This is amazing. Have we ever seen such a spectacle before? A sitting governor and his chief of staff arrested and taken into custody on federal corruption charges. For how long have the Kos Kiddies and the DUmmies dreamt of Karl Rove perp walked for his phantom illegal activities just to have one of their own go through it instead? The schadenfreude is simply too delicious to pass up. Give me a big helping, please. It's Fitzmas!
Gov. Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested at their homes this morning in a probe involving the governor's quest to fill Sen. Barack Obama's Senate seat.
The charges also include alleged attempts by the governor to influence the Tribune editorial board.
The governor threatened that if the Tribune didn't support the governor, he wouldn't approve the sale of Wrigley Field.
The complaint contends Blagojevich threatened to withhold substantial state assistance to the Tribune Company in connection with the sale of Wrigley to induce the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members sharply critical of Blagojevich.
The governor is also accused of obtaining campaign contributions in exchange for official actions -- both in the past and recently in a push before a new state ethics law takes effect Jan. 1.
Blagojevich, 51, and Harris, 46, both of Chicago, are each charged with conspiracy to
commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery...
At various times, in exchange for the Senate appointment, Blagojevich allegedly discussed obtaining:
- A substantial salary for himself at a either a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions.
- Placing his wife on paid corporate boards where he speculated she might garner as much as $150,000 a year.
- Promises of campaign funds -- including cash up front.
- A cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself.
Read the entire article. The level and amount of corruption is truly shocking. This guy is so self-serving and self-consumed it's amazing. And it shows how thug politics is alive and well in Illinois:
Robert Grant, in charge of the FBI office in Chicago, added: "Many, including myself, thought that the recent conviction of a former governor would usher in a new era of honesty and reform in Illinois politics. Clearly, the charges announced today reveal that the office of the Governor has become nothing more than a vehicle for self-enrichment, unrestricted by party affiliation and taking Illinois politics to a new low."
He's shocked? I'm shocked he's shocked. Now, the question I have is this: how does the governor's arrest impact President-Elect Obama, if at all?
Update: Our friends at The Smoking Gun have a lot more on Blagojevich's attempt to cash in on the Senate seat.
Update II: David Freddoso at The Corner finds this little nugget in the arrest documentation. If you thought Blago was an awful human being already:
[I]ntercepted phone conversations between ROD BLAGOJEVICH and others indicate that ROD BLAGOJEVICH is contemplating rescinding his commitment of state funds to benefit Children's Memorial Hospital because Hospital Executive 1 has not made a recent campaign contribution to ROD BLAGOJEVICH.
Update III: So, Blago would have appointed Senate Candidate 5, whom Obama apparently didn't want, if Blago didn't get what he wanted out of the deal.
Update IV: Tom Elia at The New Editor notes that Blagojevich is the 4th Illinois governor out of the last 7 to be indicted since 1960:
This makes for the fourth out of the last seven elected Illinois governors to be indicted since 1960 (Otto Kerner, Dan Walker, George Ryan, and Rod Blagojevich) ... since 1972, 28 Chicago alderman have been convicted of crimes. If this number was extrapolated to the US House, it would be as if over 240 congressman had been indicted in the same period.
What a sad state of affairs Illinois has become. It has replaced Louisiana as the country's biggest laughing stock.