* The Sun-Times has a very long and very good story today about the intersection between politics, corporate lobbying and not-for-profits…
In 2000, in the midst of a bruising but ultimately victorious Democratic primary battle against then-state Sen. Barack Obama, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) launched the Rebirth of Englewood Community Development Corp.
Funded with a $1 million grant from telecommunications giant SBC and the promise of another $175,000 from Congress, the not-for-profit agency’s aim was to help revive the violence-plagued South Side neighborhood, Rush said.
A key element of that, Rush and SBC said, would be the creation of the Bobby L. Rush Center for Community Technology. […]
The money from SBC — now called AT&T — would go toward the center, which was supposed to teach computer skills to neighborhood residents and serve as a small-business incubator in a community that badly needed one.
And the $175,000 in taxpayer money later approved by Rush’s colleagues in Congress was supposed to buy and renovate a building near 68th and Halsted to house the facility.
More than a decade later, though, there’s no technology center. And it’s unclear what happened to the money.
It’s unclear from the story whether this was pure incompetence or pilfering or both, but one thing you need to remember when reading the piece is this…
Rush has served since 1995 on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees telecommunications and energy. For years, he has been on its telecommunications subcommittee, with a key role in telecom legislation.
Go read the whole thing.