What would the City of Chicago be doing when cutting a vendor check to a strip club? Or, the 2008 Obama for President campaign for that matter?
From the For the Good of Illinois website:
Q: What do a well-known Chicago strip club and the President's campaign fund have in common?"
A: Both received public funds, showing up as "vendors" to the City of Chicago.
Two days ago, For the Good of Illinois added another tranche of data to our online transparency portal at openthebooks.com. This installment includes every check written by the City of Chicago from FY 2002 to 2011.
It contains $74 billion in vendor payments. Last year alone, over 69,000 entities received checks, and you can see it all at openthebooks.com. The data contains numerous details: vendor code, transaction id, PO number, fund, department, amount, check number, and date.
Here's a curious item found while digging though the data...
The Admiral Theatre, Inc., is a strip club on the northwest side of the city. Obama for America is the President's campaign fund.
The City of Chicago approved payouts to each of them, using the same catch-all "vendor code" or expense classification. Further review found that neither vendor exists in the Chicago's current on-line transparency portal.
The Admiral Theatre strip club received $5,197.78 from the City of Chicago between the dates 2006 through 2011. The sixteen checks ranges from $1.00 to $1,900. A buck? Is some one tipping dancers using City of Chicago checks?
See a list of City payments to The Admiral Theatre here.
The last time we checked, strip clubs aren't required to disclose their sources of income, but that's isn't the case for presidential campaigns. Obama for America Campaign received a $1,000 check from the city on August 28th, 2007.
A search of FEC data didn't produce any evidence that Obama for America disclosed the check. (H/T: Newsalert)
There is probably a good reason the Obama campaign kind of, sort of, well...you know - FORGOT to disclose the check in their FEC reporting.
No doubt the strip club money was for business gatherings of the high and mighty in Chicago. But why would Mayor Daley's machine give illegal money to the Obama campaign? And who signed off on it?
Stay tuned as more is likely to come out on this story in the near future.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky