The Corner

Bigger Than Ayers

I’ve stayed largely silent on the William Ayers controversy because, while associating with someone of that nature is completely reprehensible, I’m not altogether convinced it’s a poltically effective attack. (I also wish McCain was putting a better economic message on the table right now as well.) Further, if associating with criminals is a problem — there are more relevant associations with ties to his campaign that everybody ought to be concerned with. 

I’ve been screaming into the abyss for some time about Alexi Giannoulias, the Illinois state treasurer that Obama endorsed when he ran for office despite no previous political experience, who has been personally mixed up with organized crime via business dealings with his family’s bank. Well, guess what — this little nugget turned up in a column in the Chicago Sun-Times:

Sneed hears rumbles political fund-raiser/fixer Tony Rezko, who is now singing sweetly to the feds from his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, has been talking about his “dealings” with a Chicago bank, which has political connections.

Now that’s throw away item in a political gossip column, so I would suggest taking it with a grain of salt. But if there’s any truth to it the odds that Rezko is singing about Giannoulias’ Broadway Bank are exceedingly high. If Giannoulias turns out to be in legal trouble again, there’s no way Obama can disatance himself like he has with Ayers. Giannoulias has been out raising lots of money for his campaign, and was even given a speaking slot at the Democratic convention in August.

So Obama chose to have him associated with his campaign. This was well after it became public that Giannoulias had loaned $11.8 million to Michael Giorango, a convicted bookmaker and prostitution promoter. Giannoulias first denied he personally approved the loan, then Chicago Tribune reported that Giannoulias personally oversaw $11.8 million in mortgage loans to Giorango in 2005. Then Giannoulias said the money had not gone to finance Casinos for organized crime. He appears to have lied again: “But newly obtained records show that $3.6 million of the recent loans were used by Giorango and another convicted felon to acquire a casino boat marina in Myrtle Beach, S.C.,” reported the Tribune.

It’s not like the Obama campaign can credibly say they didn’t know about this before he was out raising money for the campaign. But I’d like to believe major news agencies might want to pull a few reporters out of dumpsters in Wasilla (probably starting to get really cold up there anyway) and get them to Chicago to look into a potential Rezko-Giannoulias connection toot sweet. Maybe there’s nothing there, but it’s worth looking into right?

I can dream, can’t I?


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