Obama Busted? $100,000 State Money to Campaign Aid – Chicago Sun Times VIDEO

CHICAGO SUN TIMES USES FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT TO OBTAIN DOCUMENTS

SEE THE INVESTIGATIVE VIDEO Visit the site – see the work that cost $100,000  http://www.suntimes.com/news/watchdogs/1184049,CST-NWS-watchdog25.article

Obama grant being probed

September 25, 2008

$100,000 DEAL | State to charity: What happened to garden money, other cash?

A $100,000 state grant for a botanic garden in Englewood that then-state Sen. Barack Obama awarded in 2001 to a group headed by a onetime campaign volunteer is now under investigation by the Illinois attorney general amid new questions, prompted by Chicago Sun-Times reports, about whether the money might have been misspent.

The garden was never built. And now state records obtained by the Sun-Times show $65,000 of the grant money went to the wife of Kenny B. Smith, the Obama 2000 congressional campaign volunteer who heads the Chicago Better Housing Association, which was in charge of the project for the blighted South Side neighborhood.

Smith wrote another $20,000 in grant-related checks to K.D. Contractors, a construction company that his wife, Karen D. Smith, created five months after work on the garden was supposed to have begun, records show. K.D. is no longer in business.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan — a Democrat who is supporting Obama’s presidential bid — is investigating “whether this charitable organization properly used its charitable assets, including the state funds it received,” Cara Smith, Madigan’s deputy chief of staff, said Wednesday.

In addition to the 2001 grant that Obama directed to the housing association as a “member initiative,” the not-for-profit group got a separate $20,000 state grant in 2006.

Madigan’s office has notified Obama’s presidential campaign of the probe, which was launched this week. But Obama’s actions in awarding the money are not a focus of the investigation, Smith said.

Questions about the grant, though, come as spending on local pet projects has become an issue in Obama’s campaign against John McCain.

Obama and Kenny Smith announced the “Englewood Botanic Garden Project” at a January 2000 news conference at Englewood High School. Obama was in the midst of a failed bid to oust South Side Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush for a seat in Congress. The garden — planned near and under L tracks between 59th Place and 62nd Place — fell outside of Obama’s Illinois Senate district but within the congressional district’s borders.

Obama vowed to “work tirelessly” to raise $1.1 million to help Smith’s organization turn the City of Chicago-owned lot into an oasis of trees and paths. But Obama lost the congressional race, no more money was raised, and today the garden site is a mess of weeds, chunks of concrete and garbage. The only noticeable improvement is a gazebo.

In a previous interview, Smith said the state grant money was legitimately spent, mostly on underground site preparation.

But no one ever took out construction permits required for such work, city records show. And a contractor who Smith said did most of the work told a reporter all he did was cut down trees and grade the site with a Bobcat.

Citing the garden’s failure to take root, NeighborSpace — an umbrella group for dozens of community gardens citywide — moved Sept. 9 to return the site to the city. Its action followed a July 11 Sun-Times report on the grant.

Obama spokesman Michael Ortiz said Wednesday the senator’s staff in Washington will monitor the Madigan probe and an additional review under way by Gov. Blagojevich’s administration to make sure “the taxpayer funds allocated for the construction of the garden are recuperated from CBHA if the agencies determine that the funds were not properly spent.” Obama’s goal is to ensure the site “be used in a way that benefits the community and that any taxpayer dollars allocated are spent wisely,” Ortiz said.

The relationship between Smith and Obama dates to at least 1997, when Obama wrote a letter that Smith used to help the housing association win city funding for an affordable-housing development near the garden site. Plans called for more than 50 homes; a dozen ultimately were built.

Smith also has donated $550 to Obama campaign funds.

The Sun-Times learned about Karen Smith’s involvement in the project through an Aug. 12 Freedom of Information Act response from a lawyer for Blagojevich¹s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The department, according to the lawyer, had ³discovered² 52 pages of ³additional documents² ommitted from an initial response in May to a Sun-Times¹ Freedom of Information Act request about the grant. 

Neither Smith nor his wife has been accused of any wrongdoing. Smith and his lawyer did not return repeated calls seeking comment.

In an interview in July, Smith said he was never able to raise the money needed for the garden. But the state grant awarded by Obama was spent properly, he said, on the underground work, with most of the work done by a contractor whose name Smith got wrong.

The Sun-Times tracked down the contractor, Rodolfo Marin, in Austin, Texas, where he now lives.

“What I was hired for was: Clean up the area and cut the trees — that’s all,” Marin said. He said he rented a Bobcat — a sort of small bulldozer — for the project.

And how much did Smith pay him? “If he spent about $3,000 with me, that was too much.”

Iraqi Foreign Minister: “I hope financial crisis doesn’t lead to Troop Withdrawal”

Iraqi FM: Economic Crisis Could Affect U.S. Troops

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hoshyar Zebari  —  Iraq’s foreign minister says “there is a new world now” because of the global financial crisis and he hopes it won’t lead to an immediate withdrawal of the 146,000 American troops in his country.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said a precipitous withdrawal could have consequences for the country and the region that everyone would regret afterward.

Zebari is due to meet Saturday with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in New York, where he was attending the U.N. General Assembly’s annual ministerial meeting.

He said he didn’t have any indications that the U.S. administration was thinking about pushing for a speedier exit from Iraq because of the financial meltdown.

But this is the logic of the dance,” Zebari told the AP on Friday. “Nobody anticipated this major crisis, and still there are ongoing efforts to overcome it.”

“This has nothing to do with liking this administration or that administration, or this president or that president”.

Asked whether he was concerned that the current financial crisis might lead the U.S. government to push for a speedier exit than Iraq might want, as a cost-saving measure, Zebari said: “I don’t know.” (MCAULEYSWORLD COMMENT: Thats right – the IRAQIS don’t want the US to leave now)

“We hope it would not have a dramatic impact to cause … drastic and calculated decisions that everybody would regret afterwards,” he said.

By drastic and calculated, was he referring to an immediate withdrawal?

Exactly, immediate precipitous withdrawal irrespective of any consequences,” Zebari said. “I think there is high stakes for everybody involved in the region, that every administration will take account of.”

Zebari described the security situation in Iraq as “fragile.”

We’ve turned the corner against terrorism, against preventing the country from falling into civil war or sectarian war or division. I think we’ve passed that,” he said.

But he said the security gains must be augmented by political reconciliation, economic benefits for the people, provision of services and better governance.

And the pace is slow, as you’ve seen in the past, so that’s why people think they are not solid enough and they could be reversed.”

CLEARLY, THE IRAQIS DISAGREE WITH OBAMA’S PROPOSALS FOR IRAQ.

VIDEO: ACORN To Get Bailout Money – Starting The Next Mortgage Crisis Today

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Re-Seeding the Housing Mess – Bailout Money To ACORN 

Money Won’t Go To Repay Taxpayors 

Taxpayers are naturally suspicious that political insiders and contributors on Wall Street are going to make out like bandits once Washington starts spending the $700 billion in the financial market rescue. But Democrats have already decided to spin off potentially billions of taxpayer dollars from the bailout fund to their own political buddies — not on Wall Street but on nearby K Street.

The House and Senate Democratic drafts contain an indefensible and well-hidden provision. It would mandate that at least 20% (MY READING OF THE LANGUAGE INDCIATES THAT ALL OF THE MONEY WILL GO TO THESE ORGANIZATIONS) of any profit realized from the sale of each troubled asset purchased under the Paulson plan be deposited in either the Housing Trust Fund or the Capital Magnet Fund. Only after these funds get their cut of the profits are “all amounts remaining . . . paid into the Treasury for reduction of the public debt.”

Here’s the exact, amazing language from the Democratic proposal, breaking out how the money would be divided and dispensed:

“Deposits. Not less than 20% of any profit realized on the sale of each troubled asset purchased under this Act shall be deposited as provided in paragraph (2).  (This poorly drafted language does not provide a cap – just “not less than 20%” – this is what you get when you “rush” and “cobble” legislation together you get “crap” like this.) 

Use of Deposits. 65% shall be deposited into the Housing Trust Fund established under section 1338 of the Federal Housing Enterprises Regulatory Reform Act . . . ; and 35% shall be deposited into the Capital Magnet Fund . . . (EXCUSE ME BUT 35% + 65% = 100%, and with no “cap” specified above there could well be nothing left to deposit into the Treasury under the paragraph below. 

“Remainder Deposited in the Treasury. All amounts remaining after payments under paragraph (1) shall be paid into the General Fund of the Treasury for reduction of the public debt.”

What we have here essentially are a pair of government slush funds created in July as part of the Economic Recovery Act that pump tax dollars into the coffers of low-income housing advocacy groups, such as Acorn.

Acorn, one of America’s most militant left-wing “community activist groups,” is spending $16 million this year to register Democrats to vote in November. In the past several years, Acorn’s voter registration programs have come under investigation in Ohio, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri and Washington, while several of their employees have been convicted of voter fraud.

Along with other potential recipients of these funds, including the National Council of La Raza and the Urban League, Acorn has promoted laws like the Community Reinvestment Act, which laid the foundation for the house of cards built out of subprime loans. Thus, we’d be funneling more cash to the groups that helped create the lending mess in the first place.

This isn’t the first time this year that Democrats have tried to route money for fixing the housing crisis into the bank accounts of these community activist groups. The housing bill passed by Congress in July also included a tax on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to raise an estimated $600 million annually in grants for these lobbying groups. When Fannie and Freddie went under, the Democrats had to find a new way to fill the pipeline flowing tax dollars into the groups’ coffers.

This is a crude power grab in a time of economic crisis. Congress should insist that every penny recaptured from the sale of distressed assets be dedicated to retiring the hundreds of billions of dollars in public debt that will be incurred, or passed back to taxpayers who will ultimately underwrite the cost of the bailout.

The idea that special-interest groups on the left or right should get a royalty payment for monies that are repaid to the Treasury is a violation of the public trust. We’re told the White House and House Republicans are insisting that the Acorn fund be purged from the bailout bill. The Paulson plan is supposed to get us out of this problem, not start it over again.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122247015469280723.html?mod=rss_opinion_main

Contact your Congressperson And Senators NOW – Tell them to vote NO.

Contact Your Senators Here:  http://www.emailyoursenator.com/senators.html  Click on your Senators, Select the Contact Folder and then  click on the email address.

Contact Congresspeople: http://www.house.gov/zip/ZIP2Rep.html You’ll need your zip  code

McCauleysweblog: The following Articles describe the role of “political ideology” in the Financial Crisis – How Politics fueled the crisis:

Professor Stan Liebowitz: The Real Scandal – http://www.nypost.com/seven/02052008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/the_real_scandal_243911.htm?page=0

Professor Thomas J DiLorenzo: The CRA Scam and its Defenders: http://www.mises.org/story/2963

John R Lott, Jr : Analysis – Reckless Mortgages Brought Financial Market To Its Knees http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,424945,00.html

Infamous Video of Committee Meeting on Fannie Reformhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MGT_cSi7Rs&eurl=http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2008/09/devastating-dems-refuse-to-reform.html

VIDEO: Mortgage Meltdown Warnings Started in 2001

GSEs refers to Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac.

Why trust the word of the people who now say “we had no idea” when they tell us “we have to do the bailout” and spend $700 Billion of taxpayer money.

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