Obama About to Be Hit on Questionable Associates

By Julia Hoppock

Oct 4, 2008 10:28am

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the FBI is looking into whether or not former Obama pal Tony Rezko — convicted in June of attempted extortion, mail and wire fraud, and aiding and abetting bribery — paid for all or part of $90,000 worth work on the Northwest Side Chicago home of Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Rezko apparently liked helping out his politician pals on their real estate transactions. As you may recall, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Rezko’s wife, Rita, bought adjacent properties in a controversial and complicated series of real estate transactions, one of which Obama later called "boneheaded" because it might cause people to think he’d been done a favor in exchange for something untoward, which he denies is the case. Rezko at the time was under federal investigation.

A federal judge Wednesday froze more than $100,000 of Rezko’s cash. Rezko’s sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 28.

The conservative Judicial Confirmation Network is running a TV ad tying Obama to not just Rezko, but William Ayers (now using cartoons to spread his ideas) and the bombastic Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

"We don’t know who Barack Obama would choose" as a Supreme Court justice, the ad says, "but we know this. He chose as one of his first financial backers a slumlord now convicted on 16 counts of corruption. Obama chose as an associate a man who helped to bomb the Pentagon and said he ‘didn’t do enough.’ And Obama chose as his pastor a man who has blamed America for the 9/11 attacks."

There’s also a curious story bubbling out there about a former Obama poker buddy, Will County Executive Larry Walsh, and questions leveled by a political opponent about Walsh’s connections to a county contractor.

It’s unclear that Walsh did anything remotely wrong, but, hey, it’s October.

Meaning?

Meaning you should expect to hear much more about these Obama associates — some questions fair, others not; many associates legitimately slimy, others mere road kill on this political Autobahn — in this last full month of the campaign.

To wit: the Washington Post reports that Sen. John McCain’s campaign — convinced that the maverick thing alone isn’t working  — is about to open up a can of whoop-ass on Obama with a focus on his personal associations.

"We’re going to get a little tougher," a senior Republican operative tells the Post. "We’ve got to question this guy’s associations. Very soon. There’s no question that we have to change the subject here."

Fasten your seatbelts!

– jpt

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