View Full Version : Illinois politics soils Obama

03-21-2008, 08:29 AM
Dirty politics is an art form in Illinois. Old ones die off or go to prison, new ones are raised up in the system.


Obama's Rezko ties deeper than land deal

December 23, 2006

BY FRANK MAIN Staff Reporter
In addition to a land deal, Sen. Barack Obama’s ties to indicted dealmaker Antoin “Tony” Rezko include an internship the senator provided the son of a contributor at the request of Rezko, an Obama spokesman confirmed today.

John Aramanda served as an intern for Obama for about a month in 2005, said Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs. His father is Joseph Aramanda, a Rezko business associate who was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal corruption case against Rezko. Aramanda has contributed $11,500 to Obama since 2000, Gibbs said.

“Mr. Rezko did provide a recommendation for John Aramanda,” Gibbs said. “I think that it’s fairly obvious that a few-week internship is not of anything of benefit to Mr. Rezko or any of his businesses.”

The revelation of the internship comes after Obama acknowledged a mistake in buying property from Rezko in January 2006 — a deal that enlarged the senator’s yard in the Kenwood neighborhood on the South Side. The transaction occurred at a time when it was widely known Rezko was under investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office.

“It was a mistake to have been engaged with him at all in this or any other personal business dealing that would allow him, or anyone else, to believe that he had done me a favor,” Obama — a likely presidential candidate — told the Sun-Times in November.

Rezko was indicted in October for allegedly trying to collect nearly $6 million in kickbacks from government deals and trying to shake down a Hollywood producer for $1.5 million in campaign contributions to Gov. Blagojevich.

Obama and Rezko have been friends since 1990, and the Wilmette businessman has raised as much as $60,000 in campaign contributions for him.

After Rezko’s indictment, Obama donated $11,500 to charity — the amount Rezko contributed to the senator’s federal campaign fund.

Gibbs said he did not know whether Obama was considering returning any contributions from Aramanda given his alleged role in the federal corruption cases against Rezko and former Teachers Retirement System board member Stuart Levine.

Aramanda is identified as “Individual D” in Rezko’s indictment. And when Levine pleaded guilty in October, Aramanda again was listed as “Individual D.”

Aramanda was identified by the Sun-Times as “Individual D,” who allegedly received a $250,000 kickback tied to a scheme to steer lucrative state pension deals to firms and consultants that donated to Blagojevich. Aramanda is not specifically named or charged with criminal wrongdoing in the court papers. He could not be reached for comment Saturday.

Aramanda has contributed $11,500 to Obama's campaigns since 2000, Gibbs said. He gave $1,000 toward Obama’s run for Congress against Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago) in 2000; $500 to Obama’s Senate campaign in 2003 and $10,000 to his Senate campaign in 2004, Gibbs said.

Gibbs said John Aramanda served in Obama’s Capitol Hill office from July 20 to Aug. 26, 2005, during which he received an $804 cost-of-living stipend. Aramanda was one of nearly 100 interns who worked for Obama in 2005, Gibbs said.

beer bacon
03-21-2008, 08:31 AM
This is truly the smoking gun. What a scoop!

Ultra Peanut
03-21-2008, 08:40 AM
This is it! This is the scandal to end all scandals!

03-21-2008, 09:05 AM
Reading the title I thought we would have a discussion about the Republican Governor and other scandals. Those are cases with verdicts, not innuendo.

03-21-2008, 09:09 AM
The Clinton's will stop at nothing to get their presidency.

03-21-2008, 09:16 AM
Growing up in Illinois this is not a revelation.

03-21-2008, 09:17 AM
The Clinton's will stop at nothing to get their presidency.


03-21-2008, 09:21 AM
December 23, 2006

Here's some more recent reporting on this... Here's the start of a LOOONG interview with Obama on this topic.



This is an edited transcript of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's interview Friday with Tribune reporters and editors.

Obama's opening statement:

So what I want to do, if this is OK with you guys, I want to start just by talking about my house purchase and Tony Rezko because that's something that I know you guys have editorialized on, suggesting that we haven't provided you guys enough information. I would love to have an exhaustive conversation about all aspects of it and ensure that by the time we leave here today, you may not be happy with all my answers—but at least you can't say that I have not answered the questions. Is that fair?

Obama: And in preparation for this meeting, what I instructed my attorney to do and my staff to do, and Michelle [Obama's wife] and I also did, was just to go through everything pertaining to it.

We've prepared a document . . . Flynn [McRoberts, Tribune deputy projects editor] has it. There ya go. So we've got a—it's got all the documents related to our side of the transaction. And, as well as an e-mail from the sellers confirming some key points that I'll be making during the course of my initial presentation and that we can follow up any of those issues later.

So here's what I'd like to do is start off by just laying out the context of my relationship with Tony Rezko so that people understand how the house purchase came about and how the lot purchase came about. I first met—and by the way, one last point I want to make on this: Many of these things are points that have been raised in previous stories and have been asked and we felt had been answered, but I want to just reiterate it once again and then we can fill out anything else.

I first met Tony Rezko when I was still at law school, or at least I had just graduated from law school. He had two partners, a guy named Dan Mahru and David Brint. They had started a real estate company called Rezmar. They contacted me while I was the president of the Harvard Law Review and asked if I was coming back to Chicago and was thinking about future employment, would I be interested in potentially getting involved in development.

And so when I was back in Chicago, and I don't recall whether it was during the summer between, you know, my second and third year [in law school], or whether it was after I had graduated, or whether it was just visiting Michelle, I met with them.

They were, didn't talk to me about a specific job but explained what they were doing in terms of development. Because I had been a community organizer, I think that's what part of what prompted their interest because they were doing a lot of affordable housing work and work with community development corporations.

I had a relatively brief conversation, maybe 45 minutes, and ultimately declined to go into development, but that was the first time I met Tony Rezko.

Fast-forward a little bit, I did not have a lot of interactions with Tony at that point. I was working as an associate at a law firm. There may have been interactions with my law firm and some of the development partners of Rezmar because they would often partner with not-for-profits and we had a small transactional practice in the law firm that specialized in representing not-for-profits—you know, church-based organizations that were doing community development.

I don't recall exactly how many times at that point I had met Tony Rezko, but I don't think at that point I would have considered him a friend. He was an acquaintance.

When I decided to run for the state Senate, the way that I decided to run for the state Senate was I had been helping Alice Palmer, who was then running for Congress. She had asked me to help. She was giving up her seat, and I was, um, I got involved in her campaign, and some people asked me if I'd be interested potentially in taking her seat.

Tony Rezko, I think, had provided some assistance to her at that time, so I think that may be the first time where we started talking about politics. He agreed to support my Senate campaign. He was an active developer in, on the South Side, and he'd, so he had some relationships with some of the aldermen in the area that I did not have relationships with and he introduced me to them. It's hard to imagine, given the kind of fundraising I'm doing now, but the total amount that I raised for that first race was $100,000.

And I think it's fair to say, and this is an estimate, that Tony Rezko probably raised $10,000 to $15,000 of that. I don't, I can't say precisely because I no longer have those records.

But I think that's probably a rough guesstimate. As a consequence of that support, we became friendlier, and I probably had, I would probably talk to him maybe five to six months a year. We might have breakfast or we might have lunch.

At that time I knew him as a businessman who also had an interest in politics, but did not know the details of his various business interactions.

When I ran for Congress, I asked him if he'd be interested in supporting me, as I asked a number of people all across the city who I thought might be interested in the race. It was a difficult decision for him because he had a relationship with Bobby Rush. But he nevertheless agreed to support me over Bobby Rush.

And I would say in my congressional race, I raised about $600,000 total. I can't say exactly how much he raised but I'd say, you know, he was on my finance committee along with a number of other people. My guess is he might have raised $50,000 to $75,000. That would be my guess. And, obviously, I appreciated his support. I lost that race as all of you have recorded, uh, amply.

More at link.

03-21-2008, 09:31 AM
Again Obama's words and the facts are not in alignment.

beer bacon
03-21-2008, 09:46 AM
Again Obama's words and the facts are not in alignment.


03-21-2008, 09:48 AM
somehow, he failed to say $250,000 anywhere in there....

03-21-2008, 10:54 AM
somehow, he failed to say $250,000 anywhere in there....

If you go to the link he further details the amount Rezko donated.

03-21-2008, 11:07 AM
The Clinton's, McCain's, Obama's and anyone else who has a shot at it will stop at nothing to get their presidency.