Hillary's Connection to Rezko

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the one thing you can say for hillary is that there probably isn't a major contributor in the country that she hasn't approached.  no one is too sleazy, too corrupt, too criminal for her -- as long as they can contribute.

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Obama/Rezko: It Comes Down to Judgment [UPDATED X2]

Update [2008-1-24 17:19:0 by susanhu]: Second update (the first is at the end of the piece): This is a screenshot of the Chicago Sun-Times a couple days ago that shows a photograph of the indicted Tony Rezko and Barack Obama schmoozing at an event. You'll note that Sen. Obama has his hand on Mr. Rezko's shoulder.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usHere's Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown today in "Time for Obama to come clean: To dismiss Rezko as 'somebody who I knew' just isn't going to cut it":

Most troubling to me is how Obama keeps handling this, a continuing lapse in judgment that leaves me wondering if there's more here than meets the eye instead of less.

The Chicago Tribune's Frank James comes to the same conclusion in the newspaper's The Swampland blog: "Obama's Rezko problem; it's about judgment:

[T]he Obama-Rezko relationship that's even more troubling for Obama, because it goes to the heart of his campaign's argument about his judgment being superior to the other candidates, is the personal real-estate deal the two men did.

It is critical to note that both columnists work for Chicago's two major newspapers, which have covered Barack Obama, the indicted Tony Rezko, and their frequently intersecting 17-year relationship like no other media have, except ABC News's Brian Ross.

It's also noteworthy that nobody is accusing Obama of doing anything illegal -- although the Sun-Timesbroke the story on Saturday that Obama is indeed the "unnamed political candidate" in the 73-page indictment filed by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald accusing Rezko of extortion, fraud, and the shakedown of an Illinois pension fund.

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Obama "Unnamed Candidate" in Rezko Indictments

[editor's note, by susanhu] In response to some thoughtful e-mail remarks that I received, I have changed the title. Let me add that what bothers me most about this entire story is that Obama and his law firm represented Rezko's interests in low-income housing developments. Rezko was widely accused of being a "slumlord." Yet Obama, all while taking donations and benefiting from Rezko's business, denies that he ever heard that Rezko was a slumlord. I find that hard to believe.

Do you recall "Obama, His Lobbyists and His Cronies," my January 11th piece on ABC News's reports on Barack Obama's long associations with -- and innumerable financial, legal and real estate ties -- to Tony Rezko, "who goes on trial February 25th for 'extortion and fraud charges, which include shakedown allegations involving an Illinois pension fund'"?

ABC News's Brian Ross said, at the time, that Obama was not named in the 73-page indictment. Today, however, the Chicago Sun-Times -- "Sun-Times Exclusive: Obama surfaces in Rekzo's federal corruption case" -- reveals that:

Source confirmed Obama is the unnamed "political candidate" referred to in document which outlines case against Rezko

The Sun-Timesreports:

Obama is not named in the Dec. 21 court document. But a source ... confirmed that Obama is the unnamed "political candidate" referred to in a section of the document that accuses Rezko of orchestrating a scheme in which a firm hired to handle state teacher pension investments first had to pay $250,000 in "sham" finder's fees. From that money, $10,000 was donated to Obama's successful run for the Senate in the name of a Rezko business associate, according to the court filing and the source.

Rezko, who was part of Obama's senatorial finance committee, also is accused of directing "at least one other individual" to donate money to Obama and then reimbursing that individual -- in possible violation of federal election law.

A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald declined to comment.

Obama ... has moved to distance himself from Rezko since his longtime friend and supporter was indicted in October 2006. After news reports that Obama had engaged in a real estate transaction with Rezko's wife at a time Tony Rezko was known to be under investigation, the senator called the episode "boneheaded" and "a mistake." ... [Yeah, right. Below, I'VE POSTED BACKGROUND on Obama's home purchase tied to Resko and his wife.]

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