Before you splutter, let me happily concede: this was legally done.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – As a state senator, Democrat Barack Obama awarded $75,000 in government grants to a Chicago social service organization led by a rabbi who is also his wife’s cousin, records show.
In 1999, Obama arranged for $50,000 for adult literacy and counseling services offered on Chicago’s South Side by a group called Blue Gargoyle. A $25,000 grant for the group’s youth services followed the next year.
The group’s executive director when the grants were awarded was Capers Funnye, a South Side rabbi and Michelle Obama’s first cousin once removed.
Oh, yes, quite legal. By Chicago Rules.Even the AP has to admit that the dodge offered – that this was done under Illinois state guidelines – is a dodge:
But guidelines were practically nonexistent.
At the time, Illinois legislators were handing out hundreds of millions of dollars in grants. The money was part of a deal that legislative leaders cut with the governor to approve a major public-works program.
Each legislator could award money to favored groups and projects with basically no oversight. The grants were known as “member initiatives” and were similar to the congressional “earmarks” often criticized in Obama’s presidential campaign against Republican John McCain.
While we here at RedState certainly enjoy reminding people that the current Democratic candidate for President got his political education from one of the most corrupt and influence-peddling political machines in the country (and one that needs to be excised from both the Illinois Democratic and the Illinois Republican Parties, down to the copy machine operators), please note: this merely says things about our personal aesthetics, not our accuracy. The fact that you could pass largess like this around quite legally to your friends, neighbors, relatives, and close associates isn’t actually a justification for the practice; it’s an indictment of the system.
Not the worst crime in the world? – I hear people cry. :shrug: Well, if you want to chalk it up to typical venal machine politician behavior I suppose that I can’t stop you.