In an uncomfortable turn of events, outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, a close Obama friend, rejected a charge by Chicagoan Eric Whitaker, a close Obama friend, that a federal corruption case involving former Whitaker associates was tinged by racism.
“Almost everybody who’s been indicted or scrutinized has been African American,” Whitaker said last week, suggesting that the U.S. prosecutor, who technically works for Holder, was conducting a “selective” investigation.
“I have no evidence that there’s a basis to that claim,” Holder said. “I am familiar with the prosecutors who brought those cases, and I’m pretty confident that the bringing of those cases, the investigation of those cases, was done on a non-race based basis.”
The charge got Whitaker out of testifying as prosecutors backed away from forcing him to talk once he played the race card.
Eric Whitaker, who has been friends with President Obama since their days together as graduate students at Harvard, was excused from testimony after he leveled charges of racism against the prosecutors.
Obama, who by throwing in with the Al Sharptons of the world has helped foster the current climate of suspicion that a racist resides within every law enforcement official targeting a black man, must surely approve.
Federal prosecutors said Tuesday they will not call one of President Barack Obama’s closest friends, Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, before a jury hearing a multimillion-dollar grand-fraud case because of “baseless accusations” they say Whitaker leveled the day before.
“We are not going to call Dr. Whitaker as a witness,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy A. Bass told Judge Richard Mills, who ruled Monday that Whitaker would have been a “hostile witness” had prosecutors decided to call him . . .
Whitaker, a 49-year-old African-American physician from Chicago, became combative with Bass at the end of Monday’s hearing, suggesting racial bias was behind the wave of fraud cases brought by the Justice Department in the Central District of Illinois. Nine of the 10 people charged in those cases are black, including Golden and Roxanne B. Jackson, 49, who was Whitaker’s human resources director at the health department. Karin Dingle is the only white defendant.
“Almost everybody who’s been indicted or scrutinized has been African American,” Whitaker said, also telling Bass he’s against “selective” investigations.
“Personally, I’m upset about this process and how I’ve been made to look like I’m on trial,” Whitaker later testified.
Without going into detail, Bass said Tuesday the government would not call Whitaker as a witness because of the “baseless accusations” Whitaker made in his testimony. “I’ll leave it at that,” Bass also said.
Instead, prosecutors plan to introduce photographs, emails and other evidence involving Whitaker into the trial, which is expected to wrap up this week.
No doubt Whitaker and Obama already have their Hawaii tee times mapped out.
Longtime Obama friend and Chicago crony Eric Whitaker has been stonewalling an investigation into a Chicago corruption case and has now been labeled a “hostile witness” by prosecutors.
Whitaker served as director of the Illinois Department of Public Health from 2003 until 2007. He has not been charged with wrongdoing, but two of his aides have been linked to schemes to steal taxpayer money.
Longtime Obama friend Eric Whitaker is said by prosecutors to be stonewalling an investigation into a Chicago corruption case and is in danger of being labeled a “hostile witness,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Whitaker served as director of the Illinois Department of Public Health from 2003 until 2007. He has not been charged with wrongdoing, but taxpayer money appears to have been finding its way into the wrong hands from within programs he oversaw there at an alarming rate.
Obama, who has hung out with Whitaker since the two were grad students at Harvard, worked his connections a decade ago to get Whitaker his job at the Department of Health, according to an earlier Sun-Times article. Obama provided his former associate Tony Rezko with “glowing recommendation” for Whitaker that was apparently passed on to Rod Blagojevich, then the Democratic governor of Illinois. Rezko, a Blagojevich contributor, was at the time helping the governor find people to run state agencies.
Both Rezko and Blagojevich were eventually convicted on corruption charges in other matters.
When Whitaker left the Department of Health, he landed at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where one of his colleagues was none other than Michelle Obama.
From the newest Sun-Times piece:
Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, one of President Barack Obama’s closest friends, has refused to answer federal prosecutors’ questions about whether he had a “sexual relationship” with a former aide who pleaded guilty to stealing $400,000 in taxpayers’ money in a scheme that began when Whitaker was her boss at the Illinois Department of Public Health, court records show.
Prosecutors announced the bribery and theft charges against Quinshaunta R. Golden, who’d been Whitaker’s chief of staff at the state agency, on Aug. 7, 2013. The following day, Whitaker told reporters he was “fully cooperating” in the federal investigation.
In fact, prosecutors say, Whitaker already had stopped cooperating by then, has refused to speak with investigators ever since and now faces the prospect of being called as a “hostile witness” in a related case against two other defendants charged with defrauding taxpayers, according to a court transcript obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.
The 49-year-old Chicago physician had an agreement “to provide complete and truthful information to the government,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy A. Bass told U.S. District Judge Richard Mills in Springfield last month.
But, “following the execution of that agreement,” Whitaker “refused to answer certain questions about his relationship with Ms. Golden,” Bass told the judge.
The prosecutor said Whitaker “then represented to the media that he was fully cooperating with the government” even though he “has refused to meet with the government pursuant to that agreement, and, just recently, through his counsel, advised the government that he was expressly refusing to meet with the government.”
According to the Sun-Times, yet another Whitaker aide at the time, Roxanne Jackson, has been implicated in a scheme to defraud taxpayers:
Whitaker’s actions surfaced during an Oct. 1 pretrial hearing in the case of Chicago businessman Leon Dingle Jr., who’s now on trial in Springfield for conspiracy, mail fraud and money-laundering. Dingle is accused of using his relationships with Golden; another former Whitaker aide at the Department of Public Health, Roxanne B. Jackson; and others to siphon off more than $3 million in taxpayers’ money for his own use, spending it on things including luxury cars and vacation homes.
A spokesman for Whitaker claims he has been cooperating:
Asked about the case, Marj Halperin, a spokeswoman for Whitaker, said Thursday: “Dr. Whitaker is not a party to the case, but he has been cooperative, and he’s been told he could potentially be called as a witness. Because of this potential of serving as a witness, it would be inappropriate to share any further details through the media.”
As the Sun-Times notes, Obama has not stepped back from Whitaker amid the probes of his former aides and the apparent stonewalling. Obama was hanging out with Whitaker as recently as August, when they golfed together on Martha’s Vineyard.
The former chief of staff to one of President Obama’s closest friends, Eric Whitaker, will plead guilty to a massive kickback scheme and has agreed to cooperate with investigators, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Quinshaunta Golden will admit “to bribery, theft and obstruction of justice . . . in a $400,000 state grant kickback scam she is accused of trying to cover up,” the Tribune reports.
Whitaker, who is one of Obama’s close circle of powerful Chicago friends that includes Valerie Jarrett, denies any knowledge of the scheme and is not named in the case.
But, according to the Tribune, Golden got greedy in 2006, when she had already been working closely with Whitaker for several years and when there were still a few years left in their professional relationship.
Golden was Whitaker’s chief of staff when they served together at the Illinois Department of Public Health for several years until late 2007.
Whitaker, an Obama golfing buddy, left the state Public Health Department in late 2007 to work with Michelle Obama at University of Chicago Medicine. Golden left her state job in early 2008 and joined Whitaker at the U. of C. Last year, Whitaker left the university.
Now, she’ll be singing. We’ll see what she reveals to spare herself some time.
A close friend of the President George W. Bush is accused by another close friend – the president’s longtime preacher in Texas, as a matter of fact – of offering a bribe of $150,000 to go away and be quiet.
The press goes crazy, right? The preacher is peppered with questions, hounded at his home in Houston until he is finally forced make a statement, saying . . .
Except, of course, the president is Barack Obama, the accused is Obama pal Eric Whitaker, and the preacher lives in Chicago and goes by the name Jeremiah Wright.
And so there’s nothing.
The allegation is contained in The Amateur, a new book by conservative journalist Ed Klein. While Klein may or may not be reliable – some conservatives have distanced themselves from him – it appears Wright did make the allegation.
The only mainstream White House reporter to do some follow through on this, Jake Tapper of ABC, reported that he listened to one of Klein’s tapes of his conversations with Wright in which the reverend didn’t deny suggestions that it was Whitaker who bribed him.
Whitaker denies he did it which, guilty or innocent, is what you’d expect. Wright refuses to answer questions from Tapper, which is not quite what you’d expect.
And no one in the press is doing much investigating that we know of – which is exactly what we’d expect.
The Department of Health and Human Services last week announced it had awarded a $5.9 million grant to a University of Chicago Medical Center program tied to Michelle Obama and run by Eric Whitaker, one of President Obama’s closest friends.
The Urban Health Initiative, which received the award, was originally based on a smaller program launched during the last decade by Michelle Obama, who was an executive at the University of Chicago Medical Center before she departed to become first lady. The UHI is headed up by Obama basketball and golf buddy Whitaker, who has known the president since Obama’s days in law school and who also vacations with the first family.
Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett also has ties to the UHI. Until resigning to go work at the White House, Jarrett was Chairman of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees. And in 2007, a PR firm run by former senior White House adviser and Obama political guru David Axelrod provided provided public relations strategy advice to the UHI, according to the Washington Post.
There is no specific evidence that any of those linked to the Obamas, or the Obamas themselves, influenced the HHS decision to grant the funding to the UHI. But the large award raises questions about appearance, given the number of Obama associates connected to the program and the involvement of the first lady with its founding.
The UHI won out over lots of competition. According to HHS, some 3,000 applications were received for a share on the $1 billion in 3-year grants available. Only 26 programs were included in the first batch of awards doled out.
An HHS spokesperson said that while “final determinations” were made by the HHS’s CMS Innovation Center Director, objective standards were used in selecting the awards and the White House was not “in any way” involved in the selection of grantees.
“Applications that met the basic eligibility requirements underwent a competitive, objective review,” the spokesperson said. “Independent health care expert review panels from outside government and staff from all across the Department of Health and Human Services reviewed the applications for how well they met the criteria outlined in the grant solicitation, and made recommendations regarding funding . . . scoring was conducted by an independent panel of content experts that was organized by an experienced contractor.”
The awards have been politicized by the administration, which is touting them as part of its “We Can’t Wait” initiative to create jobs by executive action while the White House “waits” for the Republican-led House to act. The Innovation Center was established under Obamacare.
The Urban Health Initiative was founded to help link low-income patients to health providers in their communities.
According to HHS, UHI received the grant to help it, in partnership with other groups, increase patients’ access to health resources by developing an electronic database of health providers that links to electronic health records maintained by “local safety net providers.”
Last week’s award is not the first time money directed toward the UHI has raised red flags. In September, The Daily Caller reported that the private philanthropy of billionaire Obama supporter and donor George Kaiser had donated $10,000 to the UHI during 2009, the same year Kaiser secured the now-infamous $535 million government loan guarantee to failed solar panel maker Solyndra.
Wanted to flag this article for you. The Daily Caller is reporting that Solyndra investor George Kaiser donated to a program near and dear to Michelle Obama, Barack Obama buddy Eric Whitaker and Valerie Jarrett during the same year he obtained the half billion dollar loan guarantee for Solyndra.
A great piece of reporting and another piece in the puzzle of the growing scandal surrounding the White House decision to approve taxpayer backing for the dicey solar panel maker, which of course went belly up.
President Obama had a little fun today claiming some credit for preventing a government shutdown, materializing at the Lincoln Memorial to highlight that the monuments are open for business. Note Eric Whitaker, his Chicago pal, was along for the ride. I assume Whitaker is in town because he was going to head to WIlliamsburg with… Continue Reading