A Little Fact Checking: Clinton and WalMart, Obama and Rezko

Barack Obama thought he was getting in a good dig when he said during the debate Monday night, while I was working on those streets watching those folks see their jobs shift overseas, you were a corporate lawyer sitting on the board at Wal-Mart.”

But Obama clearly did not know the facts behind Clinton’s time on the WalMart board. FactCheck.org provides the facts:

It’s true that Clinton sat on the Wal-Mart board for six years while her husband was governor of Arkansas, where the chain has its corporate headquarters. She was paid about $18,000 a year for doing it. At the time, she worked at the Rose Law Firm, which had represented Wal-Mart in various matters. According to accounts from other board members, Clinton was a thorn in the side of the company’s founder, Sam Walton, on the matter of promoting women, few of whom were in the ranks of managers or executives at the time. She also strongly advocated for more environmentally sound corporate practices, board colleagues and company executives noted. She made limited progress in both areas, but she never voiced any objections to the company’s anti-union stand, they said. But in 2005 she returned a $5,000 contribution to her campaign from Wal-Mart, citing “serious differences” with its “current” practices.

Clinton responded to Obama’s charge with a reminder that he’s had a long standing relationship with Antoin Rezko.

Obama’s Rezko connection could prove to be worrisome for Obama and indeed there must some concern on his part as just last weekend Obama rid himself of another $41,000 in Rezko donations. Obama’s connection to Rezko could utrn out to be more of problem than speculated, “a review by the Los Angeles Times shows that Rezko, a businessman long active in Chicago politics, played a deeper role in Obama’s political and financial biography than the candidate has acknowledged.”

For example, Rezko, his employees and business associates — such as his consultants, lawyers and their families — have provided Obama more than $200,000 in donations since 1995, helping fuel his rapid ascent in Illinois and U.S. politics. Although Rezko is not Obama’s largest bundler, he was there at the start and at critical moments along the way, helping support the candidate when few others were.

Time will tell how troublesome Rezko plays out to be for Barack Obama, but it looks like a much larger issue than Hillary Clinton’s time on the WalMart board that she tried to use constructively in promoting women and the environment.

Anyone who thinks the Republican’s won’t dig deeper into Obama’s Rezko connection is dreaming. In fact they have been hard at work on the issue, Lynn Sweet reports, “For weeks now, the Republican National Committee has been circulating Rezko clips.”

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