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Barack Obama's Mounting Ethical Lapses

You have got to check out the lead editorial in today's Wall Street Journal. Sen. Barack Obama's tone deafness on unethical conduct is absolutely stunning.

In sum, the piece notes that Jim Johnson, one of the three people Sen. Obama chose to help him select his vice presidential running mate, received below-market interest-rate mortgages from Countrywide Financial while he was the CEO of Fannie Mae, and did not disclose the sweetheart deals to Fannie's board. This while he was pulling down $21 million in pay. Obama has called Countrywide's CEO--who arranged the special loans for Johnson--one of the people responsible for the mortgage crisis.

Compounding his problems, Obama has reacted in a manner that can only be called cavalier. From the Journal's editorial:

Yesterday, ABC News asked Mr. Obama whether he should have more carefully vetted Mr. Johnson and Eric Holder, who is working with Mr. Johnson on veep vetting. Correspondent Sunlen Miller noted Mr. Johnson's loans from Countrywide and Mr. Holder's involvement as Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton Administration in the pardon of fugitive Marc Rich. Said Mr. Obama: "Everybody, you know, who is tangentially related to our campaign, I think, is going to have a whole host of relationships. I would have to hire the vetter to vet the vetters."

This type of dismissive response to the campaign's growing list of corrupt allies, policy 180s, and broken promises is troubling at best and self-destructive at worst. Sen. Obama called himself "bone headed" for buying property at a discount from developer Tony Rezko. He should have sold the property back to Rezko for what he paid for it and repurchased it at market value.

Before he realized he could raise record amounts of money, Obama promised to accept federal financing for his campaign. Now that he's secured the nomination, he won't respond to Sen. McCain's calls to live up to that pledge. As reported by the New York Times, Obama outright lied to an Iowa audience this winter about passing a nuclear regulatory bill that never passed the U.S. Senate. Then, he accepted nearly a quarter-million dollars in campaign contributions from nuclear industry executives, while they lobbied him on the bill. What is the difference between that and accepting registered lobbyists' PAC money?

When is the GOP and when are the mainstream media going to notice? The Wall Street Journal is a good starting point.

By Bonnie Erbe

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