Christi Parsons and James Kimberly wrote October 11, 2004, in the Chicago Tribune
"Several of the governor's appointees to the pension boards have strong ties to labor unions that have been significant political supporters of [Illinois Governor Rod] Blagojevich. ... Edward M. Smith, the Illinois State Board of Investment chairman, is the international vice president and regional manager of the Laborers International Union of North America, which gave $133,500 to the governor."The name of Edward M. Smith, an Illinois member at large superdelegate who is supporting Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)'s 2008 presidential campaign, has "come up twice" in the federal fraud trial of Antoin "Tony Rezko," Obama's political patron, Abdon Pallasch and Chris Fusco reported April 3, 2008, in the Chicago Sun-Times.
In a secretly recorded May 18, 2004, conversation, Rezko says he sought Smith's help regarding one member of a state board. Also, star prosecution witness Stuart Levine testified this week that Rezko could influence a state pension board when Smith was its chairman.Chris Fusco and Natasha Korecki reported March 22, 2008, in the Chicago Sun-Times
Smith has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
On the May 18  call, Rezko also mentions Christopher G. Kelly, another top Blagojevich fund-raiser, and Downstate labor leader Edward M. Smith as being part of Rezko's plans to control members of the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, which approves hospital construction projects.
"Mr. Kelly had put things into motion, and it was really not the way Mr. Rezko wanted it to happen," [key prosecution witness Stuart] Levine testified.
Levine then explained that an associate of Smith's had been picked to sit on the planning board, but that Kelly had wrongly suggested that she take orders from Levine about how to vote on hospital projects.