Judicial Watch Uncovers Documents Detailing Suspicious Illinois State Senate Earmarks by Barack Obama
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained documents detailing earmarks submitted by Barack Obama on behalf of his family and political supporters during his time in the Illinois State Senate. The documents were obtained under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. Among the projects detailed in the documents uncovered by Judicial Watch:
- Blue Gargoyle: Barack Obama helped secure a $25,000 grant for the Blue Gargoyle in August 2000, an organization that was headed by Capers C. Funnye, Jr., Michelle Obama’s first cousin once removed.
- Garden to Nowhere: Judicial Watch uncovered evidence of a $100,000 grant obtained by Obama for a garden project in Englewood, Illinois, spearheaded by Obama’s former campaign volunteer Kenny Smith. The "Englewood Botanical Garden" project never happened. In fact, according to the Chicago Sun Times, "today the garden site is a mess of weeds, chunks of concrete and garbage." State records show that $65,000 of the grant money obtained by Obama went directly to Smith’s wife Karen. Smith also wrote an additional $20,000 check to a construction company owned by Karen D. Smith, K.D. Contractors which is no longer in business.
- Community of St. Sabina: In July, 2000, Obama helped secure a $100,000 grant for the Community of St. Sabina, a church headed by Father Michael Pfleger, a controversial and radical Catholic priest and Obama campaign contributor. Pfleger made news in March, 2008, for mocking then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton from the pulpit of Trinity United Church of Christ, formerly run by Obama’s personal pastor the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
- FORUM: Run by Yesse Yehudah, Barack Obama gave a $75,000 grant to the organization in 2000. Although Yehudah ran against Obama in a 1998 election, five people from FORUM donated $1000 to Obama’s campaign after receiving the grant. FORUM also contributed another $5,000 to help pay Obama’s debt after failing to be elected to congress in 2000. In 2002, the State sued Yehudah for failure to account for hundreds of thousands of dollars he received from Obama’s grant.
"Barack Obama’s earmark for his wife’s cousin, Rabbi Funnye, raises ethical questions. Some of these earmarks show that Barack Obama may have abused his office in the Illinois State Senate," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
In addition to documents regarding Obama’s state senate earmarks, Judicial Watch also recently obtained records detailing the nature of Obama’s controversial relationships with domestic terrorist William Ayers and convicted felon Antoin "Tony" Rezko. To access all Obama-related documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, visit https://www.judicialwatch.org.