Illinois Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich Arrested By F.B.I. On Corruption Charges. Imagine That.

12-09-08

What in the world is it with Illinois politics? Since the 70’s three of the state’s former governors have spent time in the big house on various charges that all seem to swirl around the corrupt political atmosphere in that state.

Otto Kerner: Served from 1961 to 1968 – Kerner was convicted on bribery, tax evasion and other counts in 1973. He was convicted of arranging favorable horse racing dates as governor in return for getting horse racing association stock at reduced prices.

Dan Walker: Served from 1973 to 1977 – Walker pleaded guilty to bank fraud, misapplication of funds and perjury in 1987 though the charges were not related to his service as governor.

George Ryan: Served from 1999 to 2003 – Ryan was convicted of corruption in 2006 for steering state contracts and leases to political insiders while he was Illinois’ secretary of state and then governor and is currently serving out his sentence of six and a half years.

Rod Blagojevich: Was elected in 2002 on a promise to clean up state government. His predecessor was Republican Governor George Ryan who is now in jail for his own corruption conviction. “Blago,” under investigation for years was arrested this morning on (pdf)federal corruption charges. Oddly, even though he knew he was being investigated, he went before the media challenging anyone to go right ahead and tape his conversations.

“I don’t believe there’s any cloud that hangs over me. I think there’s nothing but sunshine hanging over me,” the governor said. I should say if anybody wants to tape my conversations, go right ahead, feel free to do it. I appreciate anybody who wants to tape me openly and notoriously, and those who feel like they want to sneakily, and wear taping devices, I would remind them that it kind of smells like Nixon and Watergate.”


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I’m assuming Mr. Blagojevich is decidedly less cocky and arrogant about this investigation tonight after his arrest. The feds allege a whole slew of “pay-to-play” charges with most of them revolving around the now vacated U.S. Senate seat that once belonged to Barack Obama. Blago is alleged to have come up with all kinds of scenarios in exchange for appointing certain people to the senate seat. Evidently he was hoping to exchange the seat for something a little more exciting than his hum drum governors job. Word has it he was eyeballing a seat on Obama’s cabinet, a lucrative union job for himself and a high paying job for his wife…hell he was even thinking of appointing himself as the new Senator from Illinois. With a 13 percent approval rating from the people of the state as governor that very well may have been the only way he could have come to roam the halls of Congress as a U.S. Senator. Blago has also been accused of scheming to coerce the Tribune Company into canning the Chicago Tribune editorial board who have written less than flattering articles about him in the past in exchange for state assistance with the sale of Wrigley Field the home of the Chicago Cubs, owned by the Tribune Co.

Obama, who never seems to know anything involving the seedy side of the people he hangs out with, claims he knew nothing about the circumstances surround the case against Blago.

“I had no contact with the governor or his office and so I was not aware of what was happening, ” Obama told reporters today in Chicago. “It’s a sad day for Illinois. Beyond that, I don’t think it’s appropriate to comment.”

David Axlerod, Obama’s senior White House adviser, seems to remember things differently (1:20 in the video) than Obama when it comes to speaking to Blago about an appointment to his vacated senate seat. Shortly after news of this video leaked out the Obama camp released a statement saying Alxerod “was mistaken” and Axlerod himself claims this afternoon he “misspoke.” I suppose viewers will have to decide for themselves whether he seemed to “misspeak” during that interview with Fox Chicago.

At this point U.S. Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said there is “no allegation” that Obama was aware of Blagojevich’s shenanigans concerning his former senate seat even though it has been reported the term “president-elect” was found in the complaint documents over 40 times. There is sure to be lots of scrambling behind the scenes in the next few days with details we have yet to hear about emerging and all kinds of Youtube searches by the Obots hoping to get embarrassing and contradicting videos yanked down before the public comes across them.

In the meantime perhaps Blago can run this clip over and over again as a reminder of probably the last thing he was able to implement as governor of Illinois.

Maybe he and his buddy Tony Rezko can share a cell or at the very least have lunch together in the mess hall if he gets convicted? No worries, just sitting around talking about the good old days….and waiting for an Obama pardon.

This entry was posted in U.S. Politics.

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