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The Daley Machine Goes National

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

At the moment it seems clear that Barack Obama has had no direct involvement in the growing scandal involving Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but nothing can remove the stench of Chicago politics that engulfs Obama thanks to his appointments of the Chicago Three.

Let it be said at the outset -- the only way Barack Obama can separate himself from any hint of the sordid corruption that is the earmark of Chicago's Daley machine is to send the Chicago Three back to the political sewer from which they have emerged.

Obama has chosen three long-time associates, David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett, to fill key posts in his administration. All are products of the scandal-ridden Richard Daley machine that dominates the city's politics, and by virtue of that fact alone they are unfit to serve in top White House posts.

This is not a matter of guilt by association. If you're a member of an organized crime family -- even if you've never killed anybody -- you're still part of an organization that routinely commits murder and you share in the guilt.

The same thing is true if you're closely associated with a notoriously corrupt political machine such as Chicago's Daley machine -- you are more than merely tainted by the corruption, you share in it.

Rahm Emanuel, Obama's choice to be White House chief of staff, signed on with Mayor Daley as long ago as 1987, when Daley was running for mayor.

According to news accounts, Emanuel served as a fundraiser for Daley, aggressively convincing donors to give money to Daley's campaign. After Emanuel served in the Clinton White House, Daley welcomed him back to Chicago with open arms, endorsing him in 2002 to fill the congressional seat left vacant when Rod Blagojevich ran for governor.

Daley pulled out all stops to help Emanuel win. And he wound up in the U.S. Congress thanks to the mayor.

He is a product of the corrupt Daley regime and as such is clearly unfit to be White House chief of staff.

Before he went to work for Obama, David Axelrod spent years working for the Daley Machine.

In 2005, he proved his loyalty to the machine when U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was investigating corruption in Illinois. Axelrod attacked him for daring to criminalize the sleazy style of politics in Chicago,

In an op-ed piece Axelrod insisted that trading political favors -- including jobs, known as "pay for play" these days -- is an essential part of the process that makes government work.

Axelrod has been the liaison between the Daley Machine and Barack Obama. Giving him a key White House post cannot cleanse him of his association with the endemic corruption of the Daley Machine, which he has long and faithfully served. Send him back to their welcoming arms.

There is no question of Valerie Jarrett's association with the Daley Machine. She once served as Richard Daley's chief of staff and has been described as a key cog in the Daley Machine. That fact alone disqualifies her from serving in the post of advisor to the president of the United States. Moreover, she has been under a cloud of suspicion for her roles in a couple of sordid scandals involving public housing in Chicago.

Said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton: "Like Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett is a product of the corrupt Chicago political machine. And it is no stretch to say that she was a slumlord.

"We have real concerns about Jarrett's ethics. Washington already has plenty of corruption. We don't need to import more of it from Chicago," Fitton added.

According to Robert Grant, special agent in charge of the FBI's Chicago office: "If it [Illinois] isn't the most corrupt state in the United States, it's certainly one hell of a competitor."

America can do without any hint of the Illinois corruption the Chicago Three represent.

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