Thursday, July 12, 2007
Personal Asides: Ever Wonder What Bob Creamer is Doing Since Jail? Training Young People to Campaign for Obama Pulido, Martire and Franks on Shootout Sunday.
Robert Creamer, the husband of U. S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill) who was sentenced to jail for running a community group and paying himself big bucks while banks held the bag, has been teaching a group of young (mostly) volunteers for the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, I am exclusively revealing today.
Nothing wrong with Creamer earning a living. Indeed not long ago he surfaced as a registered lobbyist working against the Senate confirmation of UN ambassador John Bolton, paid by the George Soros-funded Open Society Policy Center. But the idea of a convicted felon who kited checks lecturing the supposedly idealistic Obama campaign on how to raise money and get elected is a bit much.
Creamer taught at Camp Obama, a week-long summer camp last month held at the presidential candidates office in Chicago for campaign interns and volunteersjust a few blocks away from the federal court where on August 31, 2005 he pleaded guilty to charges of bank fraud and failure to pay federal taxes on charges brought by U. S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. He admitted in his 18-page signed plea agreement that he wrote checks on accounts that lacked funds and did so repeatedly as he moved money from one account to another in three banks. He had a multiple group of organizations that received money, the best known being the Illinois Public Action Council a left-wing group on which his wife, Jan Schakowsky, was a board member while the manipulating was going on. She was already in Congress when he pleaded guilty; she was not charged.
Creamers retention to instruct the Obama for President campaign is probably the most revelatory hint that the hopeful, idealistic, whimsical message floated by the candidate is mere vapor obscuring a cynical operation unless, of course, the Obama people had no idea of Creamer or what his past represents.
Creamers being hired by the Obama campaign to instruct interns and volunteers in political organizing, abuses of which sent him to jail is ironic. Sen. Obama has been notable among the presidential candidates for crusading in an effort to bring hope to our people. He has been chairman of the Senate Ethics committee. How Creamer ended up instructing the Obama workers when his notoriety has been so prominent in Illinois is anyones guess. And whether he still continues to work on the Obama payroll is still speculative. One would imagine that David Axelrod, the top Obama strategist, should have seen Creamers hiring as a red flag.
Creamer, one of the more expansive radical lefties in Illinois, admitted he moved money from one account to another in three banks in 1997, playing what bankers describe as the float and thus making them believe that the accounts had more money in them than they actually did. In addition, Creamer admitted that he had opened two other check kiting schemes which took place in 1993 and 1996. His guilty plea also involved failing to collect $1,800 withholding tax from an employee of his political consulting firm. When he pleaded guilty, Creamer still flourished the rhetoric that led many well-intentioned volunteers to his multiple organizations. The burning desire to create an organization that empowered ordinary people led me to make serious errors in that organizations finances, he said.
U. S. Attorney Fitzgerald wanted to send Creamer to jail for four years and three months. This isnt a one-time shot, this is serial violation of the law in multiple respects, said Fitzgeralds office. Creamers attorney argued for probation because he spent a lifetime fighting for social justice and broke the law so he could keep fighting for the causes he believed in. Also being sure that he was adequately paid, with a six figure salary, while he crusaded for social justice. The prosecutor in Fitzgeralds office, Joe Ferguson, said Creamer acted like he was above the law and continued his illegal activities even after a visit from the FBI, that he never took responsibility for his actions. Creamers attorney called him the most admirable client he ever representedwhich stirred some comment about the nature of the other clients.
A breathless report of Camp Obama written by Mark Wiznitzer was posted yesterday, July 11 and appeared originally on http://my.barackobama.com/page /community/blog/markwiznitzer. It is the story of a 57-year-old man who by his own statement was surrounded by young people who were thrilled to be instructed by seasoned campaign strategists, one of whom was Creamer. He spoke on the subject of Campaign Culturea topic on which by his imprisonment he could reasonably be called an authority.
Our first substantive session on Campaign Culture was led by Bob Creamer of the Strategic Consulting Group, wrote Wiznitzer. He provided an information-packed presentation starting with a general theory of campaigns, getting a candidate elected, what makes a great campaign, the targeting of `persuadable and `mobilizable voters, application of quantitative approaches and different forms of messaging and research.
After Creamers presentation, the group was instructed in campaign fundraising and subsequently heard presentations by several people. John Kupper, partner with campaign consultant David Axelrod and campaign manager David Plouffe in AKP Media led off the morning of June 5 with a discussion of the Obama for America message. Subsequently, a campaign deputy director explained the role of Obamas policy staff. The presence of Axelrod would almost certify that the veteran strategist would knowor should have knownthat Creamer was discussing his view of Campaign Culture.
Questions have been raised about the Creamer conviction as to how much Rep. Schakowsky knew about the check kiting and income tax fraud given that she is his wife, was his partner in political operations and served on his board of directors. The couple, experts in articulating a populism that is infectious to the left, sought to keep Creamer out of jail because of his supposedly idealistic mission. But the judge maintained that ordinary people get caught for not paying taxes and end up going to jail.
Her husbands conviction hasnt crimped the style of Rep. Schakowsky who has regularly criticized the Bush administrations supposed failing in ethicsand she often receives warm civic accolades as she did some years ago from the Chicago chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.
The Creamer guilty plea, conviction and sentencing was pushed on the far-back burner by the Chicago news media, giving it a cursory write-up but believing Rep. Schakowsky should not be blamed for the financial irregularities of her husband notwithstanding that she was on his board of directors.
Pulido Martire and Franks.
A threesome is scheduled to appear on my Political Shootout Sunday on WLS because of the possibility that one of the members may not make it because of travel difficulties but I imagine all three will be there. They are Roseanna Pulido, Ralph Martire of the Center for Budget and Tax Accountability and State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock.) Franks will be returning from Washington, D. C. where he will have met with Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Cllinton. Pulido who is director of Illinois Minuteman has been identified as a one-note spokesmen against illegal immigration but this time I told her she must broaden her vista and take up the cudgels as a spokesman of conservative principles on a vast array of topics such as the inability of the legislature to craft a budget, state spending and other topics. She is allowed to make one sentence that is one sentence on illegal immigration which if she exceeds a hook will reach out. But she is a talented spokesperson and I want to see her broaden herself beyond this one topic.
Ralph Martire is a seasoned, expert on budget matters who denies hes a hemophiliac liberal and so I will accept itbut he is a very good guest with a hefty intellectual ballast. Jack Franks is a spiritual son of mine notwithstanding we disagree on politics most of the time. Well, make that some of the time.