An undeclared $3.5 million (£1.8 million) payment from a corrupt Iraqi-British businessman has landed Barack Obama’s former fundraiser behind bars.Why, you may ask? Here's why:
The payment, disclosed in court papers, is the first time that Mr Obama’s long-serving bagman Antoin “Tony” Rezko, a Syrian immigrant to the United States, has been linked to Nadhmi Auchi, the Iraqi-born billionaire who is one of Britain’s richest men. The relationship is a potential embarrassment for Mr Obama, who has made his opposition to the Iraq war a central plank of his campaign.
The Times has, however, discovered state documents in Illinois recording that Fintrade Services, a Panamanian company, lent money to Mr Obama’s fundraiser in May 2005.Under federal election law, Obama is barred from accepting money from foreign nationals:
Fintrade’s directors include Ibtisam Auchi, the name of Mr Auchi’s wife. Mr Auchi’s spokespeople declined to respond to a question about whether he was linked to this business.
The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) prohibits any foreign national from contributing, donating or spending funds in connection with any federal, state, or local election in the United States, either directly or indirectly. It is also unlawful to help foreign nationals violate that ban or to solicit, receive or accept contributions or donations from them. Persons who knowingly and willfully engage in these activities may be subject to fines and/or imprisonment.
Now you *could*, I suppose, make the case that a campaign loan is not really "contributing or donating," but that "spending" bit...that's going to be hard for O-Bombers to spin easily. Too, to be accepting funds from an Iraqi-born billionaire, who presumably would have some skin in any Iraq policy of an Obama White House, speaks volumes about the "sizzle, but no steak" meme of Obama's campaign, where it's easy to talk a good game, but hard to actually follow through and act in accordance with the grandiose "principal" you've set forth.
And in conjunction, this destroys an awful lot of Obama's "change now" planking that is supporting his pulpit: you can't really be for change if you've been benefitting from the old ways, is what he's claiming the Clinton campaign's flaw is.
Well, Senator? It looks to me as if you've been dipping your ladle into that same stew pot!
UPDATE: Let me draw a map, for the mapless: Iraqi oil billionaire, repatriated oil assets, oil wells need guarding.
American troops stay.