Book: Blagojevich Said He Believed Rezko Channeled $25,000 to Obama
A new book due out in September alleges that Tony Rezko, the convicted felon serving a 10 1/2 year jail term for corruption and who was involved in shady land deals with then-state senator Obama, funneled $25,000 in cash to Obama’s campaign in 2008.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the book Golden: How Rod Blagojevich Talked Himself out of the Governor's Office and Into Prison" suggests Blagojevich was referring to money given by Rezko to a Chicago official named Bruce Washington.
The $25,000 was to be used, allegedly, for “walking around money,” money used in big cities to handle election days expenses. On some occasions, those “expenses” can include paying voters or influencers to help get out the vote.
According to the Tribune, the book alleges that undercover recordings caught Blagojevich making those statements.
The Tribune describes the details of the secret recordings:
According to the book, Blagojevich was repeating "a story that [he] had heard that he believed" when he spoke of the $25,000 cash from Rezko. Talking to his then chief of staff John Harris shortly after Obama's election, Blagojevich said he had heard Rezko had given the cash to Bruce Washington, who has held jobs with the state, Cook County and the city school district.
"The cash was for Obama. Not for me," Blagojevich told Harris, according to the book.”
"Right," Harris replied.
"You understand?" the governor asked.
Blagojevich is serving a 14-year sentence in federal prison, as the Tribune notes, for trying to sell Obama's Senate seat, and federal investigators did not find his claims to be true at the time they were made. These tapes were not made public during Blagojevich’s trial.
Obama's tenure in the White House has been marked by crony capitalism and Chicago-style politics, and this book will be a reminder of the shady cast of characters Obama has associated with and from whom Obama learned his brand of politics.