WBBM television reports that Ali Ata, 56, a close associate of major Obama fundraiser Tony Rezko, has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. The former executive director of the Illinois Finance Authority also stated that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was on hand when he presented $25,000 in campaign money to now-indicted fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko, who then asked Rezko if he had talked to Ata about a job on the state payroll.
Although the governor denies any wrongdoing, this is tightening the legal noose around his neck, and threatens to further embarrass Barack Obama, who grew up politically in the Chicago Democratic political machine. Who knows what other information Mr. Ata might disclose now that he is cooperating with the FBI and interested in a plea deal?
Meanwhile, Arab-American Chicago area journalists Ray Hannania is distraught at the weakness this Rezko/Ata scandal shows in the Arab-American community leadership:
"These guys were the self-anointed "leaders" of Chicago's Arab American community. They were regaled and celebrated by the community leaders as the ones who were helping to empower Arab Americans in the Chicago area. Those who questioned their leadership were chastised, isolated and boycotted from Arab American community activities. They buddied around with big shots at "community dinners" honoring Gov. Rod Blagojevich and former governors George Ryan and Jim Edgar, but also strengthened bounds with controversial elements of the Arab American community who embrace extremist views.They said their success meant the success of the Arab American community...."
Hat tips: Ed Waage, Jerome Schmitt, Hot Air