06 April 2010

How Will Obama Explain-Away his former Senate Seat Going Republican Too?

Backyard Conservative
Sure starting to look like a possibility he needs to face... and the reasons for the grim outlook point to Barack Obama's past involvement in Chicago Machine politics as much as any current troubles for party as a whole.

This US Senate seat -the same one Blago tried to sell- is in increasing danger of being taken by Republican Mark Kirk after it was reported that the Gianoullias family's Broadway Bank had lent $20 million to Chicago criminals, including convicted felon Michael "Jaws" Giorango.  In this heavily-Democratic state, Alexi Giannoulias - Illinois State Treasurer and prodigal son of this banking family- is down to just a three-point lead in the race to replace Blagojevich appointee Roland Burris, and rumors abound re. the desire of the party to dump him from the ticket in an attempt to salvage the upcoming election.

These revelations come after myriad ethical issues surrounding the ambitious 34-yr-old banker, former Obama ally, and Illinois State Treasurer have come to the fore. Some sources put the gangster loans more in the $50M+ range, as Alexi attempts to distance himself from the transactions and the Broadway Bank's pending collapse. Surely there's little to be gained in listening to Giannoulias' version of events... his credibility is almost non-existent, already caught lying blatantly to cover-up his involvement. The very latest PR catastrophe involves Gianoullias' second-biggest non-family campaign donor obtaining a $6M loan from the family bank... while facing a felony gun charge. Bank officials are still stonewalling re. whether Alexi signed-off on those loans personally- read that as a "yes".

As for Obama, first recall the dubious realty deal struck with now-convicted felon Tony Rezko- one which enabled him to buy a South Side Chicago mansion he could not otherwise afford... all made possible by the magic real estate fairy Rezko, who basically bought the adjoining lot and just gave it to Obama. The agent on the deal was none other than Patti Blagojevich, wife of Hot Rod himself- see how it works in Chicago?

Rezko -Obama's and Blago's political godfather- and the Gianoullias family go way-back, too- not only is he a customer of the bank, but they're thought to have funded many of his Chicagoland pay-to-play real-estate deals.  It appears the relationship came to an abrupt end with Rezko's conviction in 2008... the fact that he bounced $800K worth of checks in Vegas against his Broadway Bank account didn't help, either.

But that South Side mansion purchase wasn't the first time Obama had recieved favors to assist his aspirations as a homeowner. It has been long rumored that Obama benefited from conspicious financial help when he bought his first home, a townhouse that was on the cusp of affordability for him. The Broadway Bank -who also had helped him with campaign financing- put together a sweetheart mortgage deal for Obama, all apparently in exchange for quid pro quo to be determined. 

Later, in 2006, family scion Alexi Giannoulias -a 29-year-old with no experience whatsoever -and who had never even voted before- decides to run for State Treasurer of Illinois... Barack Obama promptly endorsed him. Clearly, it was highly unlikely he could have won without Obama's support. Giannoulias subsequently held a fundraiser for Obama in 2007, in which he raised upwards of $100,000 for the senator’s Presidential bid. Around Chicago, the two cultivated an image as "basketball buddies" and political fellow travellers.
With every week bringing him a new scandal to smother -and Gianoullias sinking in the polls- the Democrats are now scrambling to get Alexi off the ballot and produce a viable alternative while they still can.  Even though some of the loans to various Chi-town criminals now being exposed were approved before Alexi took a position as loan officer, he serviced the accounts for this tight, family-run operation- one that greased the rails and made the connections that formed the base for his political ascent. It's hard to imagine he was as innocently clueless as he pretends to be, considering Alexi was the primary beneficiary of his family's shady political dealings anyway.

Team Obama seems to have long feared what a spotlight on the Giannoulias family could reveal  about Obama's opaque Chicago past, too- and tried to throw cold water on Alexi's senatorial  aspirations right from the start.  Now that party bigwigs are worried of losing to the GOP in deep-blue Illinois, some expect a desperate Axelrod will start leaking dirt on Gianoullias.  Could Alexi's obstinacy in the face of WH pressure be due to the cards he holds -the stories he could tell- if and when he wanted to?  Could get interesting- Barack Obama's political rise was basically funded by Broadway Bank and Tony Rezko.

The Democrats are dreading a political earthquake in Illinois far more damaging than Massachusetts'- according to left-leaning Lisa Washington in the Chicago Sun-Times, Alexi Giannoulias is in real political trouble. Dems from The Loop to DC are shaking in their boots as they contemplate yet another humiliating loss to face in November. Meanwhile, the Obama WH wonders what will come out next...

The latest malady to hit the hyper-ambitious Illinois treasurer is the impending failure of his family's Broadway Bank. The mantle of a successful community banker was his main claim to fame, catapulting the young political novice into office in 2006. If the feds shut down the bank (and even the cocky Giannoulias admits that's likely), it will put a fatal hurt on the G-Man's electoral prospects. No candidate ever wants to pack it in, especially one with an oversized noggin. Still, the abundance of junk in Giannoulias' political trunk begs for a reappraisal of his Senate candidacy...