Obama and the MSM Define Bipartisan the Chicago Way: It's 'the Combine'

Think the Chicago Way political machine is all about corrupt Democrat politicians and their cronies? Think again. It’s bipartisan. While Democrats have run the Machine out of Chicago for decades, a supporting cast of Republicans has long participated in Machine enterprises.

Chicago Tribune reporter John Kass uses the term, “the Combine” to refer to the combination of Illinois Republicans working with Democrats to make hay for themselves regardless of who’s driving the tractor. As Republican power-broker Bill Cellini once said,

When we’re in [Republicans], we’re in. And when you’re in [Democrats], we’re in.

Austin Powers &amp_ mini-me

This month, the University of Illinois released a study entitled “Curing Corruption in Illinois: Anti-Corruption Report Number 3.” Here are some of its findings:

Since 1972 there have been three governors before Governor Blagojevich, state legislators, two congressmen, 19 Cook County judges, 30 aldermen, and other statewide officials convicted of corruption. Altogether there have been 1,000 public officials and businessmen convicted of public corruption since 1970…Corruption in Illinois seems endemic in both political parties. (p.3)

Here’s now corruption in both political parties, the Combine, works.

William F. Cellini, long-time GOP state power-broker seconded Gerald Ford’s nomination for President at the 1976 Republican National Convention. For four decades, regardless of which party ran the Illinois state government, Cellini did well, while attracting little attention.

cellini - court

That relative obscurity ended in October 2008 when Cellini was indicted by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s office for conspiracy and extortion. The indictment, read here, describes how pay-to-play works in Illinois politics. Here’s an excerpt from Count 2 (of 4) in the indictment:

As part of the conspiracy, CELLINI, [Stuart] Levine, [“Tony”] Rezko, and Co-Conspirator A [identified by the Chicago Tribune as former Gov. Rod Blagojevich Chief of Staff Alonzo “Lon” Monk who is cooperating with the Feds] agreed that they would use their influence and Levine’s position [as a Trustee] at TRS [Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois with $30 billion in assets] to prevent [John] Rosenberg’s firm, Capri Capital, from receiving a planned $220 million allocation of TRS funds unless Rosenberg and Capri Capital agreed to raise or donate a substantial about of funds for the benefit of Public Official A [Blagojevich].

When Rosenberg threatened to expose the plan, CELLINI, Levine, Rezko, and Co-Conspirator A [Monk] acted together to prevent Rosenberg from telling law enforcement about the extortion plan. As a result of Rosenberg’s threat, CELLINI, Levine, Rezko, and Co-Conspirator A agreed that Capri Capital would receive the $220 million allocation, but that Capri Capital and Rosenberg would receive no further funds from the State of Illinois. (pp. 14-15)

Think it couldn’t get any more embarrassing for the Illinois GOP?

Alonzo “Lon” Monk, ex-Chief of Staff to Blagojevich, signed a Plea Agreement in the case against Blago. One section discusses the “Pension Obligation Bond (POB) Deal:”

One of the ways in which Blagojevich, Rezko, [Christopher who committed suicide] Kelly, and Defendant [Monk] tried to obtain money for themselves from their control over the State of Illinois government related to the re-financing of $10 billion in Pension Obligation Bonds (“POB”) by the State of Illinois in 2003… Defendant understood that the lead firm would make the most money from the POB sale. Initially, Defendant understood that Kelly and Rezko were pushing for Investment Firm A to be chosen either because Investment Firm A would make a contribution to Blagojevich or because Defendant, Blagojevich, Rezko, and Kelly would make money if Investment Firm A was chosen…[The $10 billion in bonds was subsequently issued by the State in one day.]

alonzomonk

After the POB issuance, Rezko and Kelly told Defendant in additional conversations about the amount of money that Defendant, Blagojevich, Rezko, and Kelly would make from the POB deal. Defendant learned from those conversations that Individual A, who Defendant understood either had received or was going to receive money from Investment Firm A for acting as a consultant on the POB deal, was going to give Rezko $500,000 that would be held in a separate account. Defendant understood that the $500,000 payment was for the help that Rezko had provided to Investment Firm A and Individual A relating to the POB deal, and that the money would later be split between Defendant, Blagojevich, Rezko, and Kelly.” (pp. 10-12)

The Chicago Tribune identified “Individual A” as Bob Kjellander (pronounced Shell-an-der), a high-profile Illinois Republican and former Treasurer of the Republican National Committee.

Kjellander’s friend, Cellini, goes on trial next November. Kjellander has not been indicted.

Obama would like to govern in the bipartisan Combine style of Illinois politics. The MSM, with their criticism of uncooperative Congressional Republicans, clearly shares Obama’s wish to spread the Combine nationwide.

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