Friday, June 06, 2008
Rezko-Obama Scandal Round-Up
Antoin "Tony" Rezko, 52, showed no emotion as the jury delivered a mixed verdict that found him guilty of scheming with the government's star witness to get kickbacks out of money management firms wanting state business, but acquitted him of charges that included attempted extortion.
The jury delivered its guilty verdict on 16 of 24 counts after a nine-week trial.
Rezko has known Obama since he entered politics and was involved in a 2005 real estate deal with the Democratic presidential candidate[.]
Antoin Rezko, once a top Obama fund-raiser, guilty of wire fraud and money laundering, among other charges. Prosecutors had alleged that Rezko (pictured) had used connections with state politicians and appointees to arrange kickback schemes.
The Republican Party sent out an email to reporters, entitled “Rezko: Obama’s Longtime Friend and Money Man,” documenting Obama’s history with Rezko. “Obama has maintained a friendship with a now convicted felon,” the email said. The Republican Party also released a statement after the verdict that read, in part, “Today’s verdict and Obama’s friendship with Rezko raise serious questions about whether he has the judgment to serve as president.”
Obama’s association with Rezko dates to 1990, when Rezko offered Obama, then a Harvard law student, a job in his low-income housing-development firm. Obama turned down the job, but Rezko was among his earliest supporters when Obama ran for the Illinois state Senate in 1995.
In 2005, Obama bought his Chicago home on the same day Rezko’s wife purchased an adjacent lot from the same sellers. Obama later bought part of that property. The home-purchase deal came a year before Rezko’s indictment, but after it was known he was facing federal scrutiny. Obama has said the deal was a mistake because it created the appearance of impropriety.
From Chicago Sun-Times:
If elected president, Democrat Barack Obama will not pardon Tony Rezko for his corruption convictions or reduce his prison time, the senator’s campaign said Thursday.
That decision comes after a federal jury convicted Rezko on 16 of 24 corruption counts and after Republicans quickly seized on the verdict with an immediate round of internet-based advertising questioning Obama’s past personal and professional ties to Rezko.
When asked by the Chicago Sun-Times about the possibility of clemency, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said the senator would not act to wipe away Rezko’s felony convictions or commute any prison time he might serve as a result of Wednesday’s verdict.
An old friend and fund-raiser of US Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama was found guilty Wednesday of using his political clout to demand kickbacks and win government contracts.
Antoin "Tony" Rezko was convicted 12 counts of fraud, two of aiding and abetting bribery and two of money laundering in a case which has dogged Obama during his quest to secure the party's presidential nomination.
[Obama] has come under fire for entering a land deal with Rezko when it was widely known that the developer was under federal scrutiny, something the senator later called a "boneheaded" move.
From National Review.com:
...will [Obama] return the land that he bought from Rezko?
I can hear it now. "But Jim, this isn't a donation from Rezko to Obama," because the senator bought the land for a lot more than it was worth — "an appraiser valued the slice of land Rezko sold at $40,500, Obama decided it would be fair to pay Rezko substantially more: one sixth of his original purchase price, or $104,000."
Rezko "widely known to be under federal investigation at the time." Paying substantially more than the land was appraised creates the appearance of a $64,000 payment to a person who, if found guilty, could discuss his longtime association and business dealings with a U.S. senator with federal law enforcement.
Talk about bad timing. Barack Obama’s friend and fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko was found guilty today of mail fraud, wire fraud, soliciting bribes, and money laundering in connection to a federal investigation into political corruption in the state of Illinois. Rezko now faces sentencing on 16 of 24 counts, some of which carry punishments of up to 20 years in prison.
It should be stated at the outset that Obama was not involved in any of the illegal acts a Chicago jury has found Rezko guilty of committing. But Obama is guilty of maintaining a close relationship with Rezko long after it had become clear that Rezko’s primary business was buying and selling political influence for personal gain.
[Rezko's history] indicates that Obama is the kind of Democrat who cares a great deal about securing the funding for liberal programs like subsidized housing, but very little about what happens to the money after that.
Even if Obama can claim plausible deniability about the deteriorating shape of Rezko’s slums, he faces a more difficult challenge in explaining why he entered into a real-estate deal with Rezko after the Chicago papers had run over 100 stories about the clouds gathering over Rezko’s head. When the Obamas were looking for a new house in the summer of 2005, Rezko helped them buy their dream home by purchasing an adjoining lot they could not afford, then selling them a strip of the land on which they wanted to build a fence.
Here's a little exercise in political science: interchange Rezko's name and substitute Jack Abramoff and the same type of deals on a home, real estate, fund raising and land purchased for a price well below the assessed value, mix it in with a Republican politician, and see if the Insane Liberal Clown Posse would be having a field day pitching out accusations of "guilt by association." Why don't they treat Obama the same as they would any Republican? Because he's The Affirmative Action Candidate. And you can always count on the Left to demonstrate the most egregious double standards and hypocrisy.
Obama says he won't pardon Rezko? If you believe that, I have some real estate for sale in Chicago and I'll sell it to you well below the going price.
Besides...can the country afford a president who takes action on any issue and then later, realizing he made the wrong decision chalks his mistake up to being "a boneheaded move"? I though this was the refrain from the Insane Liberal Clown Posse about President George W. Bush, that they were tired of "boneheaded moves" - yet they have selected the most "bone-headed" candidate out of a pool of candidates who actually possessed qualifications and have far more years in public-government service experience.
The Rezko-Obama scandal isn't going to die down, nor should it. The appearance of impropriety - and this Rezko-Obama scandal - is far too great. Obama is a crook. The evidence is out there. It will surface before November. Count on it.
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