to a VP position and started receiving a salary comparable to that of other VPs.

freevillage on March 14, 2008 at 12:07 AM

I guess this is when the Obama wife became proud of her country. These people belong in jail.

Buddahpundit on March 14, 2008 at 12:15 AM

bnelson44 on March 14, 2008 at 12:03 AM

Sorry, it is so very hard sometimes!

dmann on March 14, 2008 at 12:19 AM

Time to pull the handles.

dmann on March 14, 2008 at 12:20 AM

She never got any “pay increases”. She was promoted to a VP position and started receiving a salary comparable to that of other VPs.

freevillage on March 14, 2008 at 12:07 AM

LOL. What a coincidence. They didn’t even have to rewrite the job description. Let’s see, how did that promotion timing work again?

a capella on March 14, 2008 at 12:27 AM

freevillage on March 14, 2008 at 12:07 AM

How long have you lived in the United States?

I’m not going away….

Seven Percent Solution on March 14, 2008 at 12:30 AM

I’m not going away….

I am. Night.

freevillage on March 14, 2008 at 12:33 AM

She never got any “pay increases”. She was promoted to a VP position and started receiving a salary comparable to that of other VPs.

freevillage on March 14, 2008 at 12:07 AM

Naive post of the year…

right2bright on March 14, 2008 at 1:05 AM

Compared to John McCain’s Keating S&L scandal (which involved his wife and father in law’s company), this is peanuts.

Let’s hope the Maverick tries to bring Obama’s minor financial dealings up.

alphie on March 14, 2008 at 1:10 AM

Atlas Shrugs, led by “No Surrender” Geller, is all over Obama too. Apparently he has given $22,500 to his “church” Trinity United Church of Christ and dedicated a book to his pastor, among other obamanations.

Gee, I think Client #9 would be preferable to any more “hope” and “change”… of course there’s McCain-Geller or McCain-Malkin!!

HotAirJosef on March 14, 2008 at 1:25 AM

Per the Byron York quote in Geraghty’s item, isn’t Michelle Obama’s raise sort of … a kickback? Or does that depend on the earmark having actually been approved?

Chronology isn’t very important in political kickback cases. It’s a big dance. You can cheat someone once and get away with it–once–but after that, no one wants to dance with you.

daryl_herbert on March 14, 2008 at 1:29 AM

daryl_herbert on March 14, 2008 at 1:29 AM

While we are making (oh so enjoyable) colorful analogies, if serious grinding is involved the dance may lead to a relationship.

dmann on March 14, 2008 at 1:44 AM

I’m just stunned that “freevillage” has claimed to be a Romney then McCain supporter. Yet he has gone to the mat to protest the “dirty” treatment of Obama–as if the Messiah has done nothing wrong.

Rezko? “He never did it!” This Earmark thing? “That’s a sheer coincidence!” Obama’s as pure as the driven snow…. and Freevillage is a repub? *snort*

Obama wants hope and change all right: change into Lenin’s land.

Vanceone on March 14, 2008 at 4:10 AM

Ah, the new politics of change.

So much like the old politics of corruption that it’s impossible to tell the difference.

AZCoyote on March 14, 2008 at 4:45 AM

AZ Coyote, that’s politics.

politics, like a rose by any other name…

maverick muse on March 14, 2008 at 7:21 AM

Can he resign now to save us the trouble of impeaching him later?

This guy would make a good underboss, I mean Hillary VP.

NoDonkey on March 14, 2008 at 8:20 AM

How many of those schools got an earmark?

oldguy on March 13, 2008 at 10:10 PM

That’s a very good question.

In a story written by a Democrat Media Consultant we learn details about Another earmark Obama is involved with:

As a state senator, Obama wrote letters to the city and state backing Rezko’s successful bid to get $14 million in tax money to build senior citizen housing that wasn’t in Obama’s district.

I never knew that it was not for his district, so this is news to me.

Off topic, but something that has not been discussed, how about this factoid?:

I worry that Obama will get pounded by the GOP for being one of only three state senators to vote against making it a crime for convicts on probation or bail to have contact with street gang members

.

That speaks to his famous “judgment” and his national security creds, which are a big fat zero.

Buy Danish on March 14, 2008 at 8:35 AM

Naive post of the year…

:) Just loving it…

Anyway, tell me please what do you think is roughly the size of the University of Chicago’s budget.

freevillage on March 14, 2008 at 9:10 AM

I’m just stunned that “freevillage” has claimed to be a Romney then McCain supporter. Yet he has gone to the mat to protest the “dirty” treatment of Obama–as if the Messiah has done nothing wrong.

Do you think Obama is a serial rapist?

freevillage on March 14, 2008 at 9:11 AM

Hope for Change. Lotsa,lotsa change. Yeah…well not so much change, but greenbacks. Lotsa, lotsa greenbacks. Hope for greenbacks. Yeah…That’s the ticket!

gozips on March 14, 2008 at 9:14 AM

freevillage on March 14, 2008 at 9:11 AM

Why do you? You’re the one who brought it up to try to bait someone. And by the way the Chicago Tribune story states that she was already a VP when the raise was given. Wish I could get a 200% raise to organize a cookie sale or a blood drive!

flytier on March 14, 2008 at 9:28 AM

If John McCain ever put in an earmark for a hospital where CIndy McCain worked, Jim Ruttenberg and his crack NY Times investigating the McCain campaign would be all over the story. But since this is Obama, who is supported by every NY Times reporter, the story will never see print in the Times, not even in the back section. I wrote to the Times reporters asking why there was so much scrutiny over McCain but nothing about Obama. The reporters wrote back saying that they had already covered Obama in great detail and there was no scandal or conflucts of interest involving either Obama so there was nothing for the Times to report on. The Times reporters told me that if there is ever anything substantiated about either Obama doing something even remotely suggesting a conflict of interest, the Times would cover it. The answer to me ended by saying that so far nothing has been found to suggest that the Obamas do anything for money or to gain political support.

Larraby on March 14, 2008 at 9:36 AM

But since this is Obama, who is supported by every NY Times reporter, the story will never see print in the Times, not even in the back section.

Luckily nobody reads NYT anymore. Everybody watches O’Reilly. Will he pass on the story as well?

freevillage on March 14, 2008 at 9:41 AM

To be fair, you probably should note in the column that the earmark failed. I can’t find what bill it was attached to anywhere, but it could very well be that he attached it to something he knew would fail either to kill the bill or to satisfy his wife without actually giving her anything, such as attaching the earmark to a bill that’d let illegal immigrants get automatic citizenship through gay marriage.

Typhonsentra on March 14, 2008 at 9:50 AM

Dear free village
Maybe your village is free. But there are no free rides in Congress. He did for the hospital and the hospital did for his wife and they neutered the ethics committee long ago, so who cares. He’s from Chicago not the North Pole. And maybe this is a lot of why Michelle O. is so ashamed of America: even a Yale and Harvard Law grad can’t make a comfortable living without becoming a part of the big bribe machine. Near as I can tell she took the job, did what was expected of her and then focused all anger and blame about a screwed system on whitey and the Great Satan.

snaggletoothie on March 14, 2008 at 9:51 AM

And Larraby, if you’d actually read the Times you’d see they go after and attack Obama probably harder than they do any other candidate. They already have a story up about the hospital earmark, and just last week they published this article on the front page:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/09/us/politics/09obama.html

Boy, that sure sounds like a publication that’s carrying water for a candidate, eh? And then you have to ignore how a new column (Over a dozen so far) is posted about the Rezko trial, even when it has nothing to do with Obama. But yeah, their endorsement of him does prove a bias. Oh wait…

Typhonsentra on March 14, 2008 at 10:02 AM

Yet to presume that any grant issued to Stanford by the Federal Government

Grants != earmarks. I hope that gets cleared up for you before you apply for the former.

I’ve won federal grants, I’m a current federal contractor, I attended and taught at a university in UofC’s tier, and as a consultant I’ve had the public affairs department of a major university medical center (UPMC Health System) as a client. And I’m a nearly-40-year-old native citizen, for whatever the heck that’s worth.

That should satisfy the credentialists among us, I hope.

The smell coming off this earmark is noticeably worse, but only barely so, because of the family connection. It clearly represents the old politics Obama professes to have transcended.

Here’s my problem: The UofC is one of the greatest educational institutions in human history (it was better in the 70s but let’s not quibble — I’m an economist so I’m biased, but there you are). It has no trouble raising money, it has a huge endowment and a great reputation and very talented researchers and grant-writers. It didn’t need the earmark. And honestly, if Obama thinks an already-wealthy school can make more of $1 million than the other fine and deserving less-well-off schools in Chicago, it makes me wonder what the rest of his distributional preferences look like.

DrSteve on March 14, 2008 at 10:06 AM

And loath as I am to respond to alphie in any way, you and Bob Bennett need to chat about Keating. Bennett maintains the inclusion of McCain was window-dressing, and he ought to know. McCain’s contrite about whatever part he played, and I’m sure that’s all you need to sling your innuendos about, but Bennett is a significant problem for your “argument.”

DrSteve on March 14, 2008 at 10:12 AM

It has no trouble raising money, it has a huge endowment and a great reputation and very talented researchers and grant-writers. It didn’t need the earmark.

But I thought the earmark was so significant, people got VP positions for getting it.

freevillage on March 14, 2008 at 10:23 AM

Try to keep track of your interlocutors, OK? I don’t recall having made that argument.

DrSteve on March 14, 2008 at 10:28 AM

Try to keep track of your interlocutors, OK? I don’t recall having made that argument.

Uhm, no, it’s not ok. This is a thread where a narrow point is being debated, which has to do with a proposed causal connection between that earmark and Michelle’s promotion.

If we agree that the connection is non-existent, I’ll be happy to talk about earmarks separately.

freevillage on March 14, 2008 at 10:35 AM

I see the “kickback” reference in the HA lead-in now, so I get your point about it being an official theme of the thread. I agree, that’s too strong a charge by a good bit. I’d be satisfied stopping at the point where one makes the case that it’s some mighty nuanced change he’s offering.

DrSteve on March 14, 2008 at 10:44 AM

I have said it repeatedly he’s the last on my list of presidential candidates to support.

freevillage on March 14, 2008 at 10:57 AM

Frankly, what bothers me the most is that any Senator (or Congressman) can hide his freaking earmarks. The idea of eliminating them is never going to work, but at least they should be transparent, and they must be voted on.

But yeah, taking the Obama’s word that things were never discussed is not going to work with me.

Buy Danish on March 14, 2008 at 11:41 AM

I’m sure FreeVillage can explain this to us.

In January of 2005 Barack Obama became a freshman United States senator. In March of 2005 Mrs. Obama received a promotion at her place of employment, the not-for-profit University of Chicago Hospitals. Prior to the promotion, she was a hospital administrator earning $121,910 annually. Her promotion provided her with a title — Vice- President for Community and External Affairs — and a salary of $316,962.

There is no coincidence here. There is absolutely no doubt that Mrs. Obama received a salary increase of $195, 052 simply because her husband had become a senator. If one denies the causal relationship between the two events, then one has decided to allow their politics to cloud their judgment. The position of Vice-President for Community and External Affairs did not exist prior to the creation of the position for Mrs. Obama, and now that Mrs. Obama has resigned from the position in order to campaign for her husband, the hospital has not seen the need to fill the open position.blockquote>

windansea on March 14, 2008 at 2:04 PM

I have said it repeatedly he’s the last on my list of presidential candidates to support.

freevillage on March 14, 2008 at 10:57 AM

What a crock. I am tired of trolls. If you’re going to lie, then try doing it well.

This isn’t a bunch of your mentally limited friends who live in suspension of disbelief.

drjohn on March 15, 2008 at 4:09 AM

The media is treating the Obamas like they treated the Clintons back in the 90′s. They’ve had a full year to vet them but they didn’t bother to. Now the media is left with “their” candidate.

The Dhimmicrats should have had ’08 in a walk but they’ve managed to lose yet again. McCain may not deeply appeal to us conservatives but he has VERY broad appeal amongst the Dhimmi’s. He’ll win bigger than Bush ever did.

Mojave Mark on March 15, 2008 at 11:20 AM

Of course in a Tribune interview, Obama doesn’t say he shouldn’t have asked for it – only that he should have asked Dick Durbin to make the request instead. Change you can believe in!

gstevens97 on March 15, 2008 at 12:13 PM

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