There is an old saying in politics: “What’s old is new.” And with a presidential election around the corner, some of Obama’s sordid connections are now back in the news and being investigated with renewed fervor.
Of course, if you’ve been following the news, you know billionaire businessman and star of the show Celebrity Apprentice, Donald Trump, has been banging the drums the loudest on some of these issues. The press has focused heavily on his criticism of Obama on the subject of his birth certificate, an issue first raised by supporters of Hillary Clinton that continues to dog the president. But there were other comments by Trump last week that caught my attention, specifically Obama’s ties to Antoin “Tony” Rezko and William Ayers.
As Newsmax reported, Trump suggested the unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers wrote Obama’s book “Dreams of My Father.” (Though the terrorist may have been joking, Ayers actually said the same thing in a speech at Montclair State University last month.) Judicial Watch has highlighted Obama’s ties to radicals such as Ayers, race-baiter “Reverend” Jeremiah Wright and convicted felon Rezko. But the Big Media (and too many Republicans) seems uninterested that Obama was a close ally and funder of an unrepentant terrorist or entered into a shady real estate deal with Rezko, who everyone knew at the time to be under criminal investigation. So it is good that Trump highlighted the corruption issue that is so important to Judicial Watch and the hundreds of thousands of Americans who support our cause: “So you got Reverend Wright, you got Bill Ayers, you got Tony Rezko. He drops these guys, and the press leaves him alone,” Trump told Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity.
While Trump may be just now coming to some new revelations regarding Obama’s suspect ties, Judicial Watch has been investigating them for years. In fact, we put boots on the ground in Chicago to get to the truth in the matter. Now that these characters are back in the news, I think it’s a good idea to review some of what we’ve already uncovered:
- Judicial Watch obtained documents regarding the Annenberg Challenge, a school program designed by Ayers, who is a known domestic terrorist. Ayers, who is now a retired university professor, was once a member of the Communist domestic terrorist group Weather Underground that planted bombs in government buildings such as the Pentagon. Ayers has publicly stated that he doesn’t regret setting the bombs and that his violent group actually “didn’t do enough.” Obama served as Chairman of the organization for eight years (1995-2002). The documents include a fundraising letter signed by Obama requesting a $22,500 grant noting, “we [the Annenberg Challenge] are launched.”
- Judicial Watch uncovered documents that further establish Obama’s connection to convicted felon Antoin “Tony” Rezko. The documents show Barack Obama supported a housing development project known as Cottage View Terrace, which yielded $900,000 in developers’ fees for Rezko and Obama’s employer, lawyer Allison Davis. (The project application states, “State Senator Barack Obama has provided support.”) Rezko, who was involved in Obama’s questionable “super jumbo home loan,” was ultimately convicted on 16 counts of fraud and money laundering. He has personally donated at least $21,000 to Obama’s campaigns, and raised over two hundred thousand dollars in additional support.
- Judicial Watch obtained documents that raise questions about Michelle Obama and the Rezko-Cottage View land deal as well. One document that lists the number of community institutions involved with the Cottage View Terrace project includes the University of Chicago. In 1998, Michelle Obama was working for the University of Chicago as Associate Dean of Student Services. She was also in charge of developing the University’s Community Service Center. The university wrote three letters in which it “enthusiastically supports” the project. The university supported other Rezko projects as well.
- Other documents we found show that Obama “Special Advisor” czar Valerie Jarrett, whom CBS News once called “the other side of Barack Obama’s brain,” is also connected to Rezko. She served on the Board of Directors for the Fund for Community Redevelopment and Revitalization, an organization that worked with Rezko and Allison Davis, and also voiced her support for other Rezko projects.
And then, of course, when it comes to Obama’s crooked friends, we can’t forget about former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who is also back in the news now that his second corruption trial is underway. (Blago was arrested and hauled off in handcuffs for attempting to “sell” the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by Barack Obama when he ascended to the White House.)
JW has aggressively investigated the Blagojevich scandal. Our own Corruption Chronicles blogger Irene Garcia was on the ground in Illinois for the Blago trial. You can read some of her excellent reporting here. But let me bottom line this for you: According to sworn testimony during the “Blago” trial, former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (a.k.a. “Rhambo”) served as Obama’s chief negotiator with the Blagojevich team as the then Illinois Governor attempted to illegally sell Obama’s former Senate seat to the highest bidder.
Of course this squares with documents we obtained from Blago’s office related to the then Illinois governor’s contacts with then-President-elect Obama and his transition team. The documents include a December 3, 2008, letter from Barack Obama following a December 2, 2008, meeting with Blagojevich as well as a November 17, 2008, letter signed by Presidential Transition Team co-chairs Valerie Jarrett and John Podesta providing Blagojevich with a list of transition team contacts. “I want to make it a priority of my Administration to work closely with you,” Obama wrote to Blagojevich.
Unfortunately the federal prosecutor cut short the case against Blagojevich and Emanuel and other Obama insiders were never called to testify. Will they get it right this time?
Remember that then-President-elect Obama was interviewed by the FBI in December, 2008, about his Blago dealings. (Usually, corrupt presidents get interviewed by the FBI after they’re in office!)
The point of this review is this: Obama’s suspicious connections were important in 2008. And they’re just as important now, especially since the press has let Obama completely off the hook over these concerns. It’ll be interesting to see what happens this time around, now that Trump is using his various public vehicles to raise these issues once again. (Judicial Watch does not endorse candidates for public office.)
The fact that Trump is doing so well in the polls should be a signal to both Democrats and Republicans that corruption matters.