Today in the Rezko trial, Barack Obama, as a state senator, was consulted on the makeup of a state board...
...at the center of controversy in the Tony Rezko trial. The defense showed a 2003 memo to jurors today listing Obama's name, among others, including Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, as having discussed the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board.
Among the recommendations on that memo included Stuart Levine, who will act as the government's chief witness in the case. Levine has admitted to taking part in a kickback scheme while he served as a member of the board.
I will post that memo later today when it is released. The government has accused Rezko of stacking that board to ensure that Levine and others would vote his way to make money. The memo, which was an email from Matthew Pickering, states that Pickering and David Wilhelm recommended four people to the planning board and also supported the reappointment of current members, including Levine.
Also today, Jill Hayden, who headed boards and commissions for Gov. Blagojevich testified that Rezko or "T.R." as she said he was referred to in the office, held powerful sway over appointments to 300 boards. She said she dealt with Rezko often and that his recommendations, more so than others, usually stuck.
An addendem: Obama's involvement in this issue was in helping craft legislation that recreated the health planning board. The board was changed in 2003, downsized from 15 members to 9 and extended for five more years, among other changes. Obama was one of eight people to work on the legislation. The memo does not indicate Obama was involved in recommending board members.