Obama's fundraising pal: Civil rights hero/Lehman banker/agent of Chinese arms dealer 

President Obama spent last night the way he spends many nights: hustling for $30,000 and $50,000 checks from wealthy donors at a fancy hotel. CNN passed along this detail from the White House:

helping to introduce Obama is Ernie Green, a member of the "Little Rock Nine," a group of African-Americans who in 1957 were the first black students ever to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Truly impressive. But CNN didn't include other seemingly relevant facts about Ernie Green. He was a director at Wall St. giant Lehman Brothers, where he worked on public finance. He also pleaded guilty in 2002 to charges brought by the Justice Department's Campaign Financing Task Force. Politico's Josh Gerstein recounts the tale:

In the 1990s, Green, a Lehman Brothers investment banker, had a series of business dealings with Yah Lin "Charlie" Trie. Trie was a Little Rock businessman at the center of the scandal over foreign-source financial donations to Democratic campaigns and causes in the 1996 election.

Federal prosecutors and Congressional investigators were suspicious of a series of cash deposits Green made to his bank totaling about $30,000 around the same time he donated $50,000 to the Democratic National Committee. The donation apparently earned an invite for Green and a Chinese arms dealer, Wang Jun, to a White House "coffee" with Clinton.

Nice to know Obama has such people helping him raise money.

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Timothy P. Carney

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