In yesterday's Chicago Sun-Times article, "Could Obama end centuries of corruption?," staff reporter Jennifer Hunter questions if Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, "a champion of improving government ethics at both the federal and state level," can clean up the government. Ms Hunter finds the senator's "ethic proposals are praiseworthy" and lauds his efforts.
No mention is made in her article of Obama's intimate connection to someone who may not be quite so interested in ethics, indicted businessman Tony Rezko. Even after it was known that Rezko was the target of a Federal investigation, Obama asked the wheeler-dealer to get involved in the purchase of Obama's home.
Obama has received considerable cash from Rezko and friends. After their connection was made public, the senator decided to start returning some contributions. In a June 19, 2007 editorial, the Chicago Tribune noted an earlier Tribune news story reporting Obama "was giving charities some $16,500 in campaign donations from two Chicago businessmen who had financial ties to Rezko. . .The story said this marked the fourth time that Obama's campaign has shed contributions made by Rezko and associates to Obama's campaigns -- contributions totaling more than $33,000."
The June 14, 2007 New York Times, in the article "An Obama Patron and Friend Until an Indictment," stated:
"Mr. Obama has portrayed Mr. Rezko as a one-time fund-raiser whom he had occasionally seen socially. But interviews with more than a dozen political and business associates suggest that the two men were closer than the senator has indicated."
Even Ms Hunter's own Sun-Times has reported on the apparent duplicity involved in Obama's story about his connection to Rezko. On June 18, 2007, the newspaper carried a story titled, "Rezko cash triple what Obama says." It began:
"During his 12 years in politics, Sen. Barack Obama has received nearly three times more campaign cash from indicted businessman Tony Rezko and his associates than he has publicly acknowledged, the Chicago Sun-Times has found."
If Barack Obama really wants to clean up government, he should begin by candidly and truthfully addressing his own ethics problems.
And Ms Hunter may have to look elsewhere for her ethical champion. I'm certain she'd be impressed with Hillary Clinton, her husband, and her brothers and their approach to good government.