Blago Releases 43 Subpoenas

After fighting to keep them secret, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s administration released 43  federal subpoenas on Friday, January 23, 2009 .

On December 8, 2008, the day before Blago was arrested on public corruption charges, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s office “sought ‘any and all documents, including notes, calendars, lists, correspondence, communications, logs, records, or other data, relating in any way to any of the following individuals and/or entities’”

Doug Ross calls it:

A veritable “who’s who” of Obama staffers, surrogates and affiliates were among those served with subpoenas. Put simply, within one week of President Barack Obama’s administration taking office, it is already under significant legal scrutiny that will — at a minimum — take precious time away from dealing with the country’s monumental economic and foreign policy challenges.

Among those served with subpoenas were:

*David Axelrod, Obama’s “Karl Rove” and the biggest surprise on the list. Obama’s team issued a report in December that said his staff had no “inappropriate contact” with Blago, so the inclusion of Axelrod is a bit of a shock.

*Valerie Jarrett, Blago’s “Senate Candidate 1”, a real estate management executive and political hack of the first order. Her ties to failed and fraudulent real estate deals in Chicago were the subject of numerous investigations and should have instantly disqualified her for any public office.

Rahm Emanuel was already deeply involved in the case with some reports describing as many as 21 conversations with Blago’s office during the period in question.

Tony Rezko, Obama’s first advocate, fundraiser and adviser, was convicted last year on numerous charges related to kickbacks, and is now awaiting sentencing. Rezko is “cooperating with authorities, FBI Agent Daniel Cain said in an affidavit.”

Here’s the rest on the list:

• Patricia Blagojevich, first lady
• River Realty, her former employer
• Friends of Blagojevich, the governor’s campaign committee
• Citizens for Blagojevich, his former committee
• Robert Blagojevich, the governor’s brother and campaign chairman
• Christopher Kelly, former adviser and fundraiser for governor
• Alonzo Monk, former Blagojevich chief of staff, now a lobbyist
• Milan Petrovic, lobbyist and campaign fundraiser
• John Wyma, former Blagojevich adviser, now a lobbyist
• Paul Rosenfeld, lobbyist
• J.B. Pritzker, wealthy Chicagoan whom Blagojevich might have considered to replace Obama in U.S. Senate
• Gery Chico, former Chicago school board president and one-time U.S. Senate candidate
• Doug Scofield, former Blagojevich adviser, now a consultant
• Scofield Communications
• Service Employees International Union
• Tom Balanoff, SEIU Illinois president
• Change to Win, an SEIU-affiliated activist group
• Sam Zell, owner of the Chicago Tribune
• Nils Larsen, an adviser to Zell
• The Chicago Tribune
• The Tribune Co., the newspaper’s parent company
• Michael Vondra, owner of asphalt and construction companies
• Gerald Krozel, vice president of a concrete company
• John Johnston, president of Balmoral Park racetrack
• Fred Yang, Washington, D.C.-based Blagojevich consultant
• Garin Hart Yang Research Group, Yang’s firm
• William Knapp, Washington, D.C.-based Blagojevich consultant
• Squire, Knapp & Dunn, Knapp’s firm
• Doug Sosnick, political consultant

Of special interest to me are the SEIU supoenas.

A quick primer: Former SDS radical Wade Rathke started ACORN, ( also under federal investigation) and SEIU Local 100. As you may know, the Weather Underground is an offshoot of the SDS, and Barack Obama is chummy with former Weather Underground leader, Bill Ayers. I suspect that Ayers and Rathke know each other fromtheir SDS days.

Marc Ambinder reported in September ’07 that Obama’s relationship with the SEIU was “close”:

SEIU’s members are temperamentally suited to Obama; he is a longtime friend of Chicago’s SEIU Local 880 and worked closely with the union as an organizer and later as a state legislator.

The Next Right reported on the  SEIU/ACORN/Obama connections last October:

Some coincidences are just too rich that you have to start drawing conclusions. Here are four facts that suggest that there might be a line between them:

  • Dale Rathke (Wade’s brother) embezzled money from ACORN totalling about $950k. Apparently, commitments have been made to return about $210k, for a total of $740k still missing.
  • Barack Obama’s campaign paid ACORN, via a political consulting affiliate, $830k, but ACORN says that they only received $80, leaving $750k unaccounted for.
  • Dale Rathke embezzled this money in the period of 1999-2000, when Barack Obama was running for US Congress with the backing of SEIU Local 880 and ACORN. SEIU Local 880 is basically ACORN controlled. Rathke even filed the LM-2 form with the Department of Labor in 2000, signing it as “Treasurer”, which I have previously written about.
  • Obama, ACORN, SEIU 880, and Rep. Danny Davis, appeared to act together in a number of local political engagements.

Here’s my question: Did SEIU Local 880 and/or ACORN use some or all of that embezzled money to fund operations for Obama’s Congressional race in 1999 and 2000?

The Service Employees International Union apparently acted as the intermediary between Blagojevich and the Obama camp.

The intermediary contact  has been identified as the subpoenaed Tom Balanoff:

Tom Balanoff  knows Obama from way back. Balanoff himself explains that he first met Obama in 1993 when Obama was just out of Harvard Law School. Balanoff’s cousins on the south side of Chicago introduced Obama to Balanoff. Balanoff says they met Obama while Obama was a community organizer there in the mid-1980s.

The Balanoff family – including now a judge, politicians, and lawyers – was deeply immersed in the anti-machine wing of Democratic party politics. The Balanoffs would have been critical allies for a young Obama, who was thinking of attempting to duplicate the successful mayoral campaign of his late hero, Harold Washington.

The Balanoffs had close ties to independent black activists, likely a result of their long association with the Communist Party that had such an important presence in black south side Chicago. They were one of the few prominent ethnic families to back Harold Washington, himself once a labor lawyer in Chicago with links to the CP.

This introduction led to a close relationship between Balanoff and Obama as Obama began his rise to political prominence. Balanoff spoke on Obama’s behalf at the Democratic National Convention and was instrumental in securing SEIU’s endorsement over the more clearly pro-union John Edwards during the campaign itself.


Doug Ross @ Journal makes a correction:

Blago’s communications with Axelrod, Jarrett, et. al. were the subject of subpoenas, not the parties themselves.


2 thoughts on “Blago Releases 43 Subpoenas

  1. You can’t tell me there’s no corrupt shenanigans in Obama’s past. The question is, if Fitzgerald catches wind of illegalities that implicate Obama…will he pursue them?


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