JERUSALEM – In spite of Sen. Barack Obama’s claims to the contrary, the Democratic presidential nominee had a close working relationship with former Weathermen terrorist leader William Ayers when the two served alongside each other on a hundred-million-dollar education foundation, according to the group’s own archived records.
The records also show Obama’s and Ayers’ foundation granted money to radical leftist activist causes.
News reports, archived records, interviews and Ayers’ own curriculum vitae document that Ayers was the founder of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, or CAC, which bills itself as a school reform organization. Ayers also served as co-chairman of the Chicago School Reform Collaborative, one of the two operational arms of the CAC, from its formation in 1995 until 2000.
In 1995, Obama was appointed as the CAC’s first chairman.
In response to a query by National Review Online writer Stanley Kurtz, the Obama campaign issued a statement claiming Ayers was not involved with Obama’s “recruitment” to the CAC board. The statement said Deborah Leff and Patricia Albjerg Graham, who served as presidents of other foundations, recruited Obama.
Last April, Obama dismissed Ayers as just “a guy who lives in my neighborhood,” and “not somebody who I exchange ideas with on a regular basis.”
But Kurtz reviewed the CAC archives at the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago, which houses CAC board meeting minutes and other documentation from the education foundation. He found that along with Leff and Graham, Ayers was one of a working group of five who assembled the initial board of the CAC, which hired Obama.
“Ayers founded CAC and was its guiding spirit. No one would have been appointed the CAC chairman without his approval,” Kurtz writes in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece today.
Indeed, several articles in 1994 and 1995 in the Chicago Tribune detail Ayers’ extensive work to secure the original grant for the CAC from a national education initiative by Ambassador Walter Annenberg, as well as Ayers’ molding of the CAC guidelines. It would have been unusual for Ayers not to have been involved in the selection of Obama.
Kurtz reports the CAC archives demonstrate Obama and Ayers worked as a team to further the foundation’s agenda. Obama was in charge of fiscal matters, while Ayers’ position was more concerned with shaping educational policy.
The documents show Ayers served as an ex-officio member of the board that Obama chaired through the CAC’s first year. Ayers also served on the board’s governance committee with Obama, and worked with him to craft CAC bylaws, according to the documents.
Ayers made presentations to board meetings chaired by Obama. Ayers also spoke for the Chicago School Reform Collaborative before Obama’s board, while Obama periodically spoke for the board at meetings of the collaborative, the CAC documents reviewed by Kurtz show.
According to the documents, the CAC granted money to far-leftist causes, such as the radical Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, which, WND reported, has done work on behalf of Obama’s presidential campaign.
ACORN is the nation’s largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families. It has held violent, disruptive protests, seeks to regulate banks, supports left-leaning education policies, is accused of working on urging partisan voter turnout for elections, and seems to promote driving businesses from cities.
WND broke the story last week that while Obama chaired the board of the CAC, more than $600,000 was granted to an organization founded by Ayers and run by Mike Klonsky, a former top communist activist. Klonsky was leader of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party, which was effectively recognized by China as the all-but-official U.S. Maoist party.
Confirms Kurtz: “Instead of funding schools directly, [the CAC] required schools to affiliate with ‘external partners,’ which actually got the money. Proposals from groups focused on math/science achievement were turned down. Instead CAC disbursed money through various far-left community organizers, such as ACRON.”
In 1995, the year Ayers founded the CAC, he gave an interview for author Ron Chepesiuk’s book “Sixties Radicals” in which Ayers stated, “I’m a radical, leftist, small ‘c’ communist.”
Kurtz notes that in his book, “Teaching Toward Freedom,” Ayers states his goal is to “teach against oppression,” which Kurtz says Ayers defines as “against America’s history of evil and racism, thereby forcing social transformation.”
The timing of Obama’s appointment in 1995 to lead Ayers’ CAC project prompts unanswered questions about when Obama first met Ayers. It is unlikely Ayers appointed an unknown to chair his group.
Also in 1995, the first organizing meeting for Obama’s state senatorial campaign reportedly was held in Ayers’ apartment.
Obama’s campaign did not immediately return a WND request for comment about the timing of the presidential candidate’s relationship with Ayers.
The CAC is not Obama’s only working relationship with the unrepentant terrorist.
In a widely circulated article, WND first reported Obama served on the board of the Wood’s Fund, a liberal Chicago nonprofit, alongside Ayers from 1999 to Dec. 11, 2002, according to the Fund’s website. According to tax filings, Obama received compensation of $6,000 per year for his service in 1999 and 2000.
The “Friends of Barack Obama” campaign fund lists a $200 campaign contribution from Ayers April 2, 2001.
The two appeared together as speakers at several public events, including a 1997 University of Chicago panel entitled, “Should a child ever be called a ‘super predator?’” and another panel for the University of Illinois in April 2002 entitled, “Intellectuals: Who Needs Them?”
Ayers is currently a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and was a member of the Weathermen group, which sought to overthrow the U.S. government and took responsibility for bombing the U.S. Capitol in 1971.
Ayers has admitted to involvement in the bombings of U.S. governmental buildings in the 1970s.
He told the New York Times in an interview released Sept. 11, 2001, “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.” He posed for a photograph accompanying the piece that shows him stepping on an American flag.
Earlier this month, Ayers wrote on his blog he still feels not enough was done to oppose the Vietnam War, although he clarified, “I don’t think violent resistance is necessarily the answer, but I do think opposition and refusal is imperative.”
Ayers’ wife, Dohrn, also has served on panels with Obama. Dohrn was once on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted List and was described by J. Edgar Hoover as the “most dangerous woman in America.” Ayers and Dohrn raised the son of Weathermen terrorist Kathy Boudin, who was serving a sentence for participating in a 1981 murder and robbery that left four people dead.
The charges against Ayers were dropped in 1974 because of prosecutorial misconduct, including illegal surveillance.
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