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“I can’t ask people in the private sector to do it if I won’t as well”

Thursday, Apr 19, 2018

* Good point…

* And check out Sen. Raoul’s response to the Tribune story

Democratic attorney general candidate Kwame Raoul paid more than $13,000 to a former Blagojevich administration official who pleaded guilty to steering state business to companies in which he had a stake and then pocketing much of the money.

Raoul said he was “unapologetic” about hiring former Department of Children and Family Services deputy director Bamani Obadele to help with his campaign, saying ex-offenders deserve second chances.

“I don’t think it’s something we should just say as policymakers, we should put our money where our mouths are,” said Raoul, a state senator from Hyde Park who has worked on criminal justice issues. “I can’t ask people in the private sector to do it if I won’t as well.”

In 2011, Obadele was sentenced to six months in federal prison on a mail fraud count. He admitted directing DCFS contractors to buy promotional items, such as magnets, yo-yos and tote bags, from a company he secretly owned. Gov. Rod Blagojevich had met Obadele years earlier, striking up a conversation at a South Side police station where the teen was shining shoes. The then-governor appointed Obadele to be deputy director of external affairs for DCFS in 2003, but he resigned in 2005 amid an investigation.

Obadele also worked for Rep. Julianna Stratton’s campaign in 2016 and did some volunteer work for Gov. Rauner’s 2014 campaign. He worked for Rep. Justin Slaughter’s surprisingly close primary race this year (and is taking the blame in some quarters for how that turned out).

The bottom line is he made some really big mistakes, then he paid his debt. Even so, this story was bound to run sooner or later. If he stays clean, the issue will likely fade away. Other people have moved beyond much worse.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Almost the Weekend - Thursday, Apr 19, 18 @ 9:24 am:

    Bad move on Stratton and Pritzker they should have coordinated this response with Raoul staff or reached out to them. Great response from Kwame, headline is very misleading

  2. - Perrid - Thursday, Apr 19, 18 @ 9:25 am:

    In theory, I am very supportive of this idea. I don’t know if I would put him in any kind of management position, where he could control money flow, at least not for a good long time, but good for Raoul.

  3. - wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 19, 18 @ 9:27 am:

    I don’t see how Harold can make an issue of this. The guy was a Rauner volunteer in 2014.

  4. - Montrose - Thursday, Apr 19, 18 @ 9:39 am:

    Good response by Raoul. Folks on both sides of the aisle have supported a lot of bills over the past several years to create more opportunities for folks that have paid their debt. It would be hard to ding him on this unless he put Obadele in charge of yo-yo procurement.

  5. - DuPage Saint - Thursday, Apr 19, 18 @ 9:39 am:

    America land of second chances; unless you need one

  6. - Bogey Golfer - Thursday, Apr 19, 18 @ 9:40 am:

    The issue will be whether Raoul appoints Obadele to anything post-election, if he is victorious.

  7. - JB13 - Thursday, Apr 19, 18 @ 10:10 am:

    Can’t ask people in the private sector to do it if I won’t as well.

    I’m flabbergasted. Just imagine the possibilities for Illinois government - nay, government everywhere! - if every politician adopted this attitude about everything. We may finally get somewhere.

  8. - Last Bull Moose - Thursday, Apr 19, 18 @ 10:30 am:

    Good response. As I posted yesterday, Obadele was one of the reasons I think Blagojevich has a fair sentence.

    Hire the man in campaigns, but do not bring him back into state government. Help him find a private sector path.

  9. - Just Me - Thursday, Apr 19, 18 @ 11:23 am:

    If Raoul wants to hire this guy to work on his campaign that is his choice, but if Raoul wins this guy should not return to state government.

    Unlike the private sector, the public sector is paid for with taxpayer money.

  10. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 19, 18 @ 12:01 pm:

    == the public sector is paid for with taxpayer money==

    So? Are you suggesting that anyone ever convicted of a crime be barred from working in the public sector? That determination should be made based on the position one is going into. You shouldn’t issue a blanket ban on those with convictions who have served their time.

  11. - thoughts matter - Thursday, Apr 19, 18 @ 12:33 pm:

    ==the public sector is paid for with taxpayer money==

    True. Taxpayers - definition of which includes people currently known as state employees and people who have paid their debt to society, among others.

    Maybe you think those former convicts somehow get out of paying taxes for the rest of their lives?

  12. - JS Mill - Thursday, Apr 19, 18 @ 12:58 pm:

    =Unlike the private sector, the public sector is paid for with taxpayer money.=

    Really? Thanks for letting us know. /s

    I haven’t looked but my guess is more than one republican has an ex con on their payroll.

    Or would you rather them earn a living by committing crimes?

  13. - Jmmcclu - Thursday, Apr 19, 18 @ 2:47 pm:

    I’m a little late to this party, but I worked with Obadele in the third ward this primary season. He was insanely hardworking, intelligent, and had a grasp of on what actually works for field unlike a whole bunch of other operatives I’ve worked with through the years. He treats the staff he hires for political work with the utmost respect and makes sure they all get taken care of. You can ask any of the professional staff that got brought into the third ward for any number of races, Obedele was great.

    In short, good pick up by Raoul and even better response.

  14. - Whatever - Thursday, Apr 19, 18 @ 2:53 pm:

    ==Unlike the private sector, the public sector is paid for with taxpayer money. ==

    Actually, thanks to the income tax credit Illinois and the federal government give for hiring ex-felons, some private-sector wages paid to ex-felons is coming out of taxpayer money, too.

  15. - Thoughts Matter - Thursday, Apr 19, 18 @ 3:55 pm:

    Just a question here? Private sector wages ( other than tax credit stuff) actually come from the revues for the specific business. That comes from selling a product or service to a customer. So the employee wages are actually paid by customers. So should you run every hiring decision by your customers? Maybe they should get to vote on who you hire, how often that person works, etc? /s
    I actually commend Raoul on walking the talk. I do think he needs to be careful about the guys work duties, though.

  16. - DBC Blocked Yet? - Thursday, Apr 19, 18 @ 4:02 pm:

    =Other people have moved beyond much worse.=

    Apparently Governor Rauner agrees. See high-priced real estate lease deal in Springfield.

  17. - Truthteller - Thursday, Apr 19, 18 @ 8:19 pm:

    There are tens of thousands of ex-offenders who I suspect are more remorseful and more deserving than Obadele .
    Would Raoul give Blago are job when he is released?
    Or Kevin Quinn, who wasn’t even convicted of a crime?
    Wouldn’t it be better to help them get a fresh start in a new field?

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