Monday, October 6, 2008

Obama Got $20M HUD Grant For Supporter And Former Boss

Letter to Bush ghostwritten by development consultant

Jim McElhatton (Contact)
Monday, October 6, 2008

In a speech in Reno, Nev., Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama blamed the financial crisis on a "failed philosophy - a philosophy that we cannot afford to continue."

Sen. Barack Obama, who vows to change Washington by trimming wasteful spending and disclosing special-interest requests, wrote the Bush administration last year to seek a multimillion-dollar federal grant for a Chicago housing project that is behind schedule and whose development team includes a longtime political supporter.

Mr. Obama's letter, however, was never disclosed publicly. In fact, the letter was ghostwritten for him by a consultant for the Chicago Housing Authority, which wanted the money - a practice ethics watchdogs have frequently criticized.

The housing project through July had completed fewer than one-sixth of the 439 public housing units it had planned, court records show.

The Bush administration obliged Mr. Obama's request, awarding a $20 million competitive grant last month from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It called the project a “shining example” of urban revitalization. The Washington Times learned of the letter from Republican operatives.

As Mr. Obama campaigns for president as an agent of change who promises to clean up Washington's money game, his role in the Stateway project raises questions about the appearance of a conflict of interest and whether he has been participating in the very system he criticizes, watchdogs say.

But complicating the picture, one of developers for the Stateway Project is a firm headed by Allison S. Davis*, one of Mr. Obama’s early mentors and a longtime political supporter. A founding partner at the firm where Mr. Obama practiced law, Mr. Davis and his family have given the senator from Illinois tens of thousands of dollars in political contributions over the years.

*Allison Davis also has very strong ties to political fundraiser Tony Rezko.

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1 comment:

Laree said...

Marty Davis blogs Chickaboomer. This is the worse kept secret in the country.