March 13, 2008

Why was Mrs. Obama worth $122k?

Shortly after her husband was sworn in as a U.S. Senator, Michelle Obama famously received a raise from the U. of Chicago Hospitals from $122k to $317k for doing whatever it was she did for them.

But why was she getting paid $122k by the giant hospital in the first place?

An answer may have emerged in an NYT article, "In Developer’s Trial, E-Mail Note Cites an Obama Role." Like everything involving Tony Rezko and the Obamas, this article is complicated and boring. (For example, Rezko's involvement in the Obamas' purchase of their Chicago mansion had to do with zoning details and, likely, with Michelle being on the Chicago Landmarks Commission, but don't ask me to put together a lucid story of what exactly went down.)

What is interesting is part of this NYT sentence in reference to a 2003 email:

"The vaguely worded message also seemed to raise the possibility that Mr. Obama, who at the time was chairman of the Illinois Senate’s health committee, had been involved in recommending candidates for the board."

Yes, but there's no indication of ... Wait a minute? Did that say Mr. Obama was "chairman of the Illinois Senate's health committee?" And this was while Mrs. Obama was being paid over $100,000 per year by one of Chicago's three big private hospitals to do something or other?

Isn't that a conflict of interest?

If I didn't know that Senator Obama is a cross between Mother Theresa, Neo from "The Matrix," and Jonathan Livingston Seagull, I might almost suspect he could be a Chicago politician.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

Well, well, seems like Obama is Nagin with a huge stealth radar.

Steve Sailer said...

I see now that Ann Coulter beat me by more than a year to the Jonathan Livingston Seagull analogy. For those of you to young and innocent to remember, this was a 1970 bestseller of vast proportions that distilled the entire Sixties zeitgeist into one trite fable about a talking bird.

Google "Jonathan Livingston Obama" and enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Good find.

I wonder if anyone would called out as a racist for pointing it out.

J said...

If you define Obama as a typical Chicago politician and not as an affirmative action ethnic radical, then he may be another politician (LBJ comes to my mind) who belongs in Washington. He may even faked (to a large extent) his racial hangups to promote his political career, which is totally legitimate in my opinion. I'll propose to grant Michelle a Ph.D. (Hon. Causis) in Medicine in our next Board of Governors meeting (in May).

Anonymous said...,CST-NWS-mich21.article

By 1996, the University of Chicago offered a job as associate dean of students that extended Michelle's work with volunteerism. As director of the University Community Service Center, she located and supported the volunteer work of students.

Hearing of her work, then U. of C. Hospitals president Michael Riordan offered Michelle a job in 2002 as the hospital's executive director of community affairs, serving as liaison between the institution and its surrounding community of rich and poor.
Two months after Obama's January 2005 swearing-in as U.S. senator, Michelle was promoted to vice president of external affairs and community relations. Tax returns showed her total compensation that year went from $122,000 to $317,000, though hospital officials say some of the latter figure includes a one-time pension payout and a bonus.

By then, among other things, Michelle had expanded a two-person part-time office to a staff of 17, grown the number of volunteers into the hospital from 200 to nearly 1,000, and quadrupled the number of hospital employees who volunteered outside the hospital to 800, officials said.

Anonymous said...

"Like everything involving Tony Rezko and the Obamas, this article is complicated and boring."

OK Steve, I'm not as bright as you are. I assume you insinuated that the NYT purposely keeps this type of damaging information complicated and boring in order to blunt the negative impact it should be having on the Obama train. Is that correct?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if she is getting paid by them to follow her husband around on his campaign....

Anonymous said...

If she were a Federal employee it would be unethical. But I do not know the laws of the state of Illinois. I suspect it is legal in Illinois

Anonymous said...

So the next question is where did the business of the

(a) Landmarks Commission and Rezcko intersect

(b) Il Senate Health Committee and the UofChi Hospital interest

during the Obama's tenure?

Every knows/suspects the Clintons are dirty, but if such political reality touched Obama it would take air out of his ballon.

Obama has hardcore Scientologist-like followers who will deny any reality that would quesion he is thetan-free. However, the more numerous middleroaders will find the dissonance between such hypocracy and hope/change disturbing.

Anonymous said...

Not to bore ya,but believe me Tony Rezko is as slimey(and guilty)as they come;a lot of the case depends on a hospital board big shot named Stuart Levine,who got caught,and turned states eveidence. If Barry has any real connection to the Rezko cesspool,he could be in for some trouble. Maybe he should ask for advice from someone who knows about weathering ethical crises...hmmm,who would he know that could give him advice about that kinda stuff? Anyone....anyone...? _josh

Anonymous said...

$122,000 is a low salary to be paying even a below average Harvard Law grad with a big-firm background, as she had. It's basically a non-profit salary for those types.

In fact, $122,000 is not an unusually a salary for any middle aged white-collar professional in a major city.

Does Steve genuinely not know that, or did his dislike for Obama get the better of him?

Anonymous said...

How does one send tips to the Clinton campaign?

Anonymous said...

"a Chicago politician": you are a heartless bastard, Mr iSteve, to even think such a thing.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, I don't really have a problem with Mrs. Obama's salary. I'm in the medical profession myself, and these hospital administrators typically do make low six figure salaries. Michelle Obama is a diversicrat, but every institution has one of those.

I also don't find it scandalous that they jacked up her salary once her husband became famous. Having the ear of a powerful man like that is worth money.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, a part of the reason that hospital charges are so high is that Mrs. Obama and her Affirmative Action Army are on the payroll. Just like the public school system -- layers and layers of staff positions -- endless meetings and conferences -- all of it just a huge distraction from the real mission of the organization.

I just saw on another website that 13% of voters think Obama is Muslim. I wonder what percentage of MUSLIMS in America think that Obama is a Muslim?

Anonymous said...

Michelle Obama visited blue collar Zanesville, Ohio to deliver an anti-capitalist pep talk to the locals:

Still, Michelle Obama stopped by the other day during a campaign visit and warned the locals to not go for the big money.

"We left corporate America, which is a lot of what we're asking young people to do," she told a group of women at a day-care center. "Don't go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we're encouraging our young people to do that. But if you make that choice, as we did, to move out of the money-making industry into the helping industry, then your salaries respond."[...]

What Michelle Obama didn't mention during the Zanesville visit is that she's done pretty well by helping herself to a sizeable slice of "helping industry" money at the University of Chicago Hospital.

Employed as vice president for community affairs, Mrs. Obama's annual compensation jumped from $121,910 in 2004, just before her husband was elected to the Senate, to $316,962 in 2005, just after he took office.

That's a $195,052 raise -- not bad for someone who looks down her nose at the "money-making industry."

All told, the total income declared by the Obama household on the couple's 2006 income tax return, figuring his Senate salary, book royalties and her compensation from sitting on corporate boards, was $991,296 -- again, not bad for sacrificing themselves in the "helping industry."

She couldn't avoid bitching about her Ivy League education even here:

Still, Mrs. Obama complained about the amount of money she has to spend on piano, dance and other lessons for her two children and the burden of paying back student loans from her time at Princeton and Harvard.

What no horse riding lessons? The agony!

"The salaries don't keep up with the cost of paying off the debt," she said, referring to the student loans, "so you're in your 40s, still paying off your debt at a time when you have to save for your kids."

It's doubtful that many in the audience could feel Mrs. Obama's pain. The median income for female workers in Zanesville last year was $20,142.[...]

"Barack and I were in that position," continued Michelle Obama, complaining about the college loans. "Up until a few years ago, we were struggling to figure out how we would save for our kids."

The article goes on to describe Michelle's claims that only the success of her husband's semi-fictionalized autobiographies saved her family from financial distress.

And you thought Hillary was insufferable.

Anonymous said...

$122K is well into the 90th percentile of income earners. That's sales or professional pay. If she were a deputy general counsel providing legal advice or negotiating deals it's in the market. Window dressing like "director of community affairs"--not so much.

Hell, that kind of job wouldn't even exist if businesses weren't desperate for positions to park their AA hires where they can't do any damage.

As an acquaintance hilariously (and coarsely) put it, the job description is basically, "Stand there, have t**s, and be black."

Anonymous said...

More evidence of the Barack-Hospital connection. Barack landed a $1,000,000 earmark for the hospital. Feel the change!

Anonymous said...

$1 Million was requested for the construction of a new hospital pavilion at the University Of Chicago. The request was put in in 2006.

You know who works for the University of Chicago Hospital?

Michelle Obama. She's vice president of community affairs.

As Byron noted, "In 2006, the Chicago Tribune reported that Mrs. Obama’s compensation at the University of Chicago Hospital, where she is a vice president for community affairs, jumped from $121,910 in 2004, just before her husband was elected to the Senate, to $316,962 in 2005, just after he took office."

Looks like that raise was worth it.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm just suspicious by nature, or perhaps it's my Chicago roots, but I can't help but wonder whether that $1 million earmark, which is going towards the construction of a new 900,000 square-foot hospital "pavilion," has something to do with Rezko. It could even tie back to that NYT article which started this whole thread.

After all, one of the accusations against Rezko is "seeking a bribe on a hospital project." And: "at least three Rezko associates who sat on the hospital board made substantial donations to... Mr. Obama in 2003 and 2004." This is the same board whose members Obama is now accused of helping to select.

Maybe some enterprising reporter will want to look into this. Or not.