September 19, 2011

Obama at Center of Chicago Corruption Scandal

September 19, 2011. Chicago. While it’s probably a class X felony or a terrorist act to accuse the President of the United States of criminal activity whether it’s correct or not, this column DOES NOT DO THAT. Please leave the ATF at home. This column simply places President Obama at the center of a known, accused and convicted political crime ring. The fact that President Obama appears to be the center hub in a wagon wheel of corruption and criminal activity is a result of the company the President keeps, if not his questionable actions and activities.

President Obama would probably like to forget his early days in the rough and tumble Chicago Democratic Machine

Your author warned this column’s readers years ago that the future President Barack Obama wasn’t the saint and savior naïve Americans longed for. If anything, the future President was just another product of the notoriously corrupt Chicago Democratic Machine. So it should be no surprise to find out that President Obama finds himself at the center of criminal activity in his hometown of Chicago.

In most criminal investigations, it helps to follow the money. In this particular chain of events, one only needs to follow the Chicago Sun Times articles, one of Chicago’s few independent newspapers.

In August 2004, America was introduced to Barack Obama when he delivered one of the most memorable addresses in American political history to the Democratic nominating convention. Let’s delve a little deeper into the President’s activities leading up to that moment.

In 1992, young Mr. Obama graduated from Harvard Law School. It was there that he met and developed a strong friendship and political alliance with a fellow student and basketball pal, Eric Whitaker. It’s Eric Whitaker who is today getting President Obama ever closer to the crimes and convictions of an ever shrinking circle of political partners.

As if protected and guided by powers from above, young Barack Obama accomplishes a lifetime of social and political advancement in a matter of only months. Almost immediately upon graduating from Law School, Obama finds a low level home in the Chicago Democratic Machine where he joins tens of thousands of other wanna-be Chicago politicians. Before the end of 1992, Obama marries his boss Michelle, becomes a professor at the University of Chicago and is an accepted soldier in the Chicago Democratic Machine.

With his connections to the Machine and his position at the University of Chicago, Barack Obama was set. What Yale University and the Skull and Bones were to Bush era political power, the University of Chicago has become in modern American politics. If one were to look at a pyramid chart of the Chicago Democratic Machine in the early 90’s, it would show Richard Daley, the new and young Chicago Mayor and the hand-picked successor to his father – the original political godfather Richard J. Daley – at the top.

Under Daley, the chart branches off into two wings – the Irish/Italian wing and the Black wing. Half way down the pyramid of the Chicago Democratic Machine, observers will find Illinois State Senator Emil Jones. It’s under Jones’ section of the Machine that newcomer Barack Obama has found his “in”. Jones is a ten year veteran of the Illinois Senate at this point, born from a Machine precinct captain father and destined to be President of the Illinois Senate. It was Jones who introduced the impressive Barack Obama to the right politically “connected” people.



Just five years later in 1997, the Chicago Democratic Machine had paved the way for the hand-picked Obama to help himself to an Illinois Senate seat. Barack Obama’s friends and allies had arranged for all four of Obama’s opponents to be removed from the election ballot, an age-old tactic of the Machine.

Only three years later in 2000, the ambitious Barack Obama refused to wait his turn in line and instead broke from the Chicago Democratic Machine and challenged one of its fiercest leaders, Bobby Rush, for his seat in the US House of Representatives. Losing, Obama had no choice but to fall back in line and play by the Machine’s rules. Being a Constitutional attorney with old connections from Harvard and the king-making University of Chicago, coupled with new friends in the Chicago Machine, Barack Obama used every opportunity to quietly build a list of friends, allies and those who owed him favors or 'political capital'. It would be these people that would fuel and man his own political machine.

Being a humbled but rising star of the Illinois Senate and Chicago Democratic Machine, Barack Obama began making questionable deals, or selling his soul, as some critics have claimed.

One such deal was reported nationally, including the LA Times and archived at About.com:

“In 2001, Obama receives legal services contract with Illinois firm owned by Robert Blackwell, Jr. A few months later, Obama writes a letter on Illinois Senate letterhead in support of a tourism grant for a different Blackwell company. The next day, Obama's U.S. Senate campaign received a $1,000 donation from Blackwell... In the presidential race he is credited on Obama's website with committing to raise $100,000 to $200,000 for Obama's campaign. Obama reported $98,158 income for providing legal services; $80,000 was from Blackwell's firm. Illinois ethics disclosure forms are designed to reveal possible financial conflicts by lawmakers... Obama did not specify that EKI provided him with the bulk of the private-sector compensation he received."

With his lust for political advancement, Obama joins forces with political genius David Axelrod. State Senator Barack Obama also begins perfecting the art of voting ‘present’ during Senate votes. As future opponent Hillary Clinton publicized, Obama voted ‘present’ 129 different times in the IL Senate. As the campaigning Obama explained to the American people, voting ‘present’ was merely a political tactic used in Illinois by Chicago’s Machine politicians. It allowed a politician to dangle their vote in front of both sides, either pushing for changes to the bill or waiting for each side to outbid each other with political ‘incentives’.

Re-Enter Eric Whitaker

Staying hot on the trail, the Chicago Sun Times reported in a 2008 article that in 2003, ‘Obama, then an Illinois state senator, gave a "glowing'' reference for Whitaker to Tony Rezko, the now-convicted political fixer who helped Gov. Blagojevich find people to run state agencies. Blagojevich hired Whitaker to be the state's public health director.’

“Somebody who I do remember talking directly to Tony about was Dr. Eric Whitaker," Obama told the Sun-Times in March. "He and I played basketball together when he was getting his master's in public health at Harvard, while I was in law school there. He had expressed an interest in that job. I did contact Tony, or Tony contacted me, and I gave him a glowing recommendation because I thought he was outstanding.''



Eric Whitaker was a rising star in the Chicago Machine, climbing the rungs of the often abused Cook County government. Whitaker was repeatedly tasked with spending money on difficult to track or audit programs. Most were social programs targeting poor, Black Chicago communities to reduce the spread of AIDS or preparing for public health disasters.

Now, thanks to a request by Barack Obama, Whitaker was handed the reins of an entire state agency. Again, according to the Chicago Sun Times:

‘Whitaker's agency also got caught up in scandal. He oversaw the budget of the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, which approves medical construction projects. Rezko and his associates controlled that board, which they used to solicit kickbacks and payoffs, according to testimony at Rezko's trial. Rezko was convicted.’

With Federal investigators slowly closing the noose, Whitaker used the IL Dept of Public Health for one last deal. This time, he would use the state agency at his disposal to jump ship, and insure his landing was as comfortable as possible. At the time, the University of Chicago was also attempting to cash in some political favors and trying to gain approval for a construction expansion. Suddenly, Michelle Obama enters the picture.

As the 2008 Sun Times article reports it:

‘Whitaker left the state payroll a year ago and joined Obama's wife Michelle as a high-ranking executive at the University of Chicago Medical Center. When he was hired, U. of C. was seeking permission to expand its children's hospital -- one of five expansions the university sought from the state while Whitaker was health director. All were approved.’

Jump to today – September 19, 2011.

In today’s Chicago Sun Times, they continue their investigation:

‘The indictment of a Chicago nurse accused of diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds for her personal use has turned a spotlight on an Illinois state agency that awarded her money while it was headed by one of President Barack Obama’s closest friends, Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, records show.’

Under Whitaker’s authority, the IL Dept of Public Health awarded Margaret A. Davis a no-bid State contract and seven monetary grants. According to Federal prosecutors, at least $500,000 of that money was embezzled by Davis. Whitaker, who is still a top executive at the politically connected University of Chicago, continues to claim he had no knowledge of any wrongdoing by Davis. Federal authorities might disagree. They’ve sent the IDPH four separate subpoenas seeing more information on other financial deals overseen by Eric Whitaker with no less than seven separate organizations like Davis’.



In 2007, Whitaker began working alongside Michele Obama and earning $670,833 per year in his role at the Univ. of Chicago. In 2008, he began traveling alongside Senator Obama on his cross-country Presidential campaign tours. He has since vacationed with the President and attended numerous White House parties.

President Obama’s close personal and financial ties are completely documented with regard to people like former Governor and convicted criminal Rod Blagojevich, mafia banker Alexi Giannoulias, convicted political ‘fixer’ Tony Rezko, probable indictment target Eric Whitaker and even Chicago powerhouses like Richard Daley and Emil Jones. But how is the President connected to Margaret A. Davis, mentioned above and just indicted by Federal authorities for embezzling over a half million dollars from her rigged state contracts arranged by the man who President Obama arranged to be in that position? According to White House officials, there is no connection.

Whether that’s true or not may just come out during the Federal trial of Davis. Consider these ironic similarities casually mentioned in today’s Chicago Sun Times:

‘After the Sun-Times reported last year that Whitaker’s name had surfaced in the federal investigation, he told reporters: “The organizations the subpoenas were about — they received funding in the last month of my tenure at the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Sun-Times framed it as if I was in the center of a lot of things. I would say that’s inaccurate.” But Davis’ indictment and other records show that Whitaker’s department had given money to those groups long before then. Now, asked about that discrepancy and about the Davis case, Whitaker e-mailed a statement acknowledging “confusion related to statements I have made in the past”.‘

While Davis, Whitaker and President Obama attempt to coordinate their stories, other big name Chicago Machine politicians are suddenly finding themselves exposed for their involvement as well. The same Sun Times article reports:

‘Of the taxpayer money, $577,473 came from the health department under Whitaker and Arnold, and $460,000 came from the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, then headed by Jack Lavin, who’s now Gov. Pat Quinn’s chief of staff.’

Speaking of Chiefs of Staff, convicted Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s former Chief of Staff was one Quinshaunta Golden. She was indicted by Federal authorities along with three other high level Blagojevich aids for her roll in shaking down a children’s hospital, Illinois racetracks, fellow politicians and even selling Illinois’ US Senate seat.

Now, Quinshaunta Golden works as Eric Whitaker’s senior aide at the University of Chicago Medical Center where she earns $311,407 per year serving Mr. Whitaker. It was also recently discovered that Quinshaunta Golden is the niece of US Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL). Danny Davis, Bobby Rush, Emil Jones, Barack Obama – all members of the same faction of the Chicago Democratic Machine with close personal ties going back to Obama’s early Machine days in the early 90’s.



As far as collateral damage from these ongoing Federal investigations, President Obama may need to dig in and prepare for a fight, or find a way to make it all go away. The President has documented connections to every single individual and player in this scandal. He also has admitted to personally recommending certain members of this cast for the positions needed to successfully pull off the multi-million dollar fraud.

While President Obama seems above the fray while he serves his term in the White House, his days earning his way through the Chicago Democratic Machine may just be catching up with him. And with the godfather himself, Richard Daley, retired and enjoying the spoils of Chicago politics, all sorts of skeletons are coming out of Chicago’s closets these days. With the Machine’s Rahm Emanuel trading places with the Daleys – Emanuel moving from White House Chief of Staff to Chicago Mayor and the Daley’s moving from Chicago Mayor to White House Chief of Staff – the Chicago Democratic Machine’s grip on the White House may not be enough to shelter the President from his own past.

While President Obama will undoubtedly escape any charges or even any credible accusations other than being a poor judge of character, the Chicago skeletons have only just started climbing out of the closet. With the ‘great protector’ gone, Chicago bankrupt and Federal investigators around every corner, the Chicago Machine may end up turning on itself in an attempt to flee the sinking ship. It’s the investigations and indictments yet to come that make this column wonder.

As our readers can see, Chicago politics is a corrupt spider web of patronage and nepotism that ensnares every aspect of life in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois and now the White House. As our readers can also see, President Obama emerged from the depths of the Chicago Machine to arrive at the highest office in the land. Exactly how he got there, may just be slowly revealed through a series of Federal indictments.

Special thanks to the Chicago Sun Times.

 

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