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Shocker: Obama Got Grant For Law Client

Some actual reporting from the Los Angeles Times:

Obama donor received a state grant

His letter on behalf of a table tennis company preceded the funding.

By Chuck Neubauer and Tom Hamburger

April 27, 2008

WASHINGTON — After an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2000, Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama faced serious financial pressure: numerous debts, limited cash and a law practice he had neglected for a year. Help arrived in early 2001 from a significant new legal client — a longtime political supporter.

Chicago entrepreneur Robert Blackwell Jr. paid Obama an $8,000-a-month retainer to give legal advice to his growing technology firm, Electronic Knowledge Interchange. It allowed Obama to supplement his $58,000 part-time state Senate salary for over a year with regular payments from Blackwell’s firm that eventually totaled $112,000.

A few months after receiving his final payment from EKI, Obama sent a request on state Senate letterhead urging Illinois officials to provide a $50,000 tourism promotion grant to another Blackwell company, Killerspin.

Killerspin specializes in table tennis, running tournaments nationwide and selling its own line of equipment and apparel and DVD recordings of the competitions. With support from Obama, other state officials and an Obama aide who went to work part time for Killerspin, the company eventually obtained $320,000 in state grants between 2002 and 2004 to subsidize its tournaments.

Obama’s staff said the senator advocated only for the first year’s grant — which ended up being $20,000, not $50,000. The day after Obama wrote his letter urging the awarding of the state funds, Obama’s U.S. Senate campaign received a $1,000 donation from Blackwell.

Obama’s presidential campaign rejects any suggestion that there was a connection between the legal work, the campaign contribution and the help with the grant. “Any implication that Sen. Obama would risk an ethical breach in order to secure a small grant for a pingpong tournament is nuts,” said David Axelrod, Obama’s chief political advisor

But he won’t take money from lobbyists. No way.

He has enough.

Doesn’t it seem like the more we know about Mr. Obama, the more shady he appears to be?

Or is that racist to suggest?

(Thanks to BillK for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, April 27th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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