Clinton-backing Mayor Got Money from Rezko; Will the Media Care?

One major flash-point in the January 21 Democratic debate was when Hillary Clinton slammed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for ties to Tony Rezko, an indicted real estate developer. Shortly thereafter a photo from the Clinton administration depicting Sen. Clinton with Rezko and her husband came to the fore, and Clinton subsequently denied knowing Rezko.

Fast forward to today and the Associated Press reporting that Hillary Clinton booster L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa took campaign contributions from Rezko. The question remains how much the media, outside the Associated Press, will care:

LOS ANGELES -- Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a national co-chairman of Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, banked at least $1,500 in political donations from Tony Rezko, whose past connections to Barack Obama have been used by Clinton to criticize her rival's judgment and ethics.

City records show Rezko, chairman of Rezmar Corp. of Chicago, contributed $1,000 to Villaraigosa's mayoral campaign in 2001. Those records show Rezko also donated $500 to another Villaraigosa political committee in 2003.

''The contributions are currently under review,'' Villaraigosa spokesman Sean Clegg said. Clegg said Villaraigosa doesn't know Rezko and was unaware whether Rezko or his firms were doing business with the city.

''The contributions from 2001 and 2003 were long before any issues related to Tony Rezko became public,'' Clegg said.

The donations could prove to be a political embarrassment for Clinton. Rezko has been a patron of Illinois politicians for years, and Obama's connections to Rezko go back more than 15 years. Rezko has contributed thousands of dollars to the campaigns of Obama and Gov. Blagojevich. Neither has been accused of wrongdoing.

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Campaigns & Elections 2008 Presidential Campaign Financing Associated Press Government & Press Antonio Villaraigosa Tony Rezko