The RNC didn’t waste time after the announcement of the verdicts convicting Tony Rezko of corruption and fraud yesterday. Within 24 hours, they have launched a new ad highlighting the links between Barack Obama and his real-estate partner and fundraiser. Titled “Obama’s Money Man”, it reminds people that Obama had plenty of information available to exercise better judgment on his associate:

As I wrote earlier this morning, Obama’s notion that the convicted Rezko “isn’t the Tony Rezko I knew” makes Obama either a liar or an incompetent. Well before entering a partnership on a real-estate venture with Rezko, Chicago newspapers had reported on a number of allegations of corruption and criminality against Rezko. It stretches the imagination to the point of incredulity to think that Obama and his staff in Illinois didn’t read the Chicago newspapers and knew nothing of the federal investigation on Rezko that had been made public well before Obama’s election to the US Senate.

Rezko raised $250,000 for Obama during the course of his political career. Rezko’s criminal convictions reflect his lawbreaking in part through his fundraising activities for other Democrats, notably Rod Blagojevich, who may not be Governor for very much longer as a result of this conviction. As Stephen Spruiell makes clear, part of Rezko’s illegal activities put at least $10,000 into Obama’s coffers. He also details how Obama helped Rezko package one of the deals in which Rezko bought property to qualify for public funds while working as an attorney in a Chicago law firm.

Rezko wasn’t just some guy on the cocktail-circuit for Obama or a campaign donor. Rezko was a close associate on several levels. Assuming that Barack Obama knew nothing of Rezko’s criminal business practices, how adept could Obama be?