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Schakowsky & Creamer: More Blagojevich Baggage for Giannoulias
As Democrat Alexi Giannoulias accepts the endorsement of Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, he will face tough questions about Schakowsky’s ties to disgraced ex-governor Rod Blagojevich and the governor’s ties to her convicted felon husband.
“Alexi Giannoulias, Rod Blagojevich, Jan Schakowsky and her convicted felon husband are all part of the same Democrat culture of corruption that ruined our state,” Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady said. “Schakowsky and her convicted felon husband helped Rod Blagojevich get elected twice and supported his campaign right up until the end. Given Alexi’s close business ties to Tony Rezko and Rod Blagojevich, earning Jan Schakowsky’s endorsement seems par for the course.”
Close Ties between Schakowsky and Blagojevich
Between 2000 and 2006, Schakowsky’s congressional campaign contributed $28,000 to Friends of Blagojevich. When Blagojevich launched his first campaign for governor in 2001, the Chicago Tribune reported that he “was introduced to the crowd by liberal North Side and North Shore U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who called him a ‘political ally.’” (“Blagojevich candidacy starts with home base,” August 13, 2001)
When Blagojevich ran for re-election in 2006, Schakowsky endorsed him over his primary opponent despite an ongoing federal investigation into alleged corruption.
According to Illinois news reports, Schakowsky spent the summer months of 2008 raising money for a Blagojevich re-election bid in an effort to secure an appointment to then-Senator Obama’s seat.
In April 2008, Schakowsky told the Sun-Times that she and Blagojevich “have a working relationship, and we have a long-standing friendship.” In the weeks leading up to Blagojevich’s arrest for attempting to sell Illinois’ U.S. Senate seat, Schakowsky confirmed that she spoke with the governor about the appointment and was under consideration.
Schakowsky’s Convicted Felon Husband and Rod Blagojevich
From 2001-2002, Friends of Blagojevich paid more than $541,000 to a political consulting firm run by Schakowsky’s husband, Robert Creamer, according to state records. The firm, Strategic Consulting Group, reportedly provided “consulting,” “field consulting” and “predictive dialer” services to the Blagojevich campaign.
During the same election cycle, Creamer and his firm were linked to fraudulent voter activities in the Illinois’ 17th Congressional District – and a slush fund he helped create called the “17th District Victory Fund” was later fined by the Federal Election Commission.
In 2004, Creamer was indicted on 16 counts of bank fraud and 18 counts of tax fraud after failing to pay more than $300,000 in income taxes and pulling a $1 million overdraft in a check kiting scheme. In 2005, Creamer pleaded guilty to two felonies, bank fraud and failure to pay federal taxes. In 2006, Creamer was sentenced to five months in prison and 11 months home confinement.
Alexi Giannoulias Already Tied to Rod Blagojevich
Rod Blagojevich appointed Giannoulias' brother (Demetris) to the Illinois Finance Authority and reappointed him one month after a $10,000 contribution from Giannoulias' father. (State Journal-Register, “Blagojevich has twice appointed Giannoulias brother,” October 26, 2006)
Demetris Giannoulias appeared on Blagojevich's "clout list" with convicted felon Tony Rezko as a sponsor: "'Rezko also pushed for the appointment of Chicago banker Demetris Giannoulias, brother of Democratic state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, to the Illinois Finance Authority board, records show." (Chicago Sun-Times, “Gov's 'clout lists' surface in Rezko trial,” February 22, 2008)
Alexi Giannoulias’ business ties to Tony Rezko were extensive. At his family bank, Giannoulias helped finance a failed condominium development project operated by Tony Rezko’s company, Rezmar Corp. (Chicago Sun-Times, “Mole put on Rezko,” May 5, 2007)
Alexi Giannoulias also bankrolled Tony Rezko's Vegas debts. According to the U.S. Attorney’s criminal complaint against the Blagojevich fundraiser, Rezko bounced $250,000 in checks at Caesars Palace Casino between March 24 and July 15, 2006, and bounced another $200,000 in checks at Bally’s. According to the complaint, these checks were drawn on Rezko's account at Giannoulias’ bank. (Chicago Daily Herald, “Caesars, Bally's, Bellagio They all say Rezko owes them,” May 30, 2008)
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