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“CLOSE FRIEND” OF OBAMA IS DIRECTOR OF UHI, RECIPIENT OF $5.9 MILLION GRANT
by Sharon Rondeau
(May 21, 2012) — Edward Klein, former editor of The New York Magazine and author of the new book, The Amateur, stated in an interview with Sean Hannity last week that Dr. Eric Whitaker is the person who offered $150,000 to Rev. Jeremiah Wright in exchange for his silence during the 2008 presidential campaign.
The definition of “bribe” is:
The offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of something of value for the purpose of influencing the action of an official in the discharge of his or her public or legal duties.
Further, “A bribe can consist of immediate cash or of personal favors, a promise of later payment, or anything else the recipient views as valuable.”
Klein reportedly told Hannity that Wright had refused the “offer.”
In the introduction to his book, Klein contends that Obama was unqualified to seek the presidency and is “inept in the arts of management and governance.” Klein describes his work as “non-fiction.” He describes Obama now as “clinging to the narcissistic life of the presidency.”
Whitaker was recommended to Tony Rezko, a fundraiser and adviser to then-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, by Barack Hussein Obama. As a result of the recommendation, Blagojevich appointed Whitaker to be Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. Whitaker was quoted as having said that he was “stunned” to have been contacted regarding an interview. He is reported to have been a supporter of nationalized health care and has donated to Obama’s political campaigns.
Whitaker earned a Master’s in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1993.
Although Tony Rezko, who served on the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board which Whitaker supervised and was later convicted of wire fraud and money laundering, Whitaker “was never accused of any wrongdoing.” However, two years ago, it was reported that subpoenas had been issued for “emails and other records” held by Whitaker for an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office into certain activities carried out by the Department of Public Health while Whitaker was director. A link to the Chicago Sun-Times original article now leads to an “Error – Page Not Found” message.
Blagojevich went to federal prison earlier this year after having been convicted on various corruption charges, including attempting to sell Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat. One report states that Whitaker, Jarrett, Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel, now mayor of Chicago, had made contact with then-Governor Blagojevich about the filling of the seat. Another report states that Whitaker was approached by Blagojevich’s office for suggestions.
Of Blagojevich’s alleged crimes, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald had been quoted as saying, “The conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave.” Fitzgerald’s office also spoke with Obama and two aides during the transition period in December 2008.
Another Sun-Times article detailing the friendship between Whitaker and Obama has also been removed.
Whitaker has also reportedly addressed the congregation at Trinity United Church of Christ when Rev. Wright was the pastor. Klein told Hannity that the initial email from Whitaker was sent to a member of the church, who passed it to Wright. Whitaker is reportedly also a member of Trinity.
Klein has reported that Wright told him that after he was offered money for his silence, Obama asked to meet with him “in secret” and ultimately asked Wright not to “do any more public speaking until after the November election.” Wright stated that Obama perceived Wright’s “problem,” if he continued to speak publicly, as “You have to tell the truth.”
Whitaker is now vice president of the University of Chicago Medical Center, which recently was announced as the recipient of a $5.9 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services to fund a community health project, the Urban Health Initiative. The purpose of the grant is to “set up a real-time automated system that will link a patient with up-to-date information about community-based services and resources” and serve an estimated 200,000 people. The gran to UHI was the sole award of 26 to go to the state of Illinois.
Whitaker “often vacations with the first family” and has been a frequent guest at the White House since the Obamas took up residence there. One report states that Whitaker “simply just emails that he is coming over” rather than waiting for an invitation.
In January of this year, the Department of Health and Human Services, citing goals of the new health care law, featured the Urban Health Initiative for “its efforts to increase access to primary health care services. The program, part of the University of Chicago’s Urban Health Initiative, is connecting patients who use emergency rooms for non-emergency services with primary care physicians who can provide them with a regular, ongoing source of care.” A slide toward the end of a presentation on “leading health indicators” stated, “Show rates remain low for this population despite our efforts to improve it” and “Funding is challenging.”
Since 2005, Michelle Obama had been vice president for community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center, earning $316, 962 annually. After her departure, the department was “reorganized” by Whitaker, who held the position of Executive Vice President for Strategic Affiliations and Associate Dean for Community Based Research. One of the initiatives on which Whitaker wished to focus was the Urban Health Initiative,” an ambitious effort to reshape health care on Chicago’s South Side.” The UHI is the recent recipient of a $5.9 million grant through the Department of Health and Human Services under Barack Obama.
Senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett also had held a position at the University of Chicago Medical Center as Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
A link on the UHI’s website is titled, “Michelle Obama Medical Home Effort Slowly Makes Progress.” The Urban Health Initiative focuses on “34 neighborhoods” located in the South Side of Chicago and “values diversity.”
While working at the medical center, Michelle Obama had managed the “business diversity program” and developed relationships between the medical center and the community, which included diverting low-income patients from the emergency room to community health clinics. She also recommended that David Axelrod‘s company be hired to handle publicity for the Urban Health Initiative, designed to save the hospital money by directing uninsured patients to other facilities for care.
In 1993, Michelle Obama reportedly “turned her attention to the non-profit sector” after having worked for a private law firm for several years. It has also been reported that Michelle Obama was under court order to surrender her law license the same year.
Fox News stated that Whitaker and Obama “reportedly” met at Harvard while both were studying for their respective post-graduate degrees. The Washington Post stated in Eric Whitaker’s biography that Obama had told their staff that Whitaker and he had met “on the basketball courts of Cambridge, Mass.” Harvard Law School is located on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, MA, while the Harvard School of Public Health is located at 651 and 677 Huntington Avenue in Boston on the Longwood Campus. Obama reportedly graduated from Harvard Law School in 1991, while Whitaker obtained his Master’s in Public Health in 1993. Boston and Cambridge are not adjacent to one another, being situated five miles apart.
The Post & Email contacted the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, the same office which had investigated Blagojevich and Whitaker’s emails, to ask if the reports which surfaced last week of a possible bribe having been offered Wright constituted a crime, and if so, if an investigation might be launched. The media spokesman, Randall Samborn, responded, “We don’t comment on speculative matters.”