National Review has tried to investigate the public relationship between Barack Obama and former Weather Underground radical William Ayers at the University of Illinois, but has run into a stonewalling University of Illinois. The university refuses to release the records of the project that would detail the extent of collaboration between Obama and Ayers, despite the public nature of the university. The Chicago campus blames the donor of the Annenberg Challenge for the delay:
The University of Illinois on Tuesday refused to release records relating to Barack Obama’s service to a nonprofit group linked to former 1960s radical activist William Ayers.
The university’s Chicago campus said the donor of the records that document the work of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge has not yet turned over ownership rights to the material.
The university is “aggressively pursuing” an agreement with the donor, and as soon as an agreement is finalized, the collection will be made accessible to the public, the university said in a one-paragraph statement.
How likely will it be that the university and the donor will reach an agreement between now and the election? I’d assume a very low percentage for success. The donor him/herself told the university that they didn’t have the rights to release the information, supposedly concerned about Social Security numbers getting released. That’s absurd; universities know how to redact private information before releasing records to the public.
Why is this important? Obama served as the board chair from 1995 to 1998 and remained on the Annenberg board until 2001. Previously, Obama has minimized his relationship with Ayers as just another academic in the neighborhood with whom he briefly served on the Woods Foundation board. However, Obama worked directly for Ayers at Annenberg for years, which Ayers started as an effort to remake American education.
Ayers started off in politics as a domestic terrorist. He plotted to explode a bomb at the Pentagon, and wound up on the run for years while the FBI botched its investigation. His wife, Bernardine Dohrn, also aided and abetted domestic terrorists and may have had material involvement in thefts and a robbery that resulted in the murder of a policeman. Neither Ayers nor Dohrn have ever expressed any remorse for their crimes; in fact, in 2001 Ayers told the New York Times that he regretted not doing more as part of the Weather Underground, and in 2007 both Ayers and Dohrn repeated their leftist revolutionary schtick:
This is what Barack Obama called mainstream on his website.
For a man with such a meager track record, Obama and his friends sure seem anxious about anyone checking into it for his experience — and his associations. A public university operating a public project should provide transparency on these issues, and not stall until after the election.