Rezko gave at least $300,000 to campaigns
October 12, 2006 (WLS) -- Online searches of campaign finance records indicate Antoin 'Tony' Rezko has donated more than $300,000 in cash and services to the state and local politicians. A top aide to Gov. Blagojevich, Rezko was indicted on fraud charges Wednesday.
Most of the donations -- made to about four dozen politicians -- went to democrats like Governor Rod Blagojevich.
Rezko is one of few private Illinois citizens who can walk past the governor's security detail and whisper in Blagojevich's ear. Rezko had access to Blagojevich and donated at least $49,000 to his campaign fund through personal and corporate names since 2004. Having money and having access to politicians goes hand-in-hand in Illinois, according to Paul Green, Roosevelt University political science professor.
"People like Rezko and others are individuals who simply are buying access. They don't corrupt the government. They just simply have the ability to get what they want on the agenda, on the table directly in front of the elected official," said Green.
An internet search by ABC7 researchers found that in the last decade, Rezko has donated to campaigns under at least five different personal or corporate names, including Antoin Rezko; Tony Rezko; Rezmar, the name of his real estate firm; Chicago Property Management and Chicago Construction Services; and Rezko Foods and Rezko Concessions, the names of his restaurant-related companies. Blagojevich is just one of the politicians who have benefited from the campaign contributions.
Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn, Secretary Of State Jesse White, House Speaker Mike Madigan, and Senate President Emil Jones have all accepted donations from Rezko. Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the state's top law enforcement officer, received $48,000 from Rezko. Her campaign announced Thursday the same amount would be donated to charity.
The records also list more than a dozen Chicago City Council members, including Alderman Todd Stroger, the democratic candidate for Cook County board president. His opponent, Republican Tony Peraica, has already made the Stroger-Rezko link a campaign issue.
"He's taking that money. He's taking the money from people who have been indicted like Tony Rezko and others," said Peraica.
Stroger acknowledged using Rezko money for his 2003 aldermanic campaign, but said he has not received any donations since then.
Some other names on the Rezko list includes U.S. Senator Barack Obama, U.S. Congressmen Jackson, Kirk, Guiterrez, and Rush. Mayor Richard M. Daley also has Rezko money in his campaign war chest. These politicians have not announced what they plan to do about these donations.
Rezko would cross party lines once in a while and once donated to President Bush during the 2000 campaign.
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