Obama: Rezko Raised $250K, Asked No Favors

Candidate gives the lowdown on his dealings with Chicago tycoon
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2008 5:13 AM CDT
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., points to take a question during a press conference in Chicago Wednesday, March 12, 2008.    (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama, hoping to head off future controversy, has given newspapers an extensive account of his dealings with indicted Chicago tycoon Tony Rezko. Obama told the Chicago Tribune that Rezko, his first big political donor, raised as much as $250,000 for his campaigns over the years—$90,000 more than his campaign has previously acknowledged.

"He never once asked me for any favors, or ever did any favors for me," Obama said. Obama admitted to some lapses in judgment, calling his decision to buy land from Rezko "a boneheaded move." But he insisted everything was above board during their long friendship—including his purchase of a house for $300,000 below the asking price on the same day Rezko's wife bought the adjoining lot.