“Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”
Los Angeles Times article
The Los Angeles Times, in an article dated April 27, 2008 reveals
that Obama received a $8,000 a month retainer from Robert Blackwell
for his technology firm, Electronic Knowledge Interchange,
for a total of $112,000. The following exerpts are from the LA times
“A few months after receiving his final payment from EKI, Obama sent a request on state Senate letterhead urging Illinois officials to provide a $50,000 tourism promotion grant to another Blackwell company, Killerspin.”
“With support from Obama, other state officials and an Obama aide who went to work part time for Killerspin, the company eventually obtained $320,000 in state grants between 2002 and 2004 to subsidize its tournaments.”
“But Obama portrays himself as a lawmaker dedicated to transparency and sensitive to even the appearance of a conflict of interest.”
“Killerspin’s owner, Blackwell, was a political supporter and friend as well. Both men lived on Chicago’s South Side. Blackwell, a savvy and successful entrepreneur, was one of the first donors to Obama’s early campaigns, including the state senator’s failed bid for a congressional seat in 2000. In the presidential race he is credited on Obama’s website with committing to raise $100,000 to $200,000 for Obama’s campaign.”
Read more here:
Classic Illinois ‘pay to play’
Andy Martin says ‘retainer’ by Robert Blackwell, Jr. was classic Illinois ‘pay to play’ and may have been criminal behavior. Read more here:
Robert Blackwell, EKI Consulting
Robert Blackwell responded with comments on this blog. Here is an exerpt:
“I hired Barack because I knew him and he was a very talented young lawyer.
Too bad that this story is such a distortion of the real truth.”
Governor Rod Blagojevich and Tony Rezko
Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois has been mentioned multiple times during the trial of Tony Rezko. Here are some exerpts from the Chicago Tribune coverage of the trial:
“Strong charges about pay-to-play politics in Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration have been hurled by prosecution star witness Stuart Levine in the federal corruption trial of the governor’s friend and fundraiser, Antoin “Tony” Rezko.
Levine has claimed that Rezko promised to help kill an administration reform plan for pension boards in exchange for Levine steering state pension business to contributors to the governor’s campaign. But under questioning from Rezko lawyer Joseph Duffy Tuesday, Levine acknowledged that he knew of no firms that actually got pension business in exchange for campaign cash.
Rezko is charged with working with Levine to corrupt the decisions of two state panels, including a $30 billion teacher’s pension fund, in an attempt to extort millions of dollars in kickbacks. Levine, a member of both boards, has pleaded guilty in the case.”
Robert Blackwell and Rod Blagojevich
The following is from a news release by EKI Consulting:
“BLACKWELL JR. NAMED TO ILLINOIS GOVERNOR’S TRANSITION TEAM
November 11, 2002
CHICAGO – Robert Blackwell Jr., CEO and founder of Electronic Knowledge Interchange Inc., has been named to the transition team of Governor-elect Rod Blagojevich.
Blackwell’s appointment to the 14-member group was announced at a downtown news conference. The transition team will advise Blagojevich on putting together his state government management operation. Blagojevich will be sworn into office on January 13 and the transition team meets next week. ”
“Blackwell Jr. also founded Killerspin L.L.C., a Table Tennis company whose mission is to make table tennis a major sport in the United States. Killerspin since its inception has dominated American Table Tennis, winning the North American Team Championships and numerous other titles. Killerspin is a manufacturer of table tennis equipment, media and apparel. ”
The full press release can be read here:
Obama, Robert Blackwell, Rod Blagojevich, Tony Rezko…….Hmmm.