...and he's got some splainin' to do.
This is actually kinda of old, but is typical of the stuff the media gives him a pass on.
Other people here (you know who you are) have said these matters have been dealt with already, but I don't remember that being the case.
Obama Should Come Clean
On Ayers, Rezko
And the Iraqi Billionaire
By JOHN FUND
August 30, 2008
Even as Barack Obama gave his soaring speech Thursday night, his campaign was playing hardball with its critics.
Team Obama has launched an offensive against WGN, the Chicago Tribune's radio station, for interviewing Stanley Kurtz. Mr. Kurtz is a conservative writer who this week forced the University of Illinois to finally open its records on Sen. Obama's association with William Ayers, the unrepentant 1970s Weather Underground terrorist.
An Obama campaign email to supporters called Mr. Kurtz a "slimy character assassin" whose "divisive, destructive ranting" should be confronted. WGN producer Zack Christenson says the outpouring of negative calls and emails is "unprecedented." He also notes that it is curious -- because "we wanted the Obama campaign's take" on Mr. Kurtz's findings, but the campaign declined to put anyone on air.
Separately, Mr. Obama's lawyers have also demanded that the Justice Department prosecute an organization called the American Issues Project for running an ad about ties between their candidate and Mr. Ayers.
Obama aides believe John Kerry lost in 2004 because he failed to respond to the "Swift Boat" ads attacking him, and they are lashing out. Sometimes the Obama objections have merit, as when they exposed errors in Jerome Corsi's sensationalized Obama biography. But sometimes they are designed to shut down legitimate questions. "They're terrified of people poking around Obama's life," one reporter told Gabriel Sherman at the New Republic. "The whole Obama narrative is built around the narrative that Obama and [campaign strategist] David Axelrod built, and, like all stories, it's not entirely true." The stakes are high. If the full story of Mr. Obama's relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright had been revealed before the Iowa caucus, he wouldn't have won.
Aides claim Mr. Obama "has taken voluntary transparency steps" that allow "his constituents, the media and his political opponents to fully examine him." In reality, anyone questioning the approved story line is liable to be ignored, misled or even bullied. This isn't what reporters expected when Mr. Obama began campaigning for a "new politics" that would bring honesty and openness to government.
Walking the rows of media outlets at the Denver convention, I had no trouble finding reporters who complained the campaign was secretive and evasive. Ben Smith of Politico.com has written about Team Obama's "pattern of rarely volunteering information or documents, even when relatively innocuous." Politico asked months ago if Mr. Obama had ever written anything for the Harvard Law Review as a student. The Obama campaign responded narrowly, with a Clintonesque statement that "as the president of the Law Review, Obama didn't write articles, he edited and reviewed them." This month it turned out Mr. Obama had written an article -- but it was published a month before he became president.
Chasing the rest of Mr. Obama's paper trail is often an exercise in frustration. Mr. Obama says his state senate records "could have been thrown out" and he didn't keep a schedule in office. No one appears to have kept a copy of his application for the Illinois Bar. He has released only a single page of medical records, versus 1,000 pages for John McCain.
Then there's the house that Mr. Obama bought in 2005 in cooperation with Tony Rezko, his friend and campaign fund-raiser -- a move the candidate concedes was "boneheaded." Rezko was convicted in June of 16 counts of corruption. (Mr. Obama was not implicated in Rezko's crimes.)
Rezko's trial raised a host of questions. Was Mr. Obama able to save $300,000 on the asking price of his house because Rezko's wife paid full price for the adjoining lot? How did Mrs. Rezko make a $125,000 down payment and obtain a $500,000 mortgage when financial records shown at the Rezko trial indicate she had a salary of only $37,000 and assets of $35,000? Records show her husband also had few assets at the time.
Last April, the London Times revealed that Nadhmi Auchi, an Iraqi-born billionaire living in London, had loaned Mr. Rezko $3.5 million three weeks before the day the sale of the house and lot closed in June 2005. Mr. Auchi's office notes he was a business partner of Rezko but says he had "no involvement in or knowledge of" the property sale. But in April 2004 he did attend a dinner party in his honor at Rezko's Chicago home. Mr. Obama also attended, and according to one guest, toasted Mr. Auchi. Later that year, Mr. Auchi came under criminal investigation as part of a U.S. probe of the corrupt issuance of cell-phone licenses in Iraq.
In May 2004, the Pentagon's inspector general's office cited "significant and credible evidence" of involvement by Mr. Auchi's companies in the Oil for Food scandal, and in illicit smuggling of weapons to Saddam Hussein's regime. Because of the criminal probe, Mr. Auchi's travel visa to the U.S. was revoked in August 2004, even as Mr. Auchi denied all the allegations. According to prosecutors, in November 2005 Rezko was able to get two government officials from Illinois to appeal to the State Department to get the visa restored. Asked if anyone in his office was involved in such an appeal, Mr. Obama told the Chicago Sun-Times last March, "not that I know of." FOIA requests to the State Department for any documents haven't been responded to for months.
After long delays, Mr. Obama sat with the editorial boards of the Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune in March to answer their questions about his connection to Rezko. He had no recollection of ever meeting Mr. Auchi. He also said he didn't understand a lot about house buying, and gave vague answers to other questions. Since then, he has avoided any further discussion of the Rezko matter.
Some inquiries could be cleared up if the Obama campaign were forthcoming with key documents. Mr. Obama claims that in buying his house in 2005 he got a low mortgage rate from Northern Trust bank because another bank made a competitive bid for his business, but his campaign won't reveal from which bank. While he has released 94 pages of documents relating to the Rezko sale, they don't include the single most important one -- the settlement statement that shows the complete flow of funds that were part of the house sale. When asked why that last key document isn't being released, the Obama campaign issued a boilerplate statement saying, "we have released documents that reflect every one of the final terms of the senator's purchase of the home." But key data are still being withheld.
The Obama campaign didn't hesitate to criticize Hillary Clinton for not revealing the names of donors to the Clinton Library, or John McCain for releasing only two years of tax returns as opposed to Mr. Obama's 10 years. Those were proper questions. But so too are requests for information from Mr. Obama, a man whose sudden rise and incompletely reported past makes him among the least-vetted of presidential nominees.
Reporters who decline to press Mr. Obama for more information now, whether it be on William Ayers or the Rezko-Auchi partnership, may be repeating an old mistake. Most reporters failed to dig deep enough into the Nixon White House's handling of Watergate before the 1972 election. The country was soon consumed with that scandal. Most reporters pooh-poohed questionable Whitewater real-estate dealings of the Clintons before Bill Clinton's 1992 election. Within months of his inauguration a tangled controversy led to the appointment of a special prosecutor and an endless source of distraction for the Clinton White House.
All presidential candidates resist full examination of their records. But it should be the job of reporters not to accept noncooperation, stonewalling or intimidation when it comes to questions about fitness for the nation's highest office.
Mr. Fund is a columnist for WSJ.com.