Saturday, July 22, 2006

Illinois Democratic candidates roll call: Where is Alexi, the boy-banker?

Wandering around the web is a pretty good exercise for bloggers to find stories.

Last night I found my self on the official web site of the Illinois Democratic Party,

I checked on the candidate page. The Democrat's candidate for governor, Rod Blagojevich is there, as is his running mate, Pat Quinn. For attorney general, Lisa Madigan....Jesse White, for secretary of state, Dan Hynes, comptroller....

Gee, someone is missing! Where is the Democrats' candidate for state treasurer, Alexi Giannoulias?

Could it be Alexi was accidentally omitted by a careless Illinois Democratic Party webmaster?

Or did he drop out of the race? I was out of town last week, so I might have missed something....

No, he's still running. In fact, Friday Alexi Giannoulias was campaigning in downstate Quincy, Illinois, as the Quincy Herald-Whig (cool name, isn't it?) reports.

There's been an ethical cloud surrounding Giannoulias since for the last few months.

From Crain's Chicago Business, March 13:

But there are a few other things voters might want to know before putting a 29-year-old Democrat who never has held government office in charge of investing $7 billion of your money each year.

Like how Broadway Bank financed property used for a gun store so notorious that it was sued by Mayor Richard M. Daley and finally shut down by federal authorities. Or how the bank lent money to a crime figure convicted of running a national prostitution ring to buy land in Florida. Not to mention the Texas lawsuit that contends Mr. Giannoulias and the bank "extorted" a nearly $100,000 loan fee. And the $5,000 campaign donation Mr. Giannoulias returned after revelations that the donor bought a fleet of gambling boats from a group including indicted Washington, D.C., lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Abramoff? Isn't he that corrupt Republican guy?

Via Rich Miller's Capitol Fax, here is an excerpt from a Chicago Tribune editorial a month later:

Let’s get this straight. Voters are supposed to be impressed by Giannoulias’ experience at the bank. Yet his defense here is that he was clueless as to what his bank was doing?

And he wants to take control of the entire state treasury?

Giannoulias was asked if it was acceptable for a state treasurer to lend money to crime figures. His response to Tribune reporter David Jackson: The treasurer should work to get "the best rate of return for taxpayers to create jobs."

What, no questions asked?

Actually, it seems understandable that the Illinois Democratic Party "forgot" to list the boy-banker from its list of candidates for statewide office.

For those living outside Illinois, you're probably wondering how Alexi won the nomination to run as the Democratic candidate for state Treasurer? Paul Mangieri was the candidate endorsed by the state party.

However, St. Barack, also known as Illinois Senator Barack Obama, stepped in and endorsed Giannoulias. It was the only endorsement Obama made in an Illinois contested primary race.

From ABC 7 Chicago in February:

Obama is the narrator in a new TV spot that launches a million-dollar-plus statewide ad campaign, financed in large part by Giannoulias's wealthy family which owns the Broadway Bank in Chicago, where Alexi's a vice president and contributes a lot of money to a lot of candidates, including Obama.

"The treasurer's job is a financial job. He's the candidate who has financial experience," said Senator Barack Obama, (D)-Illinois.

"When he told me he would be endorsing my candidacy, I promised I would never waver in my inherent desire to help people at every level have better lives," said Alexi Giannoulias, (D)-candidate for state treasurer.

The commercial, in which Obama calls Giannoulias "One of the most outstanding young men I could ever hope to meet" is still viewable on Alexi's web site.

A lot of questions need to be answered. The ones Alexi need to answer are pretty clear. The Illinois Democratic Party has to answer if it's just an oversight that Giannoulias was "disappeared" from the listing of Democratic statewide candidates on the official party web site.

And Obama needs to answer why he chose to endorse the boy-banker to shepherd $7 billion dollars in state funds?

Was there a quid-pro-quo?

Oh, a personal note to Senator Obama: With your connections, can you please get Alexi up on that site?

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