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Monday, December 03, 2007

Andy Martin on yet another Chicago scandal involving Barack Obama

Executive Editor

“Factually Correct, Not
Politically Correct”




(CHICAGO)(December 3, 2007) During the 1970’s I had several good friends in the Chicago Sun-Times (and Daily News) newsroom. I’d often stop by to chat when I walked home. Off in one corner of the newsroom was the legendary Chicago columnist Mike Royko. Royko had his own cube, as well as an assistant. He was newsroom royalty and he probably kept the Daily News from folding sooner than it did.

Royko was not an easy man to know, and we never became close, but he had Chicago street smarts that came from the City News Bureau as well as the Bureau of Hard Knocks (and Bureau of Hard Drinking). I can say without fear of contradiction that Royko would have loved writing about our own homegrown presidential phony, Barack Obama.

Royko would have fulminated at the way an outstanding Sun-Times expose last week was buried by the national press.,CST-NWS-watchdog29.article

Sun-Times reporter Tim Novak unearthed not only a new Obama scandal on November 29th, he unearthed the arrogance and “L’etat c’est moi” demeanor that characterize Obama’s real attitude towards ethics in government: “If I do it, there’s no conflict of interest.”

One of Royko’s favorite expressions was “if you lie down with dogs, you catch fleas.” When I began writing about Obama three years ago I had Royko’s maxim in my mind. Obama had been too close to too many sleazy Chicago politicians for him to be clean. Indeed. Mike Royko, meet Barack Obama.

Obama worked for a law firm in Chicago. One of the name partners (Allison Davis) in the firm of Davis, Miner & Barnhill left the firm to enter “real estate development.” Davis’ partner? Indicted wheeler-dealer Tony Rezko, who later financed part of Obama’s million dollar residence.

Davis came in front of Obama when Obama sat on the board of the Woods Fund. Obama voted to give his former law partner $1 million, for which there has been no accounting. Part of the money may have been funneled into a deal where Davis cleared $700,000 in “development fees.”

When Novak asked Obama’s campaign about the Woods Fund grant, there was no response. Except.

Except the defense that Obama now claims that “It’s not a conflict of interest to do what’s right for your community." Royko would have gone into orbit over that remark.

Barry Obama, meet the late Mayor Richard M. Daley, who always felt corruption in the service of “community” was a good deed. And if you didn’t agree with him you could “kiss [the late Mayor’s] mistletoe.” Christmas was always, and always is, in season where “honest graft” is concerned in Chicago.

And so, Royko would have written, Obama hung around with bad characters in Chicago politics, and he became tainted beneath the surface, even if they allowed him to prance and preen as pristine on the surface.

On the matter of public integrity, there is no “good for your community” exception. A conflict of interest is a conflict of interest. The very reason we have conflict-of-interest laws is because individuals tend to have clouded vision when acting on business issues where they are related to the principals or participants.

Despite being a self-styled “constitutional scholar,” Obama still hasn’t learned that a conflict of interest—especially a $1 million conflict of interest—is a conflict of interest and should have been disclosed.

When the Daily News folded, Royko eventually moved to the Chicago Tribune. He died early. But his spirit lives. And, in so far as Obama is concerned, if I were able to wander into Royko’s cube-in-the-sky, I know exactly what he would growl. “If you lie down with dogs, for sure you’re going to catch fleas. Obama’s caught more than a few.”

Amazingly, the national media have completely ignored the Sun-Times’ story on Obama’s sleazy conflict of interest involving his former law partner. I guess where Obama is concerned, he is allowed to be the sole judge of his conflicts of interest. Or, as Bill Clinton once said, “it all depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is.” I guess it just depends on what your definition of “conflict” is. And “interest” is. Obama and Clinton. Perfect together. Over to you, Mike.


Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world events with forty years of experience. He is currently a candidate for U. S. Senator from Illinois. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Web sites:;


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