Chicago Sun-Times
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Sweet column: Money Obama now spurns helped launch White House bid.


PACs helped launch bid

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) used campaign donations generated by PACs and lobbyists to bankroll the birth of his White House bid -- though he's banning that money for his presidential 2008 race.

Obama's conversion to a laudable higher standard does not negate that money from sources he now disdains helped paved the way for his kickoff in Springfield on Saturday.

Obama has been raising campaign cash for two political pots -- Obama 2010 Inc., his Senate re-election committee, and the Hopefund, another war chest. Obama, until his recent conversion on the eve of his presidential run, took more than $1 million from political action committees.

An examination of disbursements from the two funds reveals how Obama was able to use legal loopholes commonly used by other presidential contenders to pay for White House testing-of-the-water expenses:

• • $3,214.95 on Dec. 20 to the political consulting firm of Hildebrand Tewes. Steve Hildebrand starting helping Obama last year in Iowa, the state with the crucial leadoff presidential vote. Paul Tewes is now Obama's Iowa campaign manager and Hildebrand will be an important adviser.

• • More than $100,000 in consulting fees in 2005 and 2006 to the Chicago-based AKP Message and Media firm. Firm founder David Axelrod is one of Obama's most influential strategists; he will make his ads and shape his message. Obama's AKP partner David Plouffe is Obama's campaign manager. Obama worked out of the AKP Washington offices -- as did other Obama presidential staff -- after announcing his exploratory bid a few weeks ago.

• • $1,590 in December for hotels and food for staffers who helped stage Obama's December visit to Manchester, New Hampshire -- the state with the first-in-the nation primary. He also made a $2,500 donation to the New Hampshire Democratic party.

• • $51,000 last August to Obama polling firm Harstad Strategic Research for a "Survey on Health Care Reform." Harstad will share polling duties for Obama's presidential bid. Obama is making health care coverage a key White House theme.

• • Thousands of dollars in 2005 and 2006 to pay the salary of professional fund-raisers who will be transferred to the presidential payroll.

Bill Burton, an Obama spokesman, said, "taking the highly selective view of any finance report would allow you to make any conclusion you would like to make." Burton said Obama made the decision to ban the special interest money recently, just as presidential fund-raising was beginning.

• • A side note, the records also show that Obama paid his publisher, Random House, $24,162 for copies of his book Audacity of Hope to give as gifts.


Being a savvy politician he probably decided the conversion would be a nice way to show his difference knowing no one would take him up on his offer.

I'm not sure what the point is here...

He's being true to his word to try to clean up the political process, yet you seem to imply hypocrisy.

I see it as just the opposite.

Just sayin'...

The man is who he is; someone who supports corruption and the COVER-UP of the torture of more than 200 African- American men ,women and boys as young as 13 years of age, at the hands of Jon Burge and other Chicago Police officers, these officer used electric shocks treatment to the victims genital areas and sufocation.

Obama is in the bed with Mayor Daley, who was the Cook County States Attorney and Cook County States Attorney Devine are the elected officials who covered it up.

This man is a chamillion.

Wallace" Gator" Bradley
Urban Translator

As much as I respect my long time friend Wallace "Gator" Bradley and the fact the calls me "Leadership", I must differ with him on Obama and take the lead in justifying support for the Obama for President Campaign.

Mayor Daley was States Attorney because of Mayor Washington who told us that "We were NOT his friend" if we did not support his Dream Ticket in 1986 that included Daley. After many hard fought arguments, the Mayor's choice of Daley prevailed, but it was more important to still support Mayor Washington's reelection in 1987
despite how he rejected the wishes of his core base of Black leaders who didnt want the Mayor to support Daley.

But that same Black leadership then and now have yet to stimulate enough voters to beat Daley although there are more than enough registered Black voters alone that outnumber the amount of votes that Daley has been reelected with over and over.

I paid more attention to what Obama DID NOT say in his "personal" endorsement of Mayor Daley. He did not offer any financial contribution, nor did he offer any street campaign workers. He said he was offering his personal vote for the Mayor. I did not like it, but it also reflects the class divide between the poor Black community and the middle and uppor class of the Black community, who are more concerned about their issues versus the poor that have been the subject of police tortue.

The bigger issue is that the campaign of Obama can be the new engine that re-directs U.S. money back into the U.S. neighborhoods that they come from for the people in this country, etc.

I disagreed with Mayor Washington's support of Daley, but I still supported his reelection. I disagreed with Obama's endorsement of Daley, but I still support the Presidential Campaign of Barack Obama.

Mark so what your saying is that all of the guys who got tortured sent to death row some maybe even killed meant nothing, Daley was the States Attorney and Obama supposedly leader of the community turns a blind eye to this and just because he might start the great society all over again(even though he has NO chance of winning and we both KNOW that), which ruined inner city neighborhoods in the 60's like Austin as an example, we should forget about this miscarriage of justice, Harold had no idea that burge was doing this but Daley as SA had the jurisdiction and never followed up on it, so thats what makes me and Wallace say Obama is a phony, stands for nothing and what about the Rezko dealings with this hypocrite? I disagreed with Harold supporting Daley, but no one can prove Harold had knowledge or the jurisdiction on Burge, can we say the same about Rich Daley? Never sell your soul to meaningless coward who will abandon you when you need him, he governs by polling. If it is politically convienent he will abondon all of us. History repeats itself.

I have marched in this city and across the country against police brutality. I have written numrous commentaries challenging our community on this issue, and it STILL bothers me that there are more White people who have helped on an issue that affects more Black people, but thats another story.

I have known Barack Obama when we he first came to Chicago and we worked closely together on the city-wide voter registration campaign that put over 100,000 people on the books.

Mayor Washington took the easy way out even when people told him that people like former Police Chiefs Leroy Martin, Terry Hillard, and other high profile veteran Black police helped cover up police brutality, and their names are in the Burge report now with no conistant public scrutiny.

I worked in prison ministries and kept regular correspondence with many who were unfairly concentrated.

I did not vote for Mayor Daley in '86 and have never voted. Black people who had the power to publicly challenge the Mayor and who could have instructed the majority Black voters to split their tickets as we did with Carey versus Hanrahan DID NOT. So some of them (not including Gator) can't come to me 20 years later when their leadership failed and want to blame everybody ewlse for their failure to defeat Daley then and now. They can hide behind Obama if they want, but there are enough registered Black voters today to defeat Daley and the Black power base with the major money eith support Daley, or have not lifted a finger to help Brown or Walls.

to Mark S.Allen: Burge was a THUG. I think we all agree on that. Remember, Richard Daley was the States Atty., Dick Devine his assistent, and Roland Burris the Attorney General. They ALL looked the other way. Sorry, I know you don't like hearing that but its the truth. Mark, except for Rev. Jakes, why was everybody relatively quiet when Latanya Haggarty was killed by Chicago Police and also Robert Russ? Please explain to me why Rev. Jackson was ranting and protesting all over New York City because of the Amadou Diallo tragedy at the hands of the NYPD, but very relaxed and quiet here. And he LIVES IN CHICAGO. Be honest, was there a different standard because Diallo was shot by four white policemen, whereas both Haggarty and Russ were shot by groups of black officiers? Also, because Chicago had a democratic mayor while New York City a republican mayor? I mean, if you look at the different reactions, you can't help but come to that conclusion.

I hear what everyone is saying and the bottom line is that I distrust all politicians! Anyone who turns away from crime and corruption is simply approving it. The question is not whether these men, who are supposed to be our leaders, are guilty the question is what are we going to do about it. We all know how politics works in Chicago; why do we accept it? My husband and I have protesed plenty and find that there are few people who have the courage to stand up to our corrupt politicians. If the world laughed at us when Bush was reelected, imagine what the country is thinking now that we've crowned Daley as monarch for life!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on February 9, 2007 5:31 AM.

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