Obama and Rezko: CNN Omits the Nub of the Story
January 26, 2008 • 7:30PM

CNN's (January 24) coverage of Sen. Barack Obama's money ties to Illinois political fixer Antoin "Tony" Rezko failed to show the deeper relevance of the story to Obama's political career. LPAC's own ongoing probe of the matter can begin to supply the appropriate context.

CNN showed a clip from the debate in which Sen. Hillary Clinton said to Obama, "you were practicing law and representing your contributor, Rezko, in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago."

Obama replied, "Oh, no, no, no. I'm happy to respond." Obama said it was just legal work on a low-income housing project and Tony Rezko was just another client, and he declared, "I did about five hours worth of work on this joint project. That's what she's referring to."

This has rattled many cages. The Clinton-hating website Drudgereport reacted by putting up an undated old photo of Bill and Hillary Clinton posing with Tony Rezko, without explanation, hoping this might undermine allegations regarding Obama.

In their January 24 coverage, CNN went on to show what has long been very public in the Chicago newspapers: that Rezko will soon be tried in two separate cases for extortion, money laundering and fraud; and that when Obama entered politics he got from Rezko his "first significant campaign contribution" and much more later: "tainted cash, some illegal, some just unsavory." CNN showed buildings that Rezko had developed with public funds solicited for him by Obama, where the tenants were left heatless while Rezko's donations continued to Obama. CNN mentioned the deal involving Rezko, in which Obama got his own expensive house, bought below the asking price; and how Obama has now donated, to charity, $86,000 of Rezko's contributions to him.

- Rezko's Web -

But behind the story, the federal case against Rezko is based on a detailed picture of the web of influence Rezko and his cohorts exerted over state agencies managing Illinois' financial assets. Barack Obama's political career was spun out in tandem with this Rezko apparatus, particularly through Rezko's partner and Obama's former boss, Allison S. Davis.

Start with U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's December 21, 2007 proffer in the Rezko case, with its charges of extortion and kickbacks taken in 2004 from the Illinois Teachers' Retirement System: $10,000 from this crime was channeled to a "political candidate" not named by the prosecutor. The fact that Rezko was on the finance committee of Obama's campaign for U.S. Senate, and the other facts in the case, make it clear that Barack Obama was the candidate in question.

Having raised half a million dollars for Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, Tony Rezko got the Governor to appoint Rezko's own men to the Teachers' Retirement System, among them Stuart Levine, now indicted. And Rezko got Allison S. Davis appointed to the Illinois State Board of Investment, in control of billions in state retirement funds. Although Davis has not been charged with wrongdoing, the feds are reportedly pressing a probe of that agency. Davis is currently the president of that State Board.

Barack Obama was a Harvard Law student in 1990 when he interviewed for a job with Tony Rezko's slum-redevelopment firm. He didn't go directly into the Rezko company. But in 1993 Obama was hired by Allison S. Davis, whose law firm (Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland) represented Rezko's operations over the years, while Rezko raised cash for Obama's electoral campaigns. Davis became Rezko's personal financial partner in slum-redevelopment deals, which were then backed by State Senator Obama.

In one of those deals, after both Obama and Davis had left the law firm, Obama wrote letters to state and city housing officials supporting the proposed Cottage View Terrace apartments, a project run by Tony Rezko and Allison S. Davis. The deal cost taxpayers $14 million and the partners got $855,000 in fees. Completed in 2002, the project is now managed by Davis's son Cullen Davis.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported in 2007 that Cottage View Terrace was originally supposed to be managed by Davis's longtime business partner, William Moorehead, until Davis's son was substituted. Moorehead was sent to prison in 2007 for stealing more than $1 million from the public housing projects he managed, including two he co-owned with Allison S. Davis.

- The University of Chicago and the CBOT -

The Obama-Davis nexus also reflects the higher echelon Anglo-American financier oligarchy, that influences politics and culture through such power centers as the University of Chicago and the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT).

When Barack Obama ran for U.S. Congress against incumbent Rep. Bobby Rush in 2000, the Chicago Reader reported "whispers" that "Obama is being funded by a 'Hyde Park mafia,' a cabal of University of Chicago types, and that there's an 'Obama Project' masterminded by whites who want to push him up the political ladder."

Obama was then a state senator and University of Chicago law lecturer. The district was 65% black, but included the rarified Hyde Park neighborhood, home of Obama and of his employer, the University of Chicago. The black community was markedly unfavorable to Obama's challenge against Rush, a former Black Panther, who defeated Obama 61-30 in the Democratic primary.

The "Hyde Park Mafia" purportedly backing Obama's rise was centered in the University's campaign for school reform, along the lines of the Ford Foundation and British efforts to corral American slum residents into blind, self-defeating local politics.

William Allison Davis, the African-American father of Obama's law boss Allison S. Davis, was the University of Chicago's "John Dewey Distinguished Service Professor"; he was a teacher in the Education Department from 1942 to 1978 and advisor until his death in 1983. Though the elder Davis was deeply associated with civil rights concerns, he was also deeply enmeshed in the London-Wall Street axis sinking its claws into African-American politics, education, and psychology. His mentor at the University of Chicago was anthropologist W. Lloyd Warner, an organizer of the "human relations" movement run through the Britain's notorious Tavistock Institute and largely financed by the Rockefeller family. The Rockefellers paid for much of William Allison Davis's own career, their largesse allowing him to study under eugenicist Julian Huxley in England.

This University of Chicago gang was the policy base for the Saul Alinsky slum-herding crusades, which the young Barack Obama joined as a paid organizer in the 1980s. Obama moved the impoverished residents to fight around entirely local concerns, while the politics of the nation collapsed into the "conservative revolution."

After getting his Harvard law degree, Obama came back to Chicago in the 1990s. He had met his wife Michelle while she was a member of Sidley Austin, the law firm for the financial oligarchs at CBOT, the Chicago Board of Trade. He interned under her direction in that firm in 1989 (a year before interviewing with Rezko). From 1996 on, Michelle Obama was an executive with the University of Chicago, at last rising in 2005 to vice president for community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals.

Her husband was employed by the University, from 1993, until he ran for United States Senate in 2004, with help from Tony Rezko.