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by Sharon Rondeau

Dr. Eric Whitaker, whom Obama had recommended to Tony Rezko for Director of the Illinois Public Health Department, has had his communications subpoenaed by two grand juries

(Jun. 11, 2010) — A total of six subpoenas for  the communications of Dr. Eric Whitaker and his former assistant were issued last fall by two separate grand juries in Illinois.  Whitaker, who had run the Illinois Department of Health after being recommended for the position by Obama, is reportedly from the same Hyde Park neighborhood as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, Tony Rezko, and Bill Ayers.

Obama had given Whitaker “a glowing recommendation” to Tony Rezko,  who had assisted former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich to fill state positions, raised money and “helped shape the political careers of”  both Blagojevich and Obama.

Rezko is now a convicted felon who was found guilty of aiding bribery, fraud, and money laundering in a “multimillion-dollar kickback scheme.”  Obama has acknowledged doing business with Rezko and reportedly awarded an internship to the son of a contributor who was later identified as the recipient of a kickback from Rezko.

Late in the presidential campaign, one columnist described Whitaker as “one of Obama’s closest advisors.”  Another report states that he was frequently on the campaign trail with Obama.

A trial for Blagojevich, who has been charged with corruption, began this past Tuesday, during which Blagojevich’s attorney, Sam Adam, insisted that his client is “honest” but had trusted some of the wrong people, including Rezko.

Whitaker reportedly spent four years at the Illinois Department of Health, then resigned to accept a newly-created position at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where Obama’s wife Michelle worked.  It is reported that Michelle Obama “helped create” the program at the hospital for which Whitaker was hired.  His former assistant at the Health Department also obtained a position there at approximately the same time.

Whitaker has claimed that while heading the Department of Health in Illinois, he “developed new methods to help African-American and other minority communities get better medical care.”  One of the departments under his supervision was the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board on which Tony Rezko served and from which he was convicted of soliciting kickbacks and payoffs.

Rezko and Whitaker had contact after Whitaker became Director of the Health Department.

While Whitaker headed the Health Department, he founded Project Brotherhood, a medical clinic “recognized as an important approach in addressing health inequalities among African American men by the National Association of Public Hospitals and the Centers for Disease Control.”  The subpoenas seek information on several programs which began receiving funding after Whitaker assumed his directorship at the Department of Health, one of which is the Let’s Talk, Let’s Test Foundation which Whitaker described as a “black-directed HIV organization” and had been the focus of a prior federal investigation.  The state representative who founded the program, Rep. Connie Howard (D-Chicago) and Whitaker’s former Human Resources Director, Roxanne Jackson, were reportedly subpoenaed.

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