One of President Barack Obama’s earmarks has come back to haunt him–a $100,000 state grant that he obtained for a community garden in Englewood, on Chicago’s South Side, while he served in the state legislature. Like other Obama earmarks and crony projects–such as the Grove Parc housing project, exposed in a rare case of mainstream media vetting in 2008–the garden project failed. Now, the state wants its money back.
The Chicago Sun-Times brought up the Englewood project in 2008, noting that it had never been completed. Today, it reports that a garden has been developed on the site–by two non-profit groups not connected with Obama’s earmark, at a cost of less than $10,000. Attorney General Lisa Madigan began an investigation–with the support of the Obama campaign, reportedly–and determined that the state should recover the funds.
Not much has happened since then–but the Englewood earmark was hardly alone. In his short state and federal legislative career, Barack Obama left a long trail of earmarks. They included subsidies for a variety of state and local special interest groups, including an infamous $1 million earmark for the University of Chicago Hospital, where Michelle Obama’s salary more than doubled after her husband took office in the U.S. Senate.