The Alexi Giannoulias (D)-vs.-Mark Kirk (R) Senate race in Illinois will likely be decided by this question: Which is worse -- Giannoulias' bank problems or Kirk's misstatements about his record/background?
Over the last few weeks, Kirk's various embellishments have dominated the campaign coverage. But today, the Chicago Sun-Times brings up Giannoulias' Broadway Bank -- and even the infamous Tony Rezko.
This was the Tony Rezko who, looking for millions of dollars for a massive South Loop development, turned to Broadway Bank, owned by the family of Alexi Giannoulias. Giannoulias, the Democrat now running for U.S. Senate, had left his post as a senior loan officer at the Chicago bank in late 2005 to mount a successful campaign for Illinois state treasurer, though he still held an ownership stake in the bank.
Rezko's company asked. And Broadway Bank came through.
On Feb. 14, 2006, newly obtained records show, the bank made a $22.75 million loan to a company called Riverside District Development LLC, whose owners, it turns out, included Rezko.
Here's the response from the Giannoulias campaign:
"Alexi left daily operations of the bank in September of 2005, months before this loan was made," says Kathleen Strand of his campaign staff. "He had no knowledge of it, and his name is not on any documents related to the loan.
"This guilt-by-association story is an unfortunate and failed attempt to link Alexi to Mr. Rezko.''