From Chicago Sun-Times by Lynn Sweet on March 13, 2008: "WASHINGTON--After refusing since June to make public earmark requests from 2005 and 2006, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is releasing Thursday all the earmark requests he has made since he entered the Senate in 2005.
This disclosure was made just before the campaign starts a conference call with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) to discuss congressional earmarks. This interest in earmarks comes as Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) --knowing one of them will face anti-earmark Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the fall--have signed on to a bill calling for a one-year earmark moratorium. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is against an earmark moratorium.
Here's one highlight: Obama sought money for the University of Chicago Hospitals. Wife Michelle works for the University of Chicago Hospitals, appointed in spring 2005 as vice president for community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals. She is now on leave from the job to campaign for her husband. Top campaign adviser and friend Valerie Jarrett is the Chair of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board and also Chair of the Executive Committee of that board. She has also been named Vice-Chair of the University's Board of Trustees. Obama taught at the U. of Chicago law school and the Obama's two daughters attend school there.
from the Obama campaign
Obama Requested $1 Million For Construction Of A New Hospital Pavilion At The University Of Chicago. In 2006, Obama requested that the University of Chicago receive $1 million to support its Construction of New Hospital Pavilion. For more than 75 years, the University of Chicago Hospitals (UCH) has provided state of the art medical care on the South Side of Chicago. UCH is one of the largest Medicaid providers in Illinois, and it provided more than $90 million in uncompensated care for Medicare and Medicaid patients this past year. To continue providing the best care for patients from all walks of life, UCH is proceeding with the construction of a new 600,000 square foot facility that will ensure their ability to provide the best care for patients well into the future. Funding will go towards assisting the construction and equipping a new hospital pavilion that will increase the Hospitals' clinical capacity by over one-third. [Obama Request Letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, 4/7/06]
Obama did release his 2007 earmark requests but his Senate and campaign office has refused, without explanation, tto disclose 2005 and 2006 until now.
I asked campaign spokesman Bill Burton why the change of heart.
"Sen. Obama throught it was appropriate to release them," Burton said."