Barack Obama: Crook.

I think we've moved past "the appearance of impropriety."

By Leon H Wolf Posted in | | | | Comments (67) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

It appears that Barack Obama, allegedly decent guy and agent of "change" in Washington, requested an earmark in 2006 for $1 million taxpayer dollars for the hospital where his wife works. Said hospital, by the way, gave Michelle Obama a huge raise (nearly $200,000, more than doubling her salary) in 2005 after Barack got elected to the United States Senate. Now, I know that there are lots of ways to talk about transactions like this involving public officials - quid pro quo, etc., but I prefer to call a crook a crook and just say that we're dealing with good, old fashioned, public corruption here.

I am having an especially hard time distinguishing Obama's actions here from those of, say, Duke Cunningham, who is currently in prison. I suppose you might say that Obama injected some more efficiency into the process by eliminating the middle man, but while I'm a big fan of efficient markets, generally speaking, I happen to think that there should not be any sort of market at all for the votes of public officials.

Perhaps these silly notions of ethical propriety are what Obama intends to "change" if he is elected President. If that's the case, I'll take the status quo, thanks. Without the quid.

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White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, reported $991,296 in income in 2006, boosted by a $506,618 payout in advances and royalties for his books, according to returns.

The Obamas have four main sources of income:

• • Obama's Senate salary of $157,082.

• • Book income of $506,618. Obama's second book, "The Audacity of Hope" was released last fall and soared to the best seller lists.

• • Michelle Obama's income of $273,618 from the University of Chicago Hospitals. She made more in 2005 because of a signing bonus from the U. of C. given when she was promoted to vice president of community and external affairs in January 2005, just as Obama was sworn in as senator.

Tax returns from last year showed her total compensation in 2005 went from $122,000 to $317,000

Also included is Michelle Obama's income of $51,200 from TreeHouse Foods, where she has been on the board of directors since June 2005. This is coincidentally the same year Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in as Senator.

Its theft but the ill gotten gain had to go to a hospital ?
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

"we're not like Republicans! We get rich off doing favors with taxpayer money for different kinds of organizations!"

"No compromise with the main purpose, no peace till victory, no pact with unrepentant wrong." - Winston Churchill

that thinks making a profit of of running a health care business is worse than killing a baby.

That same party so unaware of cognitive dissidence that they won't even notice.

Just click here to add to the population of the McCain 2008 minicity, and make it grow!

is going to hang him with this. Although no one would care much about this hypocrisy if it was the general election, its a big enough deal that its could eat up 4-5 days of primary election season press. Even the most blinkered dems will see the utter hypocrisy and improriety in this.

She has yet to disclose her earmarks. Obama disclosed this himself.

Further, he can retort that she hasnt released the WH records or her tax returns.

All in all this is an act of transparency on the part of the senator...hardly similar to Duke Cunningham.

that he confessed to being a crook?

The Red Sox Republican: Burkeanism, Baseball, and Sundries.

Yes, Obama should be very worried. The fact that Hillary would be hypocritical for attacking him over this is meaningless. The Clintons are always hypocritical. She will drag him over the coals for this, much like she did over the Rezko situation. Rezko gave money to the Clintons, and both of them have had far worse scandals than the land deal Obama had. Remember Mr. Zhu, the $100,000 in cattle futures, etc?
Yet still the Clintons attacked Obama for being corrupt.

The Clintons are always shameless, and always corrupt. And now they will be able to drag Obama down into the gutter with them.

PS: I am disapointed with Obama. Although I would never vote for him, as he is way too liberal, I always thought he was basically an honest guy. But this, coupled with the Rezko situation, is beginning to make him look very suspect.

He's from the cesspool of American politics, Chicago. If you're not dirty in Chicago, you're not in office.

Gone 2500 years, still not PC.

the clintons are just as you say

politics ain't beanbag, esp. when a clinton is your opponent

Halls of Justice Painted Green, Money Talking.
Power Wolves Beset Your Door, Hear Them Stalking.

I can't take it anymore.
I'm going to bed and will pray for the Republic as I fall into slumber.
What a day!

quid pro quo = coincidence

"ubi est mecum?" (where's mine?)

(this was Mike Royko's suggested motto for the city)

But unless Obama has a deathwish he's gotta have an explanation handy for this.

Basically, I can't imagine any spin on this that would not sound even lamer than "it depends on what the definition of 'is' is."

The Red Sox Republican: Burkeanism, Baseball, and Sundries.

I guess he's Hoping voters Change the channel before a story on this comes out.

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"If we want to take this party back, and I think we can someday, let’s get to work." – Barry Goldwater

$5 says the drive-by media doesn't even mention it. Heck it's not even on Drudge. [as of 0207 UTC 3/13/08]

I don't expect the media to do us any favors, but they may do her one.

When her campaign catches wind of this, they're going to mention it. Certainly I think John McCain might make a passing mention, and once that happens the media will have to do a story on it.

Get out ahead of the story. I agree that it makes Obama look bad but it would have been even worse if it was dug up by some reporter.

Yeah, I know, I know. The thought that any investigative reporter would ever run a story unfavorable to Obama is a silly idea. It must be past my bedtime.

"$1 million for a hospital that had spent $90 million in uncompensated Medicare and Medicaid care is hardly inappropriate. In fact, the only thing that is inappropriate, in light of the free services this hospital has selflessly offered many American citizens, is that the amount was not higher."

I don't see that paragraph in there.

The Red Sox Republican: Burkeanism, Baseball, and Sundries.

the link provides certain facts, such as the $90 million in unreimbursed Medicaid/Medicare treatments

my quote was just my pretending to speak for obama as he defends himself

Republicans want to deny money to sick children and are bringing my family into it.

Completely predictable
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

evil and heartless is how anyone attacking him over this will be portrayed.

Also I don't know this hospital but might it be in a black neighborhood ? If so expect racist to be thrown in, because you are upset about poor dying black children getting aid.

You know the drill on this. We are Republicans we don't get to win just because we are right. The fact that Obama is a grasping pandering sleeze does not signify.

Like I tried to say, from the beginning Obama picked the right choice of a cutout. You just can't attack a hospital getting money
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777


Gone 2500 years, still not PC.


Unlike most posts I make here at RedState, I actually happen to know a bit about this subject. For the past 18 years I have worked with hospitals all over the country on issues such as executive compensation, among other things. My previous firm worked with University of Chicago Medical Center during Michelle's tenure there, though I did not personally work on this assignment.

It is my understanding that UCMC went through a comprehensive comp review of its senior and middle management executives, after which a number of execs saw adjusted comp packages. It is my understanding that Michelle was promoted from a Director to a Vice President, which resulted in the bulk of her comp increase. I can also confirm her higher comp is not out of line for such a position in large medical center organizations. I also understand she was considered a valuable, strong performing exec at the organization.

This obviously doesn't address the earmark issue, but the fact that one of Illinois' two senators would propose an earmark for one of his state's leading academic medical centers does not seem unusual to me.

I think we'll have more than enough cannonfodder to attack the Obama train, I'm just doubtful this particular charge will be "live" ammunition.

Mr. Ed
Straight from the Horse's Mouth

According to a Chicago Tribune article, hospital officials said "more than a dozen" of the 16 other VPs make over 300k. It also notes that her salary is about 25% less than her counterpart at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

yep by Bon

That's the U of C for you! Northwestern always pays better. If one can escape Hyde Park there are lots of good employment opportunities in Chicago.

I am not sure this is a smoking gun, but the sheer weight of these earmarks requests, especially when when compared to McCain, should give a lot of voters pause.

Is there really anything new about Obama?

Evidently... no. No there is not.


This is a little different than the general earmarking issue. Leon is alleging, presumably based on some actual evidence not presented in the original post, that Barack Obama has committed a crime. Congressional crooks may make earmarks, but not all earmarks are made by congressional crooks

1. Obama directed $1 million taxpayer dollars to his wife's employer.

2. Obama did so shortly after his wife received a very significant pay raise from that employer.

3. That pay raise was given shortly after Obama obtained the power to direct such sums of federal taxpayer dollars.

"No compromise with the main purpose, no peace till victory, no pact with unrepentant wrong." - Winston Churchill

I do not contest any of the three facts you present. However, how does it necessarily follow that there was a crime (presumably, bribery and/or extortion) involved? In the first place, Cum Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc. Second, even if one thing did cause the other, it's still not clear that there was an actual crime committed. You don't have to be a genius or a crook to know that cozying up to a Senator might have some benefit down the road. Leon specifically used the words "Quid Pro Quo" and "Crook" (i.e. criminal), however. Do you have any additional facts that can close this logical gap?

Hence "Caesar's Wife" in the title. She should be beyond reproach.

with national healthcare? I mean, if you are going to lower the costs of our healthcare system, the bureaucracies are the usul places to trim the fat. 300-400K positions are very tempting for the axe-wielder. Cutting doctor/nurse payments are not feasible.

-- A true evolutionist would let endangered species die off. Anyone care to change sides?
-- Saving baby whales and baby trees, but killing baby humans. Huh?

whether Obama would be Doing the Higher Good by pushing through "national healthcare", thus making it OK to divert public funds to his wife?

Or do you wonder whether socialized medicine would render the situation moot?

In either case, he would have to get elected first, making her First Lady. She would probably leave her hospital gig at that point, lucrative though it might be.

Furthermore, there is no way they would reduce hospital administration. There would be additional layers of bureaucrats, both in Washington and locally, to implement any system the Democrats would favor.

So the "national healthcare" per se would not affect her employment status at all, no.

Gone 2500 years, still not PC.

whose national healthcare could mean Michelle Obama would take a pay cut or lose her job.
My point is that is any socialized medicine could ever cut costs (and I am an avid Thomas Sowell fan, by the way) the cuts would need to be from the management level, not the caregivers, to make real savings.
I'm not advocating thos; I'm just pointing out some irony. And given MO's experience in hospital management, she also may be the second first "lady" to put together a health care plan.

-- A true evolutionist would let endangered species die off. Anyone care to change sides?
-- Saving baby whales and baby trees, but killing baby humans. Huh?

Even though she's finally proud of America.

Well, maybe not after today.

Gone 2500 years, still not PC.

They will never reduce costs by firing anyone or eliminating jobs. They will add layers, add reporting requirments, oversight committees, HIPPA compliance, a Director of Social Justice, and so on until they need another $1 million wing.

Gone 2500 years, still not PC.

It's not a matter of how the salary increase was implemented. Moreover, moving from Director to VP is added benefit to her, in the form of perks and prestige. And no matter how many people signed off on it, each and every one of them knew who she was, and who her husband was, and what passing her over would do for their careers.

Gone 2500 years, still not PC.

Geraghty linked to this comment.

"No compromise with the main purpose, no peace till victory, no pact with unrepentant wrong." - Winston Churchill

Witness two things:

1. He swore up and down that he intended to be in the Senate Chamber when earmarks were to be discussed.

2. Right now, he's out of the country being a statesman, while the other two are hurling charges at each other.

Good timing, John. I have a feeling that this will have legs, and that JMC has instructed his staff not to breathe a word about it, but to let Limbaugh do all the talking.

"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it"-Winston Churchill

and her Salary is right in line with other executive of comparable standing.

Why would anyone pay 200K a year for an indefinite amount of time for 1 million bucks today? This hospital surely has some crazy finance people in charge if they deemed this a "good" deal.

Why not just take out a loan and then repay it over the next 5 years instead of paying out what could be millions in the long run for a few bucks today? The finance behind this makes no sense for this it be anything improper. Worth questioning? Sure. Worth flipping out about? Please.

Move on to the next scandal...

But perhaps there will be more to come. After all, it is only public money, so I am sure that Obama isn't too concerned about throwing it around. Plus, if he becomes President, a lot more could be funnelled to them.

This would be so much more juicy if it was a telecom company or some other special interest.

It was a hospital. I understand questioning it, but this is really a weak "scandal".

If you want to go all Ron Paul about this then fine....but you can go all "Ron Paul" on pretty much every Senator.

The fact of the matter is it looks bad. And Hillary will use it against him. If you don't realize this, then you haven't been paying attention for the last twenty years.

BTW, what does Ron Paul have to do with it?

doesn't make it so.

It certainly appears from here to be a conflict of interest: Barack Obama secured public funds for a hospital at which his wife worked, and subsequently she was promoted.

It's certainly plausible that yes, maybe one 1 million dollar earmark doesn't cover her salary for more than three years, but it is also plausible that he could have been planning to secure some more earmarks for the hospital.

So somebody has some explaining to do.

She was promoted long before this earmark.

Oh come on! He is elected Senator and all of the sudden she gets a $200K raise? That is not a bit fishy to you? Doesn't sound like a country that is "Downright Mean" does it?

Semper Fi

How in the hell can you punish someone for something that the might...maybe....could....may the future.

Questions need to be raised, but this is hardly something out of the ordinary from congress.

I agree that there are a lot of crooks in Congress, both of the Duke Cunningham kind and the kind that are slightly more subtle and therefore don't end up in jail. That doesn't make them "not crooks," and it certainly doesn't make them represent "change" or "hope."

The Red Sox Republican: Burkeanism, Baseball, and Sundries.


-He becomes a senator
-Wife gets promoted
-Secures earmark for hospital

The order really isn't too important there. You may not like it, but there is a conflict of interest generated when public funds are secured for a place from which he gets income.

You asked, why would he do this if the raise for his wife would eat up the money within a few years? We then gave you a plausible reason; it was the first in a long line. But ultimately the question is immaterial. Changing the argument to be about that assertion doesn't change that a conflict of interest HAS ALREADY occurred.

It is certainly unbecoming of the man of Hope and Change.

Until some questions about this get answered, we have every right to say this looks as bad as it does.

...had nothing to do with his wife's promotion and raise?

If so, where's the link?

If not, then why hasn't he?

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC. I've been usurped!

is he supposed to address things on your time table. He's going to be asked about this.

You expect the guy to call an emergency press conference to appease Moe Lane?

If you want to turn this into a scandal, find a way to make this deal financially beneficial to the hospital. I don't see one. They could have accomplished the same thing much cheaper by taking out a loan.

you will see that the planned facility

is designed in a flexible, modular configuration in order that adaptations may be made as necessary and that future needs may be accommodated easily and cost efficently.

Translation: there will be more expansions in the future, and who do you ask for more federal grants? Why, Mrs. Obama's husband, of course.

Plus, an expanded facility expands the institution in numerous ways. This makes total sense for the hospital's management to give a valuable promotion to the new Senator's wife.

"No compromise with the main purpose, no peace till victory, no pact with unrepentant wrong." - Winston Churchill

Well, if you're going to hire somebody for the position, and she happens to meet the qualifications you're looking for, and her husband just used coercive government largess to slide a million bucks your way...

...who would you put in the position?

"No matter how much lipstick you put on the taxation pig, it's still a pig... and it's currently snout-down in your wallet." - Michael Fisk

WE shot way too soon at WJB Clinton way too often. Let us not fall for this yet.
There is more than enough time to build up the specifics in depth.
Let us not rush into something, only to actually srengthen BHO.

this is the City's motto: "Where's Mine?"

pay to play, palm cards (ward heeler technique), voter vans, what's new here?

Of Course the Chicagoan is "The Reformer"!

This is going to get expensive, if he wins...
"Hand me a flish" - Chico Marx

His problem is that he is running on the higher plane of "Hope and Change." This brings him back into the realm of normal politics.

Semper Fi

Sure, securing $1 million won't pay for Michelle Obama's salary for very long, and it doesn't look like a very sound investment, considering that a $200K salary is actually quite a bit more when you throw in overhead, benefits, etc. But it's not really about the money. It's about the influence. Barack Obama is just a junior senator, at least as of 2006, and this is the way for Obama to keep Univ. of Chicago in his mind as he rises in stature in DC. The $1 million is just the beginning.

MO had a mere 900k family income last year. And there's all those student loans. No wonder it was only this year that she found something to be "proud of America" about.

of her country. She was not proud of America at 900K, Guess she is being underpaid because she is a woman-you the opressive man thing.

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