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Obama Donates Questionable Funds

Posted on 1/23/2008 3:26:00 PM

Presidential candidate, Democrat Barack Obama is donating away more than $40,000 in charity. The sum comprises contributions made to Obama's party by Antoin "Tony" Rezko, who is involved in charges of corruption. Rezko is an estate developer and fast food mogul from Chicago. The donations were made by seven individuals to Obama's House and Senate campaigns. None of the money was intended for Obama' current presidential campaigns.

Bill Burton, Obama's spokesman, confirmed this in a statement to the press. "Recent public information has called into question contributions to the Obama campaign from a donor and fundraiser," he said. "It is the policy and practice of the campaign to review all such new information and dispose of questionable funds such as the potential illegal 'straw donations' that campaigns, like other presidential campaigns this cycle, must address as new facts emerge, " he added. Burton explained that, in keeping with practice in the circumstances, the funds were given away to charity.

Rezko has been a long time fundraiser for Obama. The charges against him relate to fraud, attempt to extortion, and money laundering. According to the prosecutors, Rezko received campaign money and payoffs from business houses intending to do business before two state boards. However, no charges for any wrongdoing have been brought against Obama.

Burton's disclosure came after a report in the Chicago Sun-Times, which identified Obama as the unnamed "political candidate" referred to in the document of the corruption charges against Rezko.

Part of the returned money included contributions amounting to $10,000 from three donors recognized by Obama's campaign as being associated with Rezko, namely Craig Morgan, Michel Malek, and Elie Maloof. Following charges being pressed against Rezko in October 2006, Obama donated $11,500 to charities.

The two other leading democrats, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards also had problems with fundraisers offering illegal donations. Clinton gave back $800,000 of donations from Norman Hsu, who has fraud charges against him. Also, Geoffrey Fieger, at one time Edwards' fundraiser,  Geoffrey Fieger was accused of illegal contributions. Edwards's campaign says it will decide on what to do after weighing the conclusion of the case.

 
 
 
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