Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich: A Surpirse “Fitzmas” Present For The GOP

Over the past year, we’ve been throwing around terms like “Chicago style politics” as they related to Barack Obama and other alumni of the Illinois political machine. Of course, we were referring to people like Tony Rezko, William Ayers and the plethora of people who called into WGN radio to try and shout down any opposition to Obama’s campaign.

Well, we certainly weren’t expecting the nice little “Fitzmas” present we got today. Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested today for engaging in Chicago style politics. He tried to sell Barack Obama’s vacated U.S. Senate seat for personal gain.

From MSN:

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich embarked on “political corruption crime spree” and tried to benefit from his ability to appoint President-elect Barack Obama’s replacement in the U.S. Senate, federal officials said Tuesday.

At a news conference in Chicago on Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald called it a sad day for the citizens of Illinois and alleged that the governor tried to “auction off” the Senate seat “to the highest bidder”.

He said the alleged behavior “would make (Abe) Lincoln roll over in his grave”.

And, Mr. Fitzgerald had to censor quite a bit about the dialogue used during the sales process:

The affidavit quotes Blagojevich telling an adviser later that day that a Senate seat “is a [expletive] valuable thing, you just don’t give it away for nothing.”

In a conversation with Harris on November 4, the day of the election, Blagojevich is alleged to have compared his situation to that of a sports agent shopping a potential free agent to the highest bidder.

On November 5, Blagojevich allegedly told an adviser, “I’ve got this thing and it’s [expletive] golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for [expletive] nothing. I’m not gonna do it.”

And from ABC News:

On Monday, Gov. Blagojevich spoke about reports that federal investigators had recorded him as part of their corruption probe. Blagojevich said his conversations were “always lawful.” His confidant, John Wyma, reportedly cooperated with the federal agents. “I should say if anybody wants to tape my conversations, go right ahead, feel free to do it,” said Blagojevich on Monday. “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.” Blagojevich fundraiser Tony Rezko awaits sentencing on a federal corruption conviction in which he was charged with shaking down businesses wanting to do state work for campaign contributions. The governor has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

This is a huge story that will be talked about for a long time. Some well known players are being mentioned quite frequently including Tony Rezko and President-elect Barack Obama. I’m sure Obama appreciates this kind of attention at the start of his administration.

You can access the complete stories on-line here:

Feds: Ill. Gov Tried To ‘Auction’ Obama’s Seat
NBC News’ Pete Williams, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report
December 9, 2008

US Atty: Blagojevich Arrest A “Truly New Low”
December 9, 2008


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