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Rezko asked for $10,000 check to Obama campaign: witness
Sun Times ^ | 6-16-10 | Natasha Korecki, Sarah Ostman

Posted on 06/16/2010 5:10:01 PM PDT by STARWISE

The name of President Obama came into play this afternoon at the political corruption trial of former governor Rod Blagojevich as an associate of political fund-raiser Tony Rezko testified that Rezko asked him to write a $10,000 check to Friends of Obama.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported in January 2008 that Glenview businessman Joseph Aramanda, who is testifying today, made the donation as part of a scheme orchestrated by Rezko.

Aramanda gave $10,000 in campaign cash to Obama’s U.S. Senate campaign on March 5, 2004, according to records. The money came from part of a finder’s fee Aramanda received, but did no work for, thanks to Rezko.

The allegation is the first time Obama has been linked to Rezko through first-hand sworn testimony at the corruption trial.

The president is accused of no wrongdoing, and his campaign long ago returned contributions linked to the now convicted Rezko.

Aramanda testified this morning that he was offered to take part in a business where part of the proceeds would be diverted to the former governor, among others.

Aramanda, who is testifying under a grant of immunity, said in 2004 Rezko offered him a position in a finder’s fee business connected to the state’s teacher pension board.

Rezko asked Aramanda to head the business, offering him a salary of $250,000 a year. Aramanda said he thought that was shockingly low, given that the transactions could rake in $1 million or more per deal and there would likely be multiple deals each year.

Rezko explained to Aramanda that the remaining money would be divvied up among Rezko, Blagojevich, then-fund-raiser Christopher Kelly and Lon Monk, the gubernatorial chief of staff at the time.

“I was uncomfortable with the situation,” Aramanda said of the proposed venture. “I thought it was wrong.”

Aramanda said he refused to take part in it.

His testimony supports that of Monk, who the defense repeatedly attempted to cast as a liar. Monk, who concluded his testimony Tuesday, testified that Blagojevich, himself, Rezko and Kelly met secretly to map out how they would make money off state deals with the then-governor taking action to benefit his friends.

Rezko proposed that Aramanda would act as an intermediary with the Teachers Retirement Systems and receive fees from different firms for TRS investments.

Aramanda is a friend and former business associate of Rezko, the convicted fund-raiser. Aramanda’s testimony concerned a 2004 deal to accept a finder's fee from Glencoe Capital, which won a $50 million investment from the state’s Teachers’ Retirement System.

Aramanda hadn’t done any work for his fees, he testified.

So when he asked Glencoe Capital’s Sheldon Pekin to make the second payment in April 2004, Pekin shot back with, “What do you think, Christmas comes early?” according to Aramanda.

Aramanda said Rezko hooked him up to do work for Pekin. Of Aramanda's first $150,000 payment from Pekin, $50,000 went to Rezko, Aramanda testified.

Through Aramanda, the defense is trying to show that Rezko duped Blagojevich just like he duped everyone else — including Aramanda, a Harvard Business School alum.

Attorney Michael Gillespie even brought Barack Obama into the mix, getting Aramanda to note that when he met Blagojevich at Rezko’s mansion, Obama was also there.

Aramanda said the event was a fund-raiser for both Obama and Blagojevich. Obama and Rezko were friends when Obama was an aspiring U.S. Senator. Rezko did some fund-raising for Obama and bought property next door to the Obama's Hyde Park home.

Gillespie said Rezko used Aramanda to funnel kickbacks.

“He made no mention he was using you as a front man to get his money?” Gillespie asked.

Aramanda had testified that Rezko arranged for Aramanda to get "business loans" through Rezko's friends. Rezko then tapped Aramanda to use portions of that money to repay Rezko's debt.

Rezko also directed Aramanda to make payments on his behalf, he testified. Aramanda said Rezko gave him a list of names and told him the amounts he was to wire to various Rezko associates.

Not included in that list: Rod Blagojevich.

“He never gave you a wire transfer for an account in Aruba and said: ‘this is the governor’s, send it to him?’” Gillespie asked.

“No,” Aramanda responded. Report item as: (required) X Comment: (optional)


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 200403; 20040305; 200404; antoinrezco; antoinrezko; aramanda; blagojevich; blagotrial; campaignfinance; chriskelly; christopherkelly; glencoe; glencoecapital; joearamanda; josepharamanda; kelly; kickbacks; lonmonk; monk; obama; payoff; paytoplay; rezko; sheldonpekin; tonyrezko
Blago defense tries to link kickback to Obama contribution"

Excerpt:

The defense for Rod Blagojevich tried today to link money from a kickback scheme to President Barack Obama.

Joseph Aramanda, a business associate of insider Antoin "Tony" Rezko, acknowledged he donated $10,000 to Obama's campaign when he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004. Aramanda said he did so at Rezko's request.

~~~~

Even though -0 returned these monies when Rezko was convicted, is it conceivable that he didn't know his buddy, Rezko, who he knew was a documented pay-to-player like himself, was getting big $$$ for his campaign from the typical Chicago corruption?

1 posted on 06/16/2010 5:10:01 PM PDT by STARWISE
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To: onyx; penelopesire; seekthetruth; television is just wrong; jcsjcm; BP2; Pablo Mac; ...

~~Ping!


2 posted on 06/16/2010 5:12:45 PM PDT by STARWISE (The overlords are in place .. we are a nation under siege .. pray, hunker down & go Galt)
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To: STARWISE; All

Must invest in Popcorn futures... I think we should stay away from this and let it progress.. Also the GOP should stay away from this also... This could get big, but I think the case could get dismissed.


3 posted on 06/16/2010 5:13:32 PM PDT by KevinDavis (Soccer was invented by European ladies to keep them busy while their husbands did the cooking.)
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To: STARWISE
Everyone knows the Obama administration is the most open and above board administration in this nation's history. I just can't get over how petty folks are here.

/s

4 posted on 06/16/2010 5:14:48 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (06/15/2010 Obama's Shame-Wow address...)
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To: STARWISE

Felonies, impeachable treasonous acts and this poser is still seated at the desk in the peoples house. Un friggin believable!


5 posted on 06/16/2010 5:21:00 PM PDT by Don Corleone ("Oil the gun..eat the cannolis. Take it to the Mattress.")
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To: STARWISE

Obama - Rezko - Blagojevich

Would not surprise me if the name “Bill Ayers” comes up in connection as well


6 posted on 06/16/2010 5:21:49 PM PDT by F15Eagle (1 John 5:4-5, 4:15, 5:13; John 3:17-18, 6:69, 11:25, 14:6, 20:31; Rom10:8-11; 1 Tim 2:5; Titus 3:4-5)
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To: STARWISE

There was just something about Blago when he was on the Apprentice every time someone brought up “the troubles”. It was almost as if there was something that he wanted to say that was very hard to hold back, yet he knew that he had keep it under wraps.

Mind you, I do not feel sorry for him or hold him blameless. But clearly he was not the mastermind of whatever was going on here. I hope he lives long enough to tell the whole story.


7 posted on 06/16/2010 5:32:45 PM PDT by lovesdogs
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To: lovesdogs

I thought it was weird the way Trump kept kissing his butt.

Perhaps someone whispered in his ear.


8 posted on 06/16/2010 5:54:58 PM PDT by RummyChick
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To: STARWISE; hoosiermama; penelopesire; Liz; onyx

(NO LINKS)

Gov fund-raiser linked to man in indictment
Chicago Sun-Times (IL) - Sunday, August 7, 2005
Author: Dave McKinney, Chris Fusco and Steve Warmbir, The Chicago Sun-Times
SPRINGFIELD — A Glenview businessman who federal investigators believe received a $250,000 kickback in a state teacher pension scheme has had past business dealings with gubernatorial fund-raiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko , the Chicago Sun-Times has found.

Records in three Wisconsin cities show that companies linked to Rezko turned over ownership of at least six Papa John’s pizza restaurants in 2001 to a company owned by Joseph Aramanda , who surfaced in last week’s federal indictment alleging corruption at the Teachers’ Retirement System of Illinois.

Neither Aramanda nor Rezko , a close associate of Gov. Blagojevich who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the governor, have been accused of criminal wrongdoing by federal investigators.

Aramanda , however, received $250,000 of a $375,000 finder’s fee that prosecutors say was illegally arranged by indicted former TRS board member Stuart Levine, who was reappointed to that board by Blagojevich months before his July 2004 resignation.

Levine, according to a 14-count indictment released Wednesday, arranged for Aramanda to get the money from a financial consultant who had been representing a company that secured a $50 million investment from TRS.

Levine and two Chicago lawyers were charged Wednesday with allegedly shaking down investment companies seeking TRS business for hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks.

Aramanda , who did not return a message left at his Neenah, Wis., corporate office and could not be reached at his Glenview phone number, was named as “Individual C” in the indictment. The Sun-Times confirmed his identity through multiple sources.

Several telephone messages left at Rezko ‘s main office were not returned.

Aramanda owned 22 Papa John’s pizza restaurants in Wisconsin, according to a 2001 business filing with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

At least six of those restaurants, located in Madison, Eau Claire and La Crosse, were owned by Rezko ‘s companies up until 2001, when Aramanda ‘s firm — JAA Enterprises — took over ownership, according to restaurant licensing documents maintained by health departments in each of those cities.

Details about the ownership shift, including how much JAA paid for the restaurants, were not available. A spokeswoman at Papa John’s Louisville, Ky., headquarters declined to comment on the matter, citing privacy concerns.

Whether Aramanda ‘s tie to Rezko extends beyond this particular transaction is not completely clear, but Aramanda has a link to the governor, having given Blagojevich’s campaign fund $10,000 in 2002, state election records show.

Aramanda also has been a donor to U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who received $11,500 from him between 2000 and 2004, according to federal election records.

One of the Obama contributions hints at another possible business tie between Rezko and Aramanda . A $1,000 donation from Aramanda to the fund Obama set up for an ill-fated 2000 congressional bid identifies Aramanda ‘s employer as “P.J. Chicago.” The initials “C.O.O.” appear next to the entry, federal election records show, suggesting Aramanda was the chief operating officer of P.J. Chicago.

P.J. Chicago was managed by Rezko Enterprises, according to Illinois Secretary of State records. P.J. Chicago is listed on the sixth floor at 409 W. Huron St. in Chicago, home to several of Rezko ‘s businesses, according to regulatory filings with the Wisconsin and Delaware secretary of state offices.

(snip)

//

Internship also links Obama, Rezko : Fund-raiser asked senator to hire contributor’s son
Chicago Sun-Times (IL) - Sunday, December 24, 2006
Author: Frank Main, The Chicago Sun-Times
In addition to a land deal, Sen. Barack Obama’s ties to indicted dealmaker Antoin “Tony” Rezko include an internship the senator provided the son of a contributor at the request of Rezko , an Obama spokesman confirmed Saturday.

John Aramanda served as an intern for Obama for about a month in 2005, said Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs. His father is Joseph Aramanda , a Rezko business associate who was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal corruption case against Rezko . Aramanda has contributed $11,500 to Obama since 2000, Gibbs said.

“Mr. Rezko did provide a recommendation for John Aramanda ,” Gibbs said. “I think that it’s fairly obvious that a few-week internship is not anything of benefit to Mr. Rezko or any of his businesses.”

The internship revelation comes after Obama acknowledged he erred in buying property from Rezko in January. The transaction took place when it was widely known Rezko was under investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office.

“It was a mistake to have been engaged with him at all in this or any other personal business dealing that would allow him, or anyone else, to believe that he had done me a favor,” Obama — a likely presidential candidate — told the Chicago Sun-Times in November.

(snip)

Obama and Rezko have been friends since 1990, and the Wilmette businessman has raised as much as $60,000 in campaign contributions for him.

After Rezko ‘s indictment, Obama donated $11,500 to charity — the amount Rezko contributed to the senator’s federal campaign fund.

Gibbs said no decision has been made on whether Obama will return any contributions from Aramanda , given his alleged role in the federal corruption cases against Rezko and former Teachers Retirement System board member Stuart Levine.

(snip)

Aramanda was identified by the Sun-Times as “Individual D,” who allegedly received a $250,000 kickback tied to a scheme to steer lucrative state pension deals to firms and consultants that donated to Blagojevich. Aramanda is not specifically named or charged with criminal wrongdoing in the court papers. He did not return a call seeking comment Saturday.

Gibbs said John Aramanda served in Obama’s Capitol Hill office from July 20 to Aug. 26, 2005.

//

Rezko pals in state posts - Records reveal vast influence with governor
Chicago Tribune (IL) - Thursday, June 15, 2006
Author: David Jackson and John Chase, Tribune staff reporters.

EXCERPT

Blagojevich pal’s reach into state government

Newly obtained public records show deep ties between state government and several financial backers of businessman Antoin “Tony” Rezko , confidante and political fundraiser for Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

NAME

Imad Almanaseer

TIE TO REZKO

Member of LARC Realty, a Rezko business

STATE GOVERNMENT TIE

Health Facilities Planning Board member; son Ahmed worked for Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

NAME

Abdelhamid Chaib

TIE TO REZKO

Chief operating officer of Rezko Enterprises

STATE GOVERNMENT TIE

Wife Lori on Board of Review for Department of Employment Security

NAME

John “Jack” Lavin

TIE TO REZKO

Former chief financial officer of Rezko Enterprises

STATE GOVERNMENT TIE

Director of DCEO

NAME

Alber Najjar

TIE TO REZKO

Investor in Rezko Enterprises, LARC Realty member

STATE GOVERNMENT TIE

Daughter Claudine works for DCEO

NAME

Michel Malek

TIE TO REZKO

Investor in Rezko Enterprises, Roosevelt/Clark development

STATE GOVERNMENT TIE

Health Facilities Planning Board member

NAME

Fortunee Massuda

TIE TO REZKO

Investor in Rezko Enterprises

STATE GOVERNMENT TIE

Health Facilities Planning Board member

NAME

Ali Ata

TIE TO REZKO

Investor in Roosevelt/Clark

STATE GOVERNMENT TIE

Former executive director of the Illinois Finance Authority

NAME

Joseph Aramanda

TIE TO REZKO

Co-owned Papa John’s pizza franchises with Rezko

STATE GOVERNMENT TIE

Got loan from state tollway contractor

NAME

Velma Butler

TIE TO REZKO

Investor in Roosevelt/Clark

STATE GOVERNMENT TIE

Illinois Housing Authority member

NAME

Muhamad Dabbouseh

TIE TO REZKO

LARC Realty officer

STATE GOVERNMENT TIE

Daughter Amy works for the DCEO and daughter Huda for the DES

NAME

Kelly King Dibble

TIE TO REZKO

Former vice president for business development of a Rezko real estate company

STATE GOVERNMENT TIE

Executive director of the Illinois Housing Development Authority

NAME

David Gustman

TIE TO REZKO

Attorney for Rezko and companies

STATE GOVERNMENT TIE

Unpaid chairman of Illinois Finance Authority

NAME

Anthony Licata

TIE TO REZKO

Rezko attorney

STATE GOVERNMENT TIE

Chairman of the Capital Development Board

NAME

Michael Rumman

TIE TO REZKO

CEO of Heritage Development Partners, and investor in Roosevelt/Clark

STATE GOVERNMENT TIE

Former director of Central Management Services

NAME

Ed Wynn

TIE TO REZKO

Heritage lawyer

STATE GOVERNMENT TIE

Former general counsel of CMS

Sources: State records, court filings, corporate reports


9 posted on 06/16/2010 5:59:37 PM PDT by maggief
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To: STARWISE; Jet Jaguar; NorwegianViking; ExTexasRedhead; HollyB; FromLori; ...

The list, ping


10 posted on 06/16/2010 6:12:29 PM PDT by Nachum (The complete Obama list at www.nachumlist.com)
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To: RummyChick

You are right about Trump kissing Blago’s rear. I remember one episode where Trump was commiserating about Blago’s refusal to single out anyone for firing in case a baseball fan or ethnic group might be on his jury. That was just weird.


11 posted on 06/16/2010 6:13:25 PM PDT by lovesdogs
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To: lovesdogs

He did that more than once. He might have even done it on the finale but I can’t remember.

I have to say that Blago could have thrown Bret Michaels under the bus and he didn’t - and got fired.

But if you saw that episode, there was another really really strange thing about it.

He was acting like a total imbecile when it came to using technology. I still wonder if that is going to play into his defense some kind of way.

I still roll my eyes at the way he was trying to type on a keyboard. (or maybe that was a different episode)


12 posted on 06/16/2010 6:24:06 PM PDT by RummyChick
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To: maggief

Good grief Maggie....There are so many inner ties the entire city of Chicago may fall into Lake Michigan if someone pulls the right thread.


13 posted on 06/16/2010 6:32:15 PM PDT by hoosiermama (ONLY DEAD FISH GO WITH THE FLOW.......I am swimming with Sarahcudah! Sarah has read the tealeaves.)
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To: maggief

Are you suggesting that Tony Rezko or Barack Hussein Obama are possibly less than honest?


14 posted on 06/16/2010 6:36:37 PM PDT by TommyDale (Independent - I already left the GOP because they were too liberal)
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To: TommyDale

Suggesting???
A few freepers (Maggie included) have collected a few dots to connect re: Chicago Crime.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/bloggers/2151323/posts?page=1

If we have all this information connected just think what the FBI has with all their wiretaps and “squealers”!


15 posted on 06/16/2010 6:48:00 PM PDT by hoosiermama (ONLY DEAD FISH GO WITH THE FLOW.......I am swimming with Sarahcudah! Sarah has read the tealeaves.)
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To: hoosiermama

I’m sorry you missed my sarcasm.


16 posted on 06/16/2010 6:49:27 PM PDT by TommyDale (Independent - I already left the GOP because they were too liberal)
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To: STARWISE

He was just a guy who lived in his neighborhood...right next door, in fact.


17 posted on 06/16/2010 6:58:36 PM PDT by Terry Mross
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To: TommyDale

We Hoosiers take Chicago politics seriously. LOL


18 posted on 06/16/2010 7:16:03 PM PDT by dforest
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To: indylindy

LOL! They can probably all be traced back to Frank Nitti and Al Capone.


19 posted on 06/16/2010 7:19:59 PM PDT by TommyDale (Independent - I already left the GOP because they were too liberal)
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To: STARWISE; AdmSmith; Berosus; bigheadfred; blueyon; Convert from ECUSA; dervish; ...
...an associate of political fund-raiser Tony Rezko testified that Rezko asked him to write a $10,000 check to Friends of Obama.
Same guy, same testimony, earlier in the week was framed as a Republican corruption problem.
20 posted on 06/16/2010 7:41:27 PM PDT by SunkenCiv ("Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others." -- Otto von Bismarck)
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To: STARWISE

“The president is accused of no wrongdoing, and his campaign long ago returned contributions linked to the now convicted Rezko.”

Tony Rezko, a slumlord who was recently convicted of 16 federal crimes in connection with extorting bribes from people seeking Illinois government business, and is awaiting sentencing

“Rezko did some fund-raising for Obama and bought property next door to the Obama’s Hyde Park home.”

Actually, Rezko, acting through his wife Rita, bought the mansion’s side yard (it has no back yard) for $625,000 with the intention of quietly allowing the Obama family to use it. Until Chicago newspapers reported Rezko’s involvement, Senator Obama paid his gardening service to cut the grass in the 7,500-square-foot yard.

At the time Rezko bought the yard, he has claimed in court papers that he had “no income, negative cash flow, no liquid assets, no unencumbered assets [and] is significantly in arrears on many of his obligations.” How, then, did Rezko come up with the $125,000 downpayment to buy the side yard that the Obamas were going to use?’

Rezko’s wife closed on the the side yard on June 15, 2005–the same day Obama closed on the house. A few weeks earlier, Illinois state records show that $3.5 million was loaned to Rezko by a Panamanian company owned by a Iraqi-British businessman, Nadhmi Auchi.

I’m just sayin’


21 posted on 06/16/2010 8:32:05 PM PDT by jedgarlives
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To: jedgarlives

Nadhmi Auchi:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2003/nov/15/uk.economy

Another convicted felon in the mix.

Obama Rezko property appraiser:

“The real estate specialist, Kenneth J. Conner, said bank officials replaced an appraisal review he prepared on the property and FBI agents were investigating in late 2007 whether the Rezko-Obama deal was proper.

“Agents and I talked about payoff, bribe, kickback for a long time, though it took them only a short number of minutes of talking with me while looking at the appraisal to acknowledge what they already seemed to know: The Rezko lot was grossly overvalued,” Mr. Conner told The Washington Times Monday.

“Rezko paid the asking price on the same day Obama paid $300,000 less than the asking price to the same seller for his adjacent mansion,” he said. “This begs the question of payoff, bribe, kickback.”

In a wrongful-termination complaint filed last month in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Mr. Conner said his appraisal of the Rezko property, held in Rita Malki Rezko’s name, was replaced with a higher one and he was fired when he questioned the document.”

Excerpt: http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com/2008/11/fbi-questioning-obamarezko-deal.html

I’m just sayin”


22 posted on 06/16/2010 8:44:02 PM PDT by jedgarlives
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To: jedgarlives

Yeah ...


23 posted on 06/16/2010 8:57:13 PM PDT by STARWISE (The overlords are in place .. we are a nation under siege .. pray, hunker down & go Galt)
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To: STARWISE

Obastard and everyone around his is rotten to the core.


24 posted on 06/16/2010 9:07:29 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (The US will not die with a whimper. It will die with thundering applause from the left.)
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To: jedgarlives

The property was a full lot. So Rezko bribed Urkle with twice the land he would have gotten with his house.


25 posted on 06/16/2010 11:25:14 PM PDT by arrogantsob
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To: STARWISE
Even though -0 returned these monies when Rezko was convicted, is it conceivable that he didn't know his buddy, Rezko, who he knew was a documented pay-to-player like himself, was getting big $$$ for his campaign from the typical Chicago corruption?

Why does returning it when it became politically expedient matter? The fact that he received it in the first place is what should be legally important.

26 posted on 06/17/2010 2:46:08 AM PDT by Bellflower (If you are left DO NOT take the mark of the beast and be damned forever.)
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To: Bellflower
"Why does returning it when it became politically expedient matter? The fact that he received it in the first place is what should be legally important. "

Compare it to the shoplifter in a store. They get caught at the door with stolen merchandise. Are they allowed to just give back the item and walk away with no prosecution?

27 posted on 06/17/2010 4:33:58 AM PDT by TommyDale (Independent - I already left the GOP because they were too liberal)
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To: STARWISE

Blogs is a wonderful gift to the disclosure of the Corruption of the Entire United States Government by the
DEMORATS!


28 posted on 06/17/2010 5:48:58 AM PDT by True Republican Patriot (May GOD Continue to BLESS Our Greatest President :George W. Bush!!)
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