Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe

Obama Hit for Grants

The latest Republican attack line on Barack Obama involves a rabbi who is a relative of the Obama family.

The Republican National Committee is circulating a news release October 7, calling the Democratic presidential nominee to task for awarding $75,000 in grants to a social services agency led by Rabbi Capers Funnye, a black rabbi in Chicago who is also the first cousin once removed of Barack Obama’s wife.

The grants — $50,000 for adult literacy and counseling services, and $25,000 for youth services — went to a group called the Blue Gargoyle in 1999 and 2000, when Obama was an Illinois state senator and Funnye was the group’s executive director, The Associated Press reported.

Both Funnye, chief rabbi of the Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation in southwest Chicago, and the Obama campaign, denied that Obama or the group acted improperly in securing the grants.

“State Senator Obama joined other legislators in securing funding for a well-established social services agency in his district that provided job training, employment counseling, and alternative education programs to approximately 1,200 Chicago residents each year,” campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt told AP.

But in the October 7 press release, the RNC accused Obama of hypocrisy, claiming that he attacked special interest politics while showing “No Shame in Doing Favors for Friends & Family”.




Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, and credit to Foward. Have questions? Please email us at

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.