Obama met Auchi through Rezko in 2004

posted at 5:15 pm on April 14, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The first really explosive revelation of the Tony Rezko trial came out today, and it will have Barack Obama playing defense yet again. Obama had insisted that he never met Rezko’s shady financier, Iraqi-born Nadhmi Auchi, but a key witness put the two of them together in a 2004 fundraiser. It raises all sorts of questions about how Rezko and Obama raised money for Obama’s Senate bid that year:

When Tony Rezko held a reception at his home for Iraqi-born billionaire Nadhmi Auchi on April 3, 2004, White House hopeful Barack Obama and his wife were also there, Stuart Levine testified just now at Rezko’s trial.

Auchi is the man who provided Rezko a $3.5 million loan that Rezko did not disclose to the court — resulting in his January arrest.

Mr. and Mrs. Obama were there, were they not?” Rezko lawyer Joseph Duffy asked. Yes, sir,” Levine said.

Obama and his aides have said Obama has no recollection of ever meeting Auchi.

Rezko invited Levine to the reception after the two met up with each other during a family vacation in Puerto Vallarta. Rezko had to leave early to arrange for the reception, Levine testified. So Levine offered to rent a larger jet and fly Rezko’s wife and children back to Chicago. That night, they all attended the reception.

Who’s Nadhmi Auchi? I wrote about his connection to Rezko in February. Auchi, one of the wealthiest men in Britain, has a long history of suspicious financial dealings with — among others — Saddam Hussein. He defrauded the French petroleum company Elf and also the UK’s National Health System. Reportedly he served as a spy for MI-6 until the American invasion of Iraq, when the Brits deported him to France to face fraud and corruption charges.

Auchi came to the US supposedly to fund Rezko’s ambitions in the pizza business. He gave Rezko millions of dollars in loans at the same time Rezko and Obama went in together on that real-estate venture that allowed Obama to save money on his current $1.65 million residence. Three weeks after receiving the loan, Rezko was able to partner with Obama to buy two adjoining properties that the seller insisted had to be sold at the same time.

Obama has stated that he never met Auchi. Now it looks like Auchi was buying more than shares in a pizza venture, and that Obama once again has been less than honest about his Rezko ties. Over the last year, Obama has changed his story repeatedly about Rezko’s importance to his political career, with the total of Rezko donations going from $50,000 over eleven years to an admission by Obama just as the trial started last month that the contributions totaled over $250,000.

What will the story be now?

Update: He may have left himself an out in his Chicago Sun-Times interview. He recalled attending a party with a lot of people he didn’t know, but had no recollection of Auchi being one of them:

I have to say I do not recall meeting them. It’s been reported that a dinner Tony hosted at the Four Seasons, I don’t have the exact date, so I don’t know whether it was the before November ’04 when I hadn’t been elected but had already won the primary or whether it was after the election, in which I was …

Tony called and asked if I could stop by because he had a number of friends that he had invited to dinner and he wanted mew to meet them. I told him that I would be happy to come by if my schedule allowed it. And it did. Although I couldn’t, I think, stay for dinner, so I remember meeting a bunch of people who I had not met before. I frankly don’t remember what their names were. Business was not discussed at the meeting. It was more of a social meeting and they asked me questions about the senate race and so fourth and so on.

The only problem with that is that Rezko threw the party in Auchi’s honor. The reception specifically focused on Auchi.


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I’m Shocked!

bopbottle on April 14, 2008 at 5:20 PM

“I mis-spoke when I said I never met him.

And I’m bitter about that.”

Mr. Bingley on April 14, 2008 at 5:22 PM

I’m glad the Democrats have superdelegates to protect them from unvetted candidates… oh, wait!

bnelson44 on April 14, 2008 at 5:23 PM

Sorry about these fickle Chicago pols when it comes to sports….Hillary-Cubs? no! Yankees

and now…

“The Illinois senator said he has been a Steelers fan since he was 10 years old. He said they are a “favorite” team of his, though he has “to root for the Bears when those two teams are playing.”

LtE126 on April 14, 2008 at 5:23 PM

Does anyone trust Obama to make good choices for the Supreme Court?

Chakra Hammer on April 14, 2008 at 5:24 PM

Obama’s going to need a lozenge after trying to talk his way out of this one.

RushBaby on April 14, 2008 at 5:25 PM

I can already hear the crickets in the MSM chirping loud and clear.

kirkill on April 14, 2008 at 5:25 PM

What will the story be now?

Uh . . . it was late at night and he was tired when he said that? No, that one’s already been used.

How about: Stop picking on me because I’m different from you, you gun-toting, Bible-thumping, racists!

AZCoyote on April 14, 2008 at 5:28 PM

Another example of the integrity that America could have with an Obama presidency.

Mike Mose on April 14, 2008 at 5:30 PM

AZ, it’s gun-toting, Bible-thumping, REDNECK, UNEMPLOYED, IMMIGRANT-HATING racists, thank you very much!

JustTruth101 on April 14, 2008 at 5:33 PM

No Allah – I think he did NOT leave himself an out -

In that SunTimes interview he recollected he had dinner at the Four Seasons – which if I recall correctly is a hotel chain, November 2004 -

Levine testified that Rezko had a dinner at his Wilmette HOME and Auchi and Obama were there, April 2004 -

I think Obama may have gaffe’d big by admitting Auchi MAY have been at the Four Seasons – cuz he definitely met him at Rezko’s home. Maybe he met him – twice.

Enlightened on April 14, 2008 at 5:37 PM

Ahh gee…. just when he was feeling bitter about things.

bloggless on April 14, 2008 at 5:39 PM

First, a secret trip to Pakistan in 1981. And now this. What a day.

faraway on April 14, 2008 at 5:40 PM

AZ, it’s gun-toting, Bible-thumping, REDNECK, UNEMPLOYED, IMMIGRANT-HATING racists, thank you very much!

JustTruth101 on April 14, 2008 at 5:33 PM

Hey – he feels your pain, and is trying to make your life better, er less bitter.

SARCASM

Rick on April 14, 2008 at 5:40 PM

Deja-vu all over again. Rezco is morphing into Jim McDougal. Auchi is morphing into Muktar Riady. Who’s going to play Charlie Yah Lin Trie? Or Johny Chung?

iurockhead on April 14, 2008 at 5:42 PM

What will the story be now?

Obama: “That depends on what your definition of “meet” and/or “spoke with” is.”

ThePrez on April 14, 2008 at 5:42 PM

From now on whenever one of the zombies at school asks me how excited I am about OBAMA!, I have the perfect reply. In my finest southern drawl I will just tell them that I’m one of them thar gun-toting, bible-thumping racists that’s so bitter ‘n all…and I just can’t vote me no homey.

JustTruth101 on April 14, 2008 at 5:46 PM

Oh jeez. He’ll say he’s been going to Rezko’s for 20 years ansd still doesn’t know the players or their game.

So I’m thinking Obama is just plain stupid. He can’t remember the last 20 years of going to church, when he goes to church he doesn’t listen to the sermons, no matter how loud the preacher’s yelling, when he goes to dinner he can’t remember the guests, he’s not sure if his daughters are going to get knocked up or full of STD’s by the time their 12 or 13, and the rest of us are bitter, back country inbreds clinging to the Church of the NRA.

Yeah – I soooooo want him to be the President.

Enlightened on April 14, 2008 at 5:51 PM

Enlightened on April 14, 2008 at 5:37 PM

Very nice catch!

nyrofan on April 14, 2008 at 6:01 PM

Why do you guys keep looking at the past? It’s the future you bitter, gun tote’n religious fanatics.

brtex on April 14, 2008 at 6:01 PM

Why did Obama make his secret trip to Pakistan?

Who funded the trip?

faraway on April 14, 2008 at 6:07 PM

A friend of mine and his family visited my family this weekend and I, as I often do (!!!), talked a little politics. (obtw, we are all in the greater Los Angeles area)

He came over here from Mexico when he was about 10 yrs old. Great guy. Speaks Spanish, of course, but has no accent I can detect when speaking English. Hard working, great family man. Knows that Cesar Chavez was against illegal immigration. (even though his own Father didn’t know that) The kind of guy you would love to have for a neighbor.

Anyway, like many people who are busy and working hard for their families, he doesn’t have the time to get the real story about what is going on “out there”.

He had never heard anything about Tony Rezko.

This is what we are up against and this is why we are where we are today as a nation.

There are a lot of good people out there who haven’t been reached.

We may need to do it one at a time. I know for sure that he learned more in an hour this weekend than he would or had learned in the last year of this election cycle.

We all have to do our part outside of these forums, otherwise we are just talking to ourselves.

The liberal trolls who post here are a lost cause anyway, so they don’t count.

TheCulturalist on April 14, 2008 at 6:21 PM

Ouchi!

Igor R. on April 14, 2008 at 6:39 PM

Hard times for Obama lately. The best part is all of it ‘has legs’.

petefrt on April 14, 2008 at 6:57 PM

Good lord, this is getting sickening. Just what the country needs; an habitual liar with a terrible memory, no life experience and a shallow intellect. Who will the Democrats run next . . . Gumby?

rplat on April 14, 2008 at 7:35 PM

Gumby?

rplat on April 14, 2008 at 7:35 PM

again? no way, he had his shot

TheCulturalist on April 14, 2008 at 7:49 PM

TheCulturalist on April 14, 2008 at 6:21 PM

I agree. I told an Obama supporter two days ago about McCain’s decision not to accept early release from the POW camp. She had no idea.

mikeyboss on April 14, 2008 at 9:21 PM