PrestoPundit

OBAMA — CORRUPTION’S BEST FRIEND

Posted by PrestoPundit on 08/21/2008

IN CHICAGO:

After Rezko’s 2006 indictment on unrelated
federal corruption charges, Obama denied unequivocally that he’d ever
helped the man: “I’ve never done any favors for him.”

That’s simply false. Rezko was a genius of corporate welfare who
enriched himself at taxpayers’ expense, both legally and illegally, via
his multiple political connections. Yes, he went to others for the
illegal deals that landed him in prison. But Rezko depended on Obama
when he wanted legal access to the state treasury. The arrangement was a far cry from Obama’s image of “change and hope.”

It’s impossible to know Obama’s motives. But several of his
official acts benefited Rezko, who in turn raised some $250,000 for
Obama’s campaigns.

In October 1998, Obama wrote city and state officials, urging them
to give Rezko $14 million to build an apartment complex outside of
Obama’s state Senate district. The Chicago Sun-Times noted last year
that Obama’s request included $855,000 in “development fees” for Rezko
and for another developer, Allison Davis, who happened to be Obama’s
old law-firm boss. Obama’s spokesman said it was just a coincidence
that the state senator wrote letters to obtain millions of dollars for
his two longtime friends.

In fact, Obama was a dependable ally of subsidized developers in
the Legislature, giving Rezko and others broader help as well. In “The
Case Against Barack Obama,” I identify and parse six housing bills with which Obama was closely involved. A few examples:

* In 2001, Obama cosponsored a bill allowing developers to sell state tax credits to others and pocket half of the proceeds.

* In 2002 and 2004, he was chief cosponsor of a bill to authorize a
rent-subsidy fund giving “grants . . . directly to developers” of
low-income housing. Seventy percent of the money was earmarked for the
Chicago area.

* Obama cosponsored the Illinois Housing Initiative Act of 2003,
which required the governor to develop a plan for more low-income
housing and “provide[d] for funding for housing construction and
rehabilitation and supportive services.”

* In 2003, Obama voted for the Affordable Housing Planning and
Appeal Act, which required Illinois municipalities to make 10 percent
of their housing units “affordable” (by definition, this included
subsidized housing). This forced 46 communities just outside of Chicago
to create more than 7,000 new “affordable” units – a huge boost in
demand for area developers. The bill also provided loopholes for
developers to circumvent local ordinances and regulations.

After voting for this measure (it passed narrowly), Obama then
cosponsored a new bill that moved up its implementation by more than a
year.

These and the other Obama-backed bills helped make millionaires of
Rezko and other slum developers at taxpayers’ expense. The developers –
including his former law boss and an adviser to his current campaign –
reciprocated, together giving and raising hundreds of thousands of
dollars for Obama’s campaigns.

Notice how the money goes in a circle.  And remember, one part of that circle was Obama’s own back pocket.

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