One of the least reported aspects of Obama’s past and his ties to
corruption and dubious business associations is the Robert Blackwell
“legal retainer” in conjunction with Dan Shomon. The LA Times broke
this story back in April 2008. They referred to Dan Shomon as an
Obama campaign aide. This blog, Citizen Wells, dug deeper into the
role of Dan Shomon. Dan Shomon was actually Obama’s Campaign Manager
at one time and he was also a lobbyist. Dan Shomon’s name is at
the top of an announcement of Robert Blackwell being on Governor
Rod Blagojevich’s team. Blagojevich was named often during the Tony
Rezko trial and has been the subject of a recall attempt in Illinois.
Robert Blackwell contacted this blog shortly after we presented
our article in April 2008.
David Freddoso has written a new book, “The Case Against Barack Obama.
Freddoso, to his credit, writes about the Dan Shomon connection. He
does not cover Shomon as well as this blog so we recommend that you
search on Shomon here and learn more. Here are some exerpts from
“The Case Against Barack Obama”:
“Perhaps the most surprising story about Barack obama and money is one that no one talks about at all. It involves ping-pong. it is the story of how state Senator Obama was paid more than $100,000 for legal work, then helped his client’s company get $320,000 in taxpayer grants.
For some reason, only the Los Angeles Times has examined the story of Robert Blackwell Jr. and the government grants he received after he invested in Barack Obama.
Obama writes in The Audacity of Hope that after his failed congressional run in 2000, he was “more or less broke.” His family would make $240,000 that year, but they had large debts, and he had just loaned his losing campaign $9,500 and maxed out his credit card. To keep his family afloat, he writes, he went back after the election to his law firm, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, which he had neglected throughout 2000 (he received no income from the firm that year). He planned to do some legal work to supplement his modest $58,000 salary as a state senator.
In 2001, while serving as a state senator, Obama would earn $98,158 from his law practice. Of that money, $80,000 came from a single client – Electronic Knowledge Interchange (EKI)-which had put him on a $8,000 monthly retainer. This lasted fourteen months and netted Obama $112,000. The company was owned by one Robert Blackwell Jr., a friend of Obama’s since about 1995.
Months after Obama received his final payment from EKI, he wrote a request on Illinois Senate letterhead and sent it to state officials for a $50,000 tourism grant to a company named Killerspin. This company was also owned by Blackwell.
Killerspin runs ping-pong tournaments and sells ping-pong gear. After Obama’s original request, Killerspin received a $20,000 grant for a ping-pong tournament. Over the next three years, Obama’s aide Dan Shoman-who was working for the senator part-time and part-time for Blackwell-would help Killerspin get a $200,000 state grant for its 2003 tournament and a $100,000 state grant for its 2004 tournament, for a total of $320,000.
So Blackwell’s company paid Senator Obama a large sum of money. Blackwell’s other company received almost three times as much in state grants, with help from Obama and his aide.
The Times reports that Obama, in his required legal financial disclosures, buried his six-figure financial conflict of interest amid a list of hundreds of other clients represented by his law firm. He did not mention that the majority of his 2001 income came from EKI-nor was he required to do so under Illinois law. Moreover, the Times piece notes:
The business arrived at an especially fortuitious time because, as the law firm’s senior partner, Judson Miner, put it, “it was a very dry period here,” meaning that the ebb and flow of cases left little work for Obama and cash was tight.”
This corruption connection is listed on the Petition to Impeach, expel Senator Obama: