Sunday, June 27, 2010

June 27, 2003: Tony Rezko hosts an Obama fund-raiser at his mansion

Barack Obama's ascent from an Illinois state senator of at best modest accomplishment to president began seven years ago today: At since-convicted political fixer Tony Rezko's Mediterranean-style mansion in suburban Wilmette. In The Audacity of Hope, Obama bemoaned the early but omnipresent advertising presence of investor Blair Hull, whose campaign later imploded after his messy divorce file became public.

From the Chicago Sun-Times in 2007:
The cocktail party Rezko hosted in 2003 came at a critical time for Obama. He and Rezko timed it to help Obama show he had enough money to compete in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate against millionaire Blair Hull and state Comptroller Dan Hynes.

"This was discussed a lot. They wanted to have a good showing," said a source familiar with the fund-raiser, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Tony was one of the biggest fund-raisers."

At the time of the party, the state was in the process of foreclosing on a low-income apartment building Rezko's company rehabbed in Obama's state Senate district -- a rehab project on which Obama's law firm worked. Rezko had also abandoned many other low-income apartments, leaving numerous vacant units in need of major repairs.
Tony Rezko was Obama's first political sponsor. He was also quite close to disgraced former Governor Rod Blagojevich, who is on trial for various corruption charges, including allegedly offering for sale the Senate seat Obama sought in 2003. Already two former Rezko associates, Joseph Aramanda and Ali Ata, have testified for the prosecution at that trial. Aramanda says he met Blago at an Obama-Blagojevich fundraiser at the Rezko mansion.

Obama likes to portray himself as some Beowulf-type hero who is destined to save the nation, but in reality he is a creature of the swamp that is Chicago politics, akin to Beowulf's nemesis, Grendel, who dwelt in the fens.

But let us return to the myth. In the "Race" section of Audacity of Hope, Obama reflects on the improved financial status of African Americans and how it impacted the 2004 Senate race.
One measure of these changes could be seen in the types of early support my campaign received. Of the first $500,000 that I raised during the primary, close to half came from black businesses and professionals.
What about the other half? Was it mined from the June 27, 2003 Rezko fundraiser?

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