That Whole Obama/Rezko Thing…

For those of you (like me) who haven’t honestly been paying too much attention to Obama’s business relationship with inidicted real estate developer Tony Rezko, Talking Points Memo has a nice summary of the whole situation. The key paragraph that caught my eye is here:

And then there’s the other big question, whether Obama ever did anything for Rezko in return for his purchase of the side yard or all those contributions. Obama has said that Rezko “never asked me for anything” and “I’ve never done any favors for him.” No substantial evidence has surfaced to contradict that claim.

As far as I can tell, this appears to be correct. Having now read the whole story in several different places, I can say that this is barely even in the “appearance of impropriety” category, much less demonstrative of any actual impropriety on the part of Barack Obama.

Certainly, out of all of the three leading contenders, Obama has the least amount of issues with anything approaching a conflict of interest. Clinton has issues with her husband’s subversion of U.S. foreign policy in Kazakhstan. And John McCain, the straight-talking ethical reformer, has a senior campaign staff that is heavily dominated by professional lobbyists.

This is not to say that Obama’s relationship to Rezko wasn’t “bone-headed” (to use Obama’s own description of the situation), but it’s relatively minor compared to some major issues that the other candidates have in their closets.

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Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.


  1. KJ says:

    Another lash in the Clinton strategy of ‘death by a thousand cuts’.

    If we elect HRC we will deserve what we get.

  2. davod says:

    Stop blaming the Clintons for this story. It is was an Obama problem before he even filed for the presidency. Much like the Arkansas media with the Clintons before he was elected, the Chicago media has been pushing Obama’s people problems for some time, but no one will listen

    You can be sure that what we have heard is just the tip of the iceberg. Will we hear the rest before the Messiah is elected President, or will we suffer the equivalent of bimbo eruptions, only much worse, in 2009.

  3. bornonthefourth says:

    “Politics OF THE SAME” I thought thats the term that Obama used in one of the debates. It now seems he is politics of the same. Chi-town is the windy city, its also a dirty city. I agree this is small potatoes but lying and fronting sure isn’t. Ted Kennedy sure is politics of the same.
    JUST WORDS………Go Dems

  4. Triumph says:

    Barack Hussein Obama is hack Chicago-style Daley politician. Its about time the media has peeled the bark off South Side Barry’s smooth-talking pimping.

  5. You expected Obama to admit to wrongdoing? Or Joshua Micah Marshall to ask a followup question?

    Even if Obama hasn’t overtly helped Rezko, Rezko can drop Obama’s name just to show he has friends in high places and to convince others to be crooked to benefit from his largesse. I’m reminded mightily of a reporting asking Mr. Keating if he expected to get anything for all those political contributions he made and he replied, “I certainly hope so!”

    Funny how the appearance of impropriety is just so unimportant in this instance.

  6. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Sounds like the blogger has Obama fever. Twenty years with the Right Reverend Wright, Meeting with the Weather Underground, Sweetheart realestate deals. Nothing here to look at folks, move along.

  7. rodney dill says:

    I did see the picture of Rezko with Bill and Hill, that may mean amount as much, or maybe not.

  8. Bithead says:

    This is not to say that Obama’s relationship to Rezko wasn’t “bone-headed” (to use Obama’s own description of the situation), but it’s relatively minor compared to some major issues that the other candidates have in their closets.

    That’s as may be, James, but personally, I find it amusing that the impact of this is being played down so. I submit that were this level of smoke coming from the McCain camp, the media would be all over this, there would be criminal and congressional investigations, and Rezko would be the new Anti-Republican catch-phrase.

    As it is, it’s “ho-hum”, just another Democrat scandal… we’re used to them.

    Funny, how that works.

  9. John425 says:

    The piece of the Rezko thing that puzzles me is the story that Obama got a 15% “discount” on the house he bought, in an era of rising real estate prices. How? Why?

    Therein lies the rub, methinks.