Tony Rezko’s trial has hardly begun, and already Barack Obama has more questions to answer. Rezko faces multiple charges of corruption in federal court, in part regarding his influence in getting jobs for cronies in city and state jobs. Now it looks like a few of those jobs went to Obama staffers, including one currently on the presidential campaign:

Did Barack Obama use indicted campaign fund-raiser Tony Rezko as a conduit to get jobs for people in Gov. Blagojevich’s administration?

The question arises from a list of 39 people Rezko’s lawyers said in a court filing he urged Blagojevich to give state jobs. …

Among those on the list were two people who appear to have Obama links and a third who’s now an Obama presidential campaign staffer.

But did the names come from Obama? His campaign staff’s short answer: Don’t know — but it’s possible.

Hardly a ringing denial. The Obama team must have learned something from the NAFTA Dance — don’t make categorical denials that can blow up in your face later. Instead, they probably hope to disarm this through a mix of downplaying and admissions.

Wait until the testimony begins and the rest of the Rezko machinations come to light. This could get ugly very quickly for Obama.

UPDATE: Or perhaps not. Read Rick Moran’s primer on the Chicago Way based on a John Kass column in today’s Chicago Tribune:

You know the movie “The Untouchables” in which Connery played the only Chicago cop in city history with a Scottish accent? “He [ Al Capone] puts one of yours in the hospital, you put one of his in the morgue…” says Connery’s cop. “That’s the Chicago Way.”

Perhaps.

Chicago’s mob — we call it the Outfit — was slapped last summer by federal prosecutors in the Operation Family Secrets trial that convicted Outfit bosses, and cops and put political figures in with them. We’ve had our chief of detectives sent to prison for running the Outfit’s jewelry-heist ring. And we’ve had white guys with Outfit connections get $100 million in affirmative action contracts from their drinking buddy, Mayor Richard Daley, who must have seen them pink and white and male at some point.

That’s the Chicago Way.

Rick is, ah, less than optimistic that the national media will figure this out.

UPDATE II: NZ Bear has launched Rezkorama — a great aggregator for all of your Rezko needs!

Tags: Barack Obama