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Governor Blagojevich and Chief of Staff Cuffed and Stuffed

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.


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Comments (15)

President-elect Obama exone... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

President-elect Obama exonerated; from page 8 of the indictment:

'In a conversation with Harris on November 11, the charges state, Blagojevich said he knew that the President-elect wanted Senate Candidate 1 for the open seat but "they're not willing to give me anything except appreciation. [Expletive] them."'

Exonerated? No such thing.<... (Below threshold)

Exonerated? No such thing.

All it says was that Bloydryovich was angry...but his soliciting a bribe or 'favor' was a criminal act and Obama had a duty to report this solicitaion to the authorities...but he has remained silent.

Newest little bombshell:<br... (Below threshold)

Newest little bombshell:

Yeah, Hermie, you keep hoping for change, we'll just watch the indictments roll in.

Imagine that, another Chica... (Below threshold)

Imagine that, another Chicago politician on the take.

Obama has tried to assur... (Below threshold)

Obama has tried to assure donors and voters that he's been schooled by Chicago politics. "I'm skinny but I'm tough," he says.

I get the feeling I'll be quoting this quite a bit in the coming months...

I'm deeply disappointed in ... (Below threshold)

I'm deeply disappointed in this story. I can't imagine a governor of a major state acting so poorly according to the charges and allegations so far.

I expect honesty in elected officials.

Mr. Obama must also be very disappointed as well in this story. His senate seat should have been awarded to someone based on their talent. Mr. Obama had several good recommendations, but it appears that it was the governor himself who was stalling on a pick while attempting to sell the seat. One heck of a rotten story.

Well, He deserves to be arr... (Below threshold)

Well, He deserves to be arrested just as much as convicted felon Ted Stevens did. I have no sympathy for him.

Now on the Karl Rove issue, he most definitely should be arrested for politicizing the justice department not to mention what some would call high treason in outing a CIA agent.

Meanwhile, here in NY, acci... (Below threshold)

Meanwhile, here in NY, accidental Governor Paterson is under all sorts of political pressure over the appointment of Hillary's successor to the Senate. At the moment he's busy stiffing the long-time pol's in the state that were hoping for a 'promotion' in favor of another useless Kennedy simply because of her name.

Mind you, this is the same guy that got ticked when the people that were supposed to be giving him a list of possible Court of Appeals justice replacements for outgoing Chief Justice Kaye (The Court of Appeals is the highest court in NY, the Supreme Court the lower, go figure) had the nerve to produce a list of the most qualified people instead of the most diverse.

jmc: where'd you get the wa... (Below threshold)

jmc: where'd you get the way back machine? Cuz you conspiracy theory is about 2 years out of date.

forgive the mis-typery...'y... (Below threshold)

forgive the mis-typery...'you' = 'your'

This is TERRIBLE for Obama!... (Below threshold)

This is TERRIBLE for Obama!

I love it!!!

Dear Governor Blagojevich,<... (Below threshold)

Dear Governor Blagojevich,

I'm interested in the Senate seat vacated by our new President-elect. I will be moving to Illinois soon to establish residency. Will trade 1982 Toyota PU (still running), three Jose Canseco rookie cards, and a one original Marilyn Monroe Playboy Centerfold. Please respond by email, usdoj.gov/compensation/bribes/....

jmc, you moron -Th... (Below threshold)

jmc, you moron -

The name is Armitage. Look it up.

Paul Hooson -

Blago's the tip of the iceberg, and merely typical of politics here in Obamastan. Governor hair-pie's a disgrace, and so's his wife Patti (daughter of Chicago alderman Dick Mell). Read the full content of the transcript, and see what she had to say about the Cubs/Tribune organization.

Mattews just ran a McCain a... (Below threshold)

Mattews just ran a McCain ad, (Obama--not ready to lead) that showed corrupt Chicago politicians including the Governor , and Matthew's said after the clip: "WELL, THAT WAS PROPHETIC"........Priceless!

Let's deal with some more i... (Below threshold)

Let's deal with some more important issues... Monday's Press Conference.

"Should the state members of the Electoral College cast their votes for Mr. Obama in the face of such overwhelming evidence, and without verification of Mr. Obama's eligibility, they would be committing treason to the Constitution," said Schulz.






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