NOVEMBER 07, 2006
A popular Democrat senator, who plans to run for president in 2008, has admitted having financial ties to a shady political fundraiser known for shaking down companies that want to do business in his state.
Illinois Senator Barack Obama and corrupt businessman Antoin Rezko have known each other for years, but a recently exposed real estate deal between the men led the popular Senator to apologize for his ties to Rezko, who also happens to be a big contributor to Obama’s political campaigns.
Rezko has been indicted with plotting to squeeze millions of dollars in kickbacks out of investment firms seeking state business and for obtaining a $10.5 million from a large company through fraud and swindling a group of investors.
Not only has Rezko and his companies donated thousands of dollars to Obama’s Senate campaigns, Rezko held a fundraiser for Obama in 2003 and the two men entered a real estate deal that Obama called a regrettable mistake only after a major newspaper exposed the transaction.
The Senator paid Rezko for a portion of a lot adjacent to a $1.65 million home he had just purchased. The idea, according to Obama, was to create more space between the house and the other lot, which happened to be owned by Rezko and his wife. Obama maintains that he has always held himself to the highest ethical standards and assured his constituents that he has not been involved with Rezko in any legislative work whatsoever or any government activities of any sort.
Obama can try to distance himself from this crooked businessman all he wants, but he can’t erase strong ties that date back years. One columnist skeptically asks how does a former state senator who jettisoned to the position of U.S. Senator buy a $1.6 million home?
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