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Obama’s Helpful Hand in Blago-Rezko ‘Pay-to-Play’ Scheme

The president-elect sponsored a measure in the Illinois senate that made Rezko's kickback plot a lot easier to carry out.

Abraham H. Miller


December 16, 2008 - 12:00 am
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Against the backdrop of Chicago’s Wacker Drive, Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren stood and analyzed Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s most recent “pay-to-play” scheme, the auctioning of President-elect Barack Obama’s seat in the U.S. Senate.

Absent from the analysis of Governor Blagojevich’s role as auctioneer was the governor’s involvement in an earlier scandal.  That earlier story went generally untouched by the media — outside of Chicago — because it had a direct bearing on the character of then-presidential candidate and media darling Barack Obama.

Now, numerous journalists have been captured before the camera’s lens wondering why U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald “prematurely” had Blago arrested and didn’t build a stronger case.

None of them is suggesting the obvious — that perhaps Fitzgerald had to compel a media frenzy to avoid being transferred or even fired by the new administration for his involvement in the earlier case that has ties to the president-elect.  (After all, it is only the most partisan Democrats that believe only Alberto Gonzales fires non-compliant U.S. attorneys.)

To understand Fitzgerald’s potential problem with the Obama administration, you need to go back to the original “pay-for-play” scheme that caused Blago and wife, Patty, to come under the eye of the federal prosecutor.  You also need to confront Barack  Obama’s role in that scheme.

If you don’t remember Antonin (Tony) Rezko, here’s the Cliff Notes version: If you wanted to build or expand a medical facility in Illinois, you had to cut a deal with Tony. He was the guy with contacts on the state board whose approval you needed. To put it bluntly, he was the guy you paid off to pay off the other guys so you could get the required permits.

Originally, the board was made up of fifteen members. Now, in Chicago, where bribery has become a cultural art form, bribing half of fifteen means you need eight guys in your pocket. That’s a heavy overhead cost.  What if you could reduce your overhead by about forty percent?  Just think how much more money you could make.

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