Columnist John Kass of the Chicago Tribune welcomes Stanley Kurtz to Chicago and laughs at the idea that Kurtz will get ahold of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge archives linking Obama and Ayers before the election.
The relationship between the ambitious Obama and the unrepentant Ayers is a subject that excites Republicans, who haven't really thwacked that pinata as hard as they might. It really irritates Obama and his political champion, Chicago's sovereign lord, Mayor Richard M. Daley.
"This is a public entity," Kurtz told us Wednesday. "I don't understand how confidentiality of the donor would be an issue."
You don't understand, Mr. Kurtz? Allow me to explain. The secret is hidden in the name of the library:
The Richard J. Daley Library.
The Richard J. Daley Library doesn't want nobody nobody sent. And Richard J.'s son, Shortshanks, is now the mayor.
Hard to believe that with our aggressive national media covering a Presidential campaign that Obama and Daley could manage this cover-up in plain sight. Yeah, real hard.
VERY INTERESTING: Mata Harley at Flopping Aces is trying to reason backwards, figuring someone at the Annenberg Foundation ought to be in charge.
Well - I bet they don't want their reputation sullied, so they may be able to influence events (but one quick hint of their predilections would be to see which board members are donors to Obama.)
However - IANAL but my guess is that legally the Chicago Annenberg Challenge was a separate legal entity with a separate board and another successor group. The archives would have been in the possession of who - the Secretary? Obama was a former chairman and current board member by the time the Challenge folded; he could surely find out who the donor is, but very probably is not the donor. Ken Rolling, Executive Director, would be a good candidate.
This 2003 return tells us the Chicago Annenberg Challenge dissolved as of Jan 30, 2002 and transferred $68,500.55 to the Chicago Public Education Fund.
Ken Rolling signed the tax return as Executive Director.
The article of dissolution was signed by Victoria Chou as Secretary and Edward Bottum as President. The officers and directors are listed on pages 20-21. Ms. Chou is a Dean in the College of Education at the University of Illinois, Chicago. For whatever reason, Mr. Bottum does not appear.
OK, for my money, Ken Rolling and Ms. Chou are the two people most likely to have ended up in possession of the archives, which were not specifically mentioned in the resolution of dissolution. Although to laymen possession is nine/tenths of the law, I doubt that mere possession would make either Rolling or Chou the "owner" in a legal sense.
Both Ken Rolling and Victoria Chou are currently on the Leadership Council of the Chicago Public Education Fund, the successor to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. From the 2001 report I see Barack Obama, Ken Rolling, and Edward Bottum on the leadership council (along with Thomas and John Ayers).
Rolling, Bottum and Chou know the donor or one of them is the donor. IMHO. And I am not a lawyer but I don't see how they can claim with a straight face to "own" these archives in a way that would allow them to be kept from the public.
I imagine they will be getting some phone calls from our eager press corps.
MORE: Amy Ridenour of the National Center for Public Policy Research thinks the archives are owned by the successor entity, the Chicago Public Education Fund.
STILL MORE: Amusing faux-solidarity from the LA Times blog coverage:
School seals records on Obama's service with radical Ayers
These annoying journalists are at it again, trying to poke around into papers in the background of candidates' lives. This time it involves freshman Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, his friend and former radical activist William Ayers and the University of Illinois.
Right, journalists have been pushing this story hard. Later we will read "The Little Red Hen".
But to be fair, the LA Times goes above and beyond by showing the classic photo of Bill Ayers tromping on an American flag.
FOR THE TO-DO LIST: Here is a listing of the grant recipients from the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Anyone spot anything?
IN THE FAIRWAY: The WSJ blog plays the Ayers story straight.