Obama Pal Part of Federal Probe

 

[www.suntimes.com]

RECORDS SOUGHT | Programs funded by state Health Dept. under Whitaker are targeted

May 8, 2010
BY DAVE McKINNEY, CHRIS FUSCO AND TIM NOVAK Staff Reporters

E-mails and other records of Dr. Eric Whitaker — one of President Obama’s best friends — have been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

The investigation involves “faith-based initiatives” and health-awareness campaigns funded by the Illinois Department of Public Health when Whitaker ran the agency for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, according to copies of subpoenas obtained under the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

The U.S. attorney’s offices in Springfield and Chicago declined to comment, as did the White House.

Whitaker and his former chief of staff, Quin Golden, are named in a Nov. 23, 2009, subpoena in which authorities asked state officials to produce their “e-mail and other electronic storage accounts” from “January 2007 to present.”

Nothing in the subpoenas suggests Whitaker or Golden are targets of the investigation, and a spokesman for the two said they have not been subpoenaed personally or questioned by authorities. Like Whitaker, Golden left her state job to work for the University of Chicago.

Obama has said he recommended Whitaker for that job, which Whitaker landed in April 2003. The president’s friend resigned in October 2007 to join Obama’s wife, Michelle, as an executive at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

On Friday, Whitaker defended his work as the state’s former top health official, saying he developed “new methods” to help “African-American and other minority communities” get better medical care.

“The faith-based outreach programs at issue in this inquiry were recognized during my tenure by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others as national models for increasing awareness and preparedness planning for minority populations,” Whitaker said in a statement. “The programs were functioning well when I left the department in 2007.”

All told, Gov. Quinn’s administration turned over copies of six subpoenas sent to four state agencies that show authorities have been seeking information about a variety of health-awareness grants and programs that have cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

One sent to the health department seeks “any and all records” involving “faith-based initiatives” on subjects including “emergency preparedness,” “HIV/AIDS,” “cervical/breast cancer” and “pandemic flu” (see related story).

Five subpoenas came from a federal grand jury in Springfield, while the sixth came from a grand jury in Chicago. The most recent is dated March 30.

The U.S. attorney’s offices in Springfield and Chicago declined to comment, as did the White House.

Whitaker and his former chief of staff, Quin Golden, are named in a Nov. 23, 2009, subpoena in which authorities asked state officials to produce their “e-mail and other electronic storage accounts” from “January 2007 to present.”

Nothing in the subpoenas suggests Whitaker or Golden are targets of the investigation, and a spokesman for the two said they have not been subpoenaed personally or questioned by authorities. Like Whitaker, Golden left her state job to work for the University of Chicago.

[snip]

Whitaker, 45, of Chicago, met Obama when the two were in graduate school at Harvard. He often traveled with the president on the campaign trail and has vacationed with him in Hawaii.

In 2003, Obama — then an Illinois state senator, gave a “glowing” reference for Whitaker to Tony Rezko — the now-convicted political fixer who helped Blagojevich find people to run state agencies.

Obama has said that’s the only time he can recall talking to Rezko — who was a major campaign fund-raiser for him and for Blagojevich — about getting anyone a state job.

“Somebody who I do remember talking directly to Tony about was Dr. Eric Whitaker,” Obama told the Sun-Times in March 2008. “He and I played basketball together when he was getting his master’s in public health at Harvard, while I was in law school there. He had expressed an interest in that job. I did contact Tony, or Tony contacted me, and I gave him a glowing recommendation because I thought he was outstanding.”

http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/obama/2250646,CST-NWS-whitaker09.article

==========================================

Giving Whitaker a “glowing recommendation” and ACTUALLY knowing this:

Whitaker, 45, of Chicago, met Obama when the two were in graduate school at Harvard. He often traveled with the president on the campaign trail and has vacationed with him in Hawaii.

WHAT actually IS the Obama/Whitaker relationship?

Is Rod Blagojevich right?

=========================================

NOT RACIST.

NOT VIOLENT.

JUST NO LONGER SILENT.

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