FBI raids office of Obama ally in Illinois; Update: Obama earmarks for Will County

posted at 9:35 am on October 3, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The FBI conducted a raid on the offices of Larry Walsh, Will County executive and former Illinois state senator, as part of a probe into corruption tied to earmarks and lobbyists.  The raid comes after the FBI met with the county auditor to investigate his complaints about one of his aides taking money from lobbyists for favorable treatment.  Walsh endorsed Barack Obama this year, and Obama supported Walsh in his current position:

The FBI on Wednesday raided the county offices of a former Illinois state senator who is a poker-playing buddy of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama.

According to Chicago authorities, the FBI visited the offices in Joliet, Ill., of Will County executive Larry Walsh, a longtime friend of Mr. Obama’s, and his chief of staff Matt Ryan.

Mr. Walsh, who served in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2005, was endorsed by Mr. Obama in his county executive election bid. With the support of some of Mr. Obama’s U.S. Senate volunteers, he easily defeated incumbent Republican Joseph Mikan.

Will County auditor Steve Weber confirmed that his office had been asked by the FBI to assist in an investigation, but he did not elaborate on the specifics.

No one will be terribly surprised to find corruption in Illinois politics, and this looks like garden-variety backscratching, at least for the moment.  Weber suspects that Walsh and/or Ryan have been getting kickbacks from the lobbying firms hired by Will County to pursue federal earmarks.  If true, it demonstrates the corrupting influence of Congressional pork all the way through every level of government.  When millions of dollars can be had, people will throw thousands at the people who can get it for them.  It’s an entire industry in and of itself, and that’s not good for truly representative government.  It’s also terribly inefficient; instead of wasting all that money in getting taxes to Washington and then sending it back to local communities, it would be much cheaper for everyone if the money just stayed local in the first place.

So far, this particular bit of corruption doesn’t appear to have any direct connection to Barack Obama, but that’s not really the point.  Obama endorsed Walsh and played poker with him on a regular basis.   In the 2004 election, faced off against Alan Keyes in a walkover, Obama sent his campaign volunteers to work for Walsh’s election.  It makes a farce out of Obama’s claims to be a reformer.  He didn’t do anything in Illinois to reform politics, a place that needs much more reform than Washington.  Instead, he played poker with people who later appear to have committed the kind of cronyism and backscratching he now criticizes — and worse yet, helped them win elections.

I doubt this has anything to do with Tony Rezko and his apparent decision to start cooperating with authorities, as this raid appears to have come from the county auditor’s work.  However, it fits well with the overall impression of politics in Illinois and the lack of any reform effort by those who succeeded in winning elections there.

Update: Barack Obama may have provided the grist for this scandal.  Jennifer Rubin notices several Obama earmark requests for Will County in his disclosure:

  • In 2006, Obama requested that Will County receive $1.3 million to support its Flood Studies for Unincorporated Will County.
  • In 2006, Obama requested $800,000 for the Will County Sheriff’s Office Wireless Communications Technology Upgrades.
  • In 2006, Obama requested $1,953,331 for Will County’s Ridgewood Water and Sewage Project.
  • In 2005, Obama requested $2 million for the Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois, to establish a Center for Academic and Community Learning, which is designed to address the significant educational needs of the less advantaged in the Will County region by providing academic assistance not only for students on campus but also for residents of the surrounding communities.
  • Another reference appears to relate to the Will County Health Department’s mental health program which I am informed got another $1.95 million.

This would tend to tie Obama to Walsh a little more closely in an earmark-kickback scheme, if indeed this turns out to be true.


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Comments

I’m sure it’s just a Distraction from What Really Matters.

Spanglemaker on October 3, 2008 at 9:37 AM

HACK!

joepub on October 3, 2008 at 9:38 AM

Statement coming soon from Obama, “This is not the Larry Walsh I knew”. Works for every situation.

Tommy_G on October 3, 2008 at 9:39 AM

Dick Cheney, the “most dangerous VP in American history” sent them in there to destroy Obama and steal this election … or something like that.

Tony737 on October 3, 2008 at 9:39 AM

Obama has a lot of crooked friends.

jgapinoy on October 3, 2008 at 9:40 AM

Raaaaacism!!!

hillbillyjim on October 3, 2008 at 9:40 AM

October surprise?

grapeknutz on October 3, 2008 at 9:41 AM

Waiting for the shrieks of ‘Racism!!!!!!!!!!!’.

4shoes on October 3, 2008 at 9:41 AM

This connection is tenuous as best. Is Palin corrupted just because she comes from the same state as (and endorsed) Stevens?
Stick to Wright and Ayers.

Trent1289 on October 3, 2008 at 9:42 AM

Hey could someone with the smarts put together a comparison of the Dow Jones avg vs. Obambi’s moves in the poll…. I’m starting to notice a trend…. Obambi moves away in the polls the Dow tanks…. or am I just seeing things due to my own bias here……

Randy1968 on October 3, 2008 at 9:42 AM

It is October after all…is it not. One can only hope for the change. Heh

Over.

1GooDDaDDy on October 3, 2008 at 9:42 AM

Doncha think Mr. Obama is too busy keeping the oceans from rising to be bothered with this trivial pursuit?

hillbillyjim on October 3, 2008 at 9:42 AM

This won’t make Michelle’s kids happy!

BTW, I have to admit I get excited as a schoolkid when I get to say this.

promachus on October 3, 2008 at 9:43 AM

Statement coming soon from Obama, “This is not the Larry Walsh I knew”. Works for every situation.

Tommy_G on October 3, 2008 at 9:39 AM

Followed by: This is just another distraction by the McCain camp from the real issues like McCain is Bushes twin and in no way is helping Michelle’s Children.

cntrlfrk on October 3, 2008 at 9:44 AM

He was an acquaintance, like Ayers, but is not longer…at this rate Obama’s only friends will be, Biden and Michelle.

right2bright on October 3, 2008 at 9:44 AM

Friends Of Obama?

FOO?

NoFanofLibs on October 3, 2008 at 9:46 AM

The conspiracy theorist in me thinks this might all be going like clockwork.

misslizzi on October 3, 2008 at 9:48 AM

Waterboard the bastard.

hillbillyjim on October 3, 2008 at 9:49 AM

And just where is FOX News? C’mon, people! Start swinging!

-T

The Therapist on October 3, 2008 at 9:50 AM

THis is not the FBI errrrr Tony Rez, errrrrr Larry uh uhh uhhh Walsh that I new. Oh and I dont look like the others guys who’s offices were raided and or those other dudes on the dollar bills.

HoosierCon on October 3, 2008 at 9:51 AM

MSM will not even look at this

custer on October 3, 2008 at 9:52 AM

Somebody better be jacking up that bus a little more….

hillbillyjim on October 3, 2008 at 9:55 AM

MSM will not even look at this – Custer

But if Palin fires a cop …

Tony737 on October 3, 2008 at 9:55 AM

How long are the powers to be going to allow the Obama campaign and their support of it continue to lead to the dismantling of their political machine? Are they willing to lose it all to get the Chosen One in the White House?
At some point the Illinois politicians and Chicago cronies may have to pack it in or at least throw a big bone to the feds to alleviate the pressure. Can you say William Ayers?

Just A Grunt on October 3, 2008 at 9:56 AM

Waterboard the bastard. – Jim

HA!

Tony737 on October 3, 2008 at 9:56 AM

Alan Keyes? Alan Keyes?

Isn’t he the BLACK man that over 900,000 Republican RACISTS voted for ED? A man who is MORE Black than Obama.

How could that POSSIBLY BE?

originalpechanga on October 3, 2008 at 9:56 AM

I don’t think Tony Rezko is going to do any real talking unless and until McCain wins, and his exit strategy disappears.

RBMN on October 3, 2008 at 9:57 AM

MSM will not even look at this – Custer

But if Palin fires a cop …

Tony737 on October 3, 2008 at 9:55 AM

Your obviously racist conjecture will not be tolerated.

hillbillyjim on October 3, 2008 at 9:57 AM

Friends Of Obama?

FOO?

NoFanofLibs on October 3, 2008 at 9:46 AM

Foo Fighters!!!

carbon_footprint on October 3, 2008 at 9:57 AM

Wait a tic,did I read right,Hopey/Changey gambles
at card playing,now playing poker is A-Okay,but
Obama is a gambler,forget Hope,Barack is going
to gamble with your vote!

Oh ya,I hope the FBI,checks that Liberals office
freezer,too,just in case!!!a hem.

canopfor on October 3, 2008 at 9:59 AM

Yet another reason to not pass the wall street bail out bill.
$700 Billion will buy a lot of graft and corruption.

rockhauler on October 3, 2008 at 10:00 AM

Friends Of Obama?

FOO?

NoFanofLibs on October 3, 2008 at 9:46 AM

Too short. Actually “Friends Of Obama’s Leftist Sheep”.

FOOLS… ;-)

Yoop on October 3, 2008 at 10:01 AM

Nothing to see here, folks. Move along…move along.

ManlyRash on October 3, 2008 at 10:02 AM

Does Obambi have any friends who haven’t been indicted?

JimK on October 3, 2008 at 10:03 AM

It’s time for Obama to throw Larry Walsh under the bus.

eigafan on October 3, 2008 at 10:05 AM

Does Obambi have any friends who haven’t been indicted?

JimK on October 3, 2008 at 10:03 AM

He doesn’t have many friends that don’t have some reason to be indicted.

RBMN on October 3, 2008 at 10:07 AM

MSM will not even look at this

custer on October 3, 2008 at 9:52 AM

Of course they will. As we speak they are probably crafting a segment with Katie Cowlick titled, “Is Bush Using the FBI to Attempt to Influence the Election?” and Barry O’ will never be mentioned.

cntrlfrk on October 3, 2008 at 10:08 AM

The FBI on Wednesday raided the county offices of a former Illinois state senator who is a poker-playing buddy of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama.

i am sorry, i just cant as hard as i try, invision obama playing poker.

trailortrash on October 3, 2008 at 10:08 AM

I just want to know who’s job it is to cleanup under Obama’s bus?

They are doing Yeoman’s work.

cmptrnerd on October 3, 2008 at 10:08 AM

Keep moving – nothing to see here.

Fuquay Steve on October 3, 2008 at 10:08 AM

Does Obambi have any friends who haven’t been indicted?

JimK on Oct 3,2008 at 10:03AM.

JimK: Now that,would be a serious news piece!!haha

canopfor on October 3, 2008 at 10:09 AM

Obama, later today:

“I’m afaid em-m-m, there is uh-h-h no more room under em-m-m-m, ah-h, uh-h-h the bus. So, hence forth, uh-h-h-h, all other problematic ah-h-h persons shall be thrown under em-m-m Biden’s bus so that he can em-m-m, ah-h-h blame it on Bush/Palin. Yes, that’s it, ah-h-h, em-m-m, it’s Bush/Cheney/McCain/Palin’s fault.

Now, I have to ahh-h-h, go because I have to em-m-m, get a hunting certificate and visit ah-h-h-h, em-m-m, gun show.”

Yoop on October 3, 2008 at 10:11 AM

Felons United for Barack’s Almightly Reign.

Aka FUBAR.

saint kansas on October 3, 2008 at 10:12 AM

Pals of Obama?
POO!

Casper the Friendly Host on October 3, 2008 at 10:13 AM

Friends Of Obama?

FOO?

NoFanofLibs on October 3, 2008 at 9:46 AM
Foo Fighters!!!

carbon_footprint on October 3, 2008 at 9:57 AM

Or…. Partners of Obama?

POO?

Disciple of Obama? if yah had two… they’d be…

Doo Doo?

Romeo13 on October 3, 2008 at 10:15 AM

We needed this four weeks ago. Unless something very, very drastic happens, it’s too late for the Chicago shadow to creep up on Obama.

njcommuter on October 3, 2008 at 10:16 AM

Be scared Obama be very scared.

thmcbb on October 3, 2008 at 10:18 AM

Aka FUBAR

LOL!

tru2tx on October 3, 2008 at 10:18 AM

There’s a better chance of the media showing Barack using the toilet in the morning than there is of them running this story nationally.

NoDonkey on October 3, 2008 at 10:25 AM

Obama: “Poker? I didn’t even know her!”

LibTired on October 3, 2008 at 10:28 AM

I think Barry has got some more stuff to worry about. It appears one of his supports, a Hollywood type, has allegedly been a union buster. Big Labor will not be happy.

Tyler Perry’s Alleged Role As Union Buster Is Becoming Big Obama Embarrassment

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on October 3, 2008 at 10:31 AM

Too short. Actually “Friends Of Obama’s Leftist Sheep”.

FOOLS… ;-)

Yoop on October 3, 2008 at 10:01 AM

Heh.

Well…………I’ve finally figured out what “Change” means.

Come
Help
A
.
.
.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on October 3, 2008 at 10:35 AM

Friends Of Obama?

FOO?

I pity the FOO! (-Mr. T)

The Monster on October 3, 2008 at 10:39 AM

people are beginning to engage.
obbie doesn’t add up.
Mc will begin to surge.

jimmer on October 3, 2008 at 10:39 AM

uh….uh….uh… there’s uh…..nothing uh… to see!

grapeknutz on October 3, 2008 at 10:39 AM

i am sorry, i just cant as hard as i try, invision obama playing poker.

trailortrash on October 3, 2008 at 10:08 AM

I am sorry, I just can’t as hard as I try envision Obama playing president.

Tommy_G on October 3, 2008 at 10:40 AM

I could easily envision Obama playing poker.

The best poker players can lie with a straight face, which is Obama’s greatest talent.

Steve Z on October 3, 2008 at 10:46 AM

How many t**ds do there have to be in the punch-bowl, before people open their eyes?

or smell the stink

franksalterego on October 3, 2008 at 10:48 AM

I could easily envision Obama playing poker.

The best poker players can lie with a straight face, which is Obama’s greatest talent.

Steve Z on October 3, 2008 at 10:46 AM

Everyone has tells…..everyone!

grapeknutz on October 3, 2008 at 10:48 AM

Obama will embrace his friend and say they are friends. That may work once. But for all of the ‘friends’ he has who are in trouble with the law ripped off people, or who are racist, I don’t think that’ll work this time.

madmonkphotog on October 3, 2008 at 10:49 AM

This would tend to tie Obama to Walsh a little more closely in an earmark-kickback scheme, if indeed this turns out to be true.

I dunno. Most of those earmarks seem uncontroversial, with the possible exception of the education grant, which looks like more community activism and is the only private entity receiving funds.

This is the sort of earmark that I put in the controversial column as it is a questionable use of taxpayer dollars, but it didn’t go to Will County:

Obama Requested $900,000 For The Women’s Sports Foundation’s Go Girl Go Chicago Initiative.

Buy Danish on October 3, 2008 at 11:11 AM

This is not helping Michelle Obama’s children.

lorien1973 on October 3, 2008 at 11:24 AM

He was an acquaintance, like Ayers, but is not longer…at this rate Obama’s only friends will be, Biden and Michelle.
right2bright on October 3, 2008 at 9:44 AM

And I wouldn’t be too sure about Michelle if The Most Holey One loses.

either orr on October 3, 2008 at 11:28 AM

They need to get that 700 billion pork package passed today so McCain can get untracked and start firing with both barrels. He will fall flat on his face if he doesn’t fully engage and time is of the essence. He needs to take advantage of the voter anger over the failures leading to the Fannie and Freddie mess. John, forget the Senate fraternity rules and the bipartisanship crap. Make them famous like you promised or you deserve to lose because you can’t be trusted.

a capella on October 3, 2008 at 11:33 AM

As a Chicago native, who in his youth was involved in the Cook County Young Democrats, I beg to differ with the Ed’s early caveats. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Obama was at least knowledgeable about the scheme. You have to understand that in many cases Chicago politicians don’t get a piece of every action. They just help out their friends. Obama is at least an accessory if not an actual participant in the alledged crime.

Obama is a Chicago warhealer who knows how to play the game

jerryofva on October 3, 2008 at 11:38 AM

If true, it demonstrates the corrupting influence of Congressional pork all the way through every level of government. When millions of dollars can be had, people will throw thousands at the people who can get it for them. It’s an entire industry in and of itself, and that’s not good for truly representative government. It’s also terribly inefficient; instead of wasting all that money in getting taxes to Washington and then sending it back to local communities, it would be much cheaper for everyone if the money just stayed local in the first place.

Preserving the American regime will require checking the list of their Congress’s enumerated powers and returning the powers the Congress has taken from the states and people. Revoking the 17th Amendment and returning the election of Senators to state legislatures would probably lead naturally to a better balance between the states and the “federal” government.

Kralizec on October 3, 2008 at 11:44 AM

Well…………I’ve finally figured out what “Change” means.

Come
Help
A
.
.
.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on October 3, 2008 at 10:35

N ?
Get
Elected

Fuquay Steve on October 3, 2008 at 11:48 AM

I could easily envision Obama playing poker.

The best poker players can lie with a straight face, which is Obama’s greatest talent.

Steve Z on October 3, 2008 at 10:46 AM

Everyone has tells…..everyone!

grapeknutz on October 3, 2008 at 10:48 AM

Apparently, the secret to lying is the ability to believe the lie. So an unreadable poker player would be one that can disregard what his hand actually is, and play as if it was something different.
On the other hand, that may get you in real trouble when someone calls.

Count to 10 on October 3, 2008 at 11:54 AM

All these FACTS are meaningless- Obama’s numbers go up.

Obama tells the moronic majority of American Idol/Reality TV watching idiots that he will do all things for all people, like cure cancer and raise the dead- Obama’s numbers go up.

I for one am going to enjoy watching the Dems take the White House and BOTH Houses of Congress. I’ve already got my list of Dems that are supporting this farce. After a year of blaming Bush for their disasterous socialist agenda; the morons who voted for this nightmare will be in no mood to here anymore excuses. That is when I will go into full fledged Obama Derangement Syndrom. I will make it a point to blame every single problem in my life and in the world on BARRY HUSSEIN OBAMA. And I will seek out those Dems I know and BITCH AND WHINE repeatedly and to no end. I will make them sick to death of being on the defensive, and it will make me feel ooooooh sooooooo good!

FiveWays on October 3, 2008 at 11:57 AM

Preserving the American regime will require checking the list of their Congress’s enumerated powers and returning the powers the Congress has taken from the states and people. Revoking the 17th Amendment and returning the election of Senators to state legislatures would probably lead naturally to a better balance between the states and the “federal” government.

Kralizec on October 3, 2008 at 11:44 AM

I think we would be better off if Senators where essentially governors’ ambassadors to the federal government, serving at their pleasure. At least there would be less bridges named after senators.

Count to 10 on October 3, 2008 at 11:58 AM

Have you noticed Al Sharpten and Jesse Jackson have been kind of quiet?

mindhacker on October 3, 2008 at 12:04 PM

Everyone has tells…..everyone!

grapeknutz on October 3, 2008 at 10:48 AM

Yeah, you can tell when Obama is lieing…

His lips are moving…

/rimshot

Romeo13 on October 3, 2008 at 12:07 PM

Mr. Walsh……NO SOUP FOR YOU!

try again later on October 3, 2008 at 12:11 PM

Have you noticed Al Sharpten and Jesse Jackson have been kind of quiet?

mindhacker on October 3, 2008 at 12:04 PM

Too quiet…either they have been dissed, or told to stay away.
And like good house boys, they are doing what they have been told to do.
DNC speaks, and it is “yes massar, whatever you say massur, you the boss massar”

right2bright on October 3, 2008 at 12:12 PM

And the wheels of the bus go round-and-round ….

Conservative_SAHM on October 3, 2008 at 12:53 PM

Friends Of Obama?

FOO?

NoFanofLibs on October 3, 2008 at 9:46 AM

FOO-barrred!

Badger40 on October 3, 2008 at 1:11 PM

I’m starting to wonder if there’s ANYTHING that Obama has touched that isn’t corrupt…

dominigan on October 3, 2008 at 1:22 PM

Trent1289 on October 3, 2008 at 9:42 AM

Cute comment, but you need to actually read through the earmarks. The connection is a lot closer than the analogy you tried to pass off…

dominigan on October 3, 2008 at 1:24 PM

Obama can just replace the FBI Director with Bill Ayers. No problem.

JellyToast on October 3, 2008 at 2:28 PM

What irritates me the most is that there’s a competitive or formula grant program for virtually every one of those purposes — meaning they couldn’t compete successfully for the grants or the formula didn’t indicate a real need.

DrSteve on October 3, 2008 at 3:05 PM

jerryofva – the term is ‘ward-heeler.’

Yeah, I figure Obama fits the profile.

(I used the word ‘profile’, does that make me a racist?)

JEM on October 3, 2008 at 7:27 PM

BTW, I have to admit I get excited giddy as a schoolkid school girl when I get to say this. — promachus on October 3, 2008 at 9:43 AM

FIFY

Hogman on October 3, 2008 at 9:02 PM

Just one honest journalist looking into the truth about Obama; that’s all I ask…just one. Anyone? (echo)

SKYFOX on October 4, 2008 at 9:52 AM