I am not sure if Patrick Fitzgerald meant for it to happen, but as more people research the criminal complaint against Rod Blagojevich, more tidbits of information come out, many of which were unexpected and quite possibly deeply embarrassing to those who would like to appear as if they weren’t involved in anything.
John Fund doesn’t directly say this, but his column in the Wall Street Journal sets up the scenario for just such a story. From his column:
|This week Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested on charges that he conspired to sell Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat, among other misdeeds. At first the president-elect tried to distance himself from the issue: “It is a sad day for Illinois. Beyond that, I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to comment.” But it quickly became clear that Mr. Obama would have to say more, and yesterday he called for Mr. Blagojevich to resign and for a special election to fill the vacant Senate seat.
What remains to be seen is whether this episode will put an end to what Chicago Tribune political columnist John Kass calls the national media’s “almost willful” fantasy that Mr. Obama and Chicago’s political culture have little to do with each other. Mr. Kass notes that the media devoted a lot more time and energy to investigating the inner workings of Sarah Palin’s Wasilla, Alaska, than it has looking at Mr. Obama’s Chicago connections.
We all knew that the leftist-leaning media was in the tank for Obama. What the media didn’t know was how badly it would all explode on them if something like the Blagojevich scandal came up. Now, the media looks at least as silly as Blagojevich does since they can no longer claim to be the “watchdogs of government.” If I had watchdogs who were so incompetent as to miss this, I’d have them put down and get new watchdogs. If the media had done their job during the 2008 campaign, we’d have known about the corruption in Illinois long before any of this happened.
|Mr. Obama has an ambiguous reputation among those trying to clean up Illinois politics. “We have a sick political culture, and that’s the environment Barack Obama came from,” Jay Stewart, executive director of the Chicago Better Government Association, told ABC News months ago. Though Mr. Obama did support ethics reforms as a state senator, Mr. Stewart noted that he’s “been noticeably silent on the issue of corruption here in his home state including, at this point, mostly Democratic politicians.”
Yes, it is that Democratic Culture of Corruption that the Democrats refuse to clean up. The hypocrisy of the Dem party is staggering.
But this also sets up a new story that comes from the criminal complaint filed by the FBI against Rod Blagojevich. Section 101 of the complaint states:
|b. ROD BLAGOJEVICH asked what he can get from the President-elect for the Senate seat. ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that Governor General Counsel believes the President-elect can get ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s wife on paid corporate boards in exchange for naming the President-elect’s pick to the Senate. Governor General Counsel asked, “can [the President-elect] help in the private sector. . . where it wouldn’t be tied to him? . . . I mean, so it wouldn’t necessarily look like one for the other.” ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s wife suggested during the call that she is qualified to sit on corporate boards and has a background in real estate and appraisals. ROD BLAGOJEVICH asked whether there is something that could be done with his wife’s “series 7″ license in terms of working out a deal for the Senate seat. ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that he is “struggling” financially and does “not want to be Governor for the next two years.”
c. ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that the consultants (Advisor B and another consultant are believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to “suck it up” for two years and do nothing and give this “motherf*cker [the President-elect] his senator. F*ck him. For nothing? F*ck him.” ROD BLAGOJEVICH states that he will put “[Senate Candidate 4]” in the Senate “before I just give f*cking [Senate Candidate 1] a f*cking Senate seat and I don’t get anything.” (Senate Candidate 4 is a Deputy Governor of the State of Illinois). ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that he needs to find a way to take the “financial stress” off of his family and that his wife is as qualified or more qualified than another specifically named individual to sit on corporate boards. According to ROD BLAGOJEVICH, “the immediate challenge [is] how do we take some of the financial pressure off of our family.” Later in the phone call, ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that absent getting something back, ROD BLAGOJEVICH will not pick Senate Candidate 1. HARRIS re-stated ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s thoughts that they should ask the President-elect for something for ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s financial security as well as maintain his political viability. HARRIS said they could work out a three-way deal with SEIU and the President-elect where SEIU could help the President-elect with ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s appointment of Senate Candidate 1 to the vacant Senate seat, ROD BLAGOJEVICH would obtain a position as the National Director of the Change to Win campaign, and SEIU would get something favorable from the President-elect in the future.
Well, who are these people?
Senate Candidate #1 is Valerie Jarrett, an Obama advisor who also served as Daley’s Chief of Staff. Jarrett is very close to the Obamas.
Senate Candidate #4 is either Dean Martinez, Bob Greenlee or Louanner Peters, all of whom are Deputy Governors of Illinois.
Who is the “specifically named individual?” That answer comes from Truthteller at No Quarter Blog.
It is Michelle Obama, the soon-to-be First Lady of the United States of America.
No Quarter notes that Michelle “was appointed to to the Board of TreeHouse Foods, a WAL-MART vendor, on June 25, 2005, even though she did not have experience in the private sector previous to the appointment.” A link to that news story is here:
Michelle Obama’s Ties To Wal-Mart Cut
May 23, 2007
Those ties were cut in 1987 due to Wal-Mart’s ongoing conflict with organized labor and the Obama campaign didn’t want the conflict of interest. But even so, Michelle got quite a bit of cash out of the deal. According to the above article, compensation was “$51,200 from TreeHouse in 2006. She leaves the board with an option to buy 2,266 TreeHouse shares at a strike price of $29.65. Shares closed at $28.10 Tuesday.”
So, why is this relevent? No Quarter quotes Section 87 of the criminal complaint:
|87. By law, after the President-elect’s resignation of his position as a U.S. Senator, which was effective on November 16, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH has sole authority to appoint his replacement for the two years remaining of the President-elect’s Senate term. See 10 ILCS 5/25-8. During the course of this investigation, agents have intercepted a series of communications regarding the efforts of ROD BLAGOJEVICH, JOHN HARRIS, and others to misuse this power to obtain personal gain, including financial gain, for ROD BLAGOJEVICH and his family. In particular, ROD BLAGOJEVICH has been intercepted conspiring to trade the senate seat for particular positions that the President-elect has the power to appoint (e.g. the Secretary of Health and Human Services). ROD BLAGOJEVICH has also been intercepted conspiring to sell the Senate seat in exchange for his wife’s placement on paid corporate boards or ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s placement at a private foundation in a significant position with a substantial salary. ROD BLAGOJEVICH has also been intercepted conspiring to sell the Senate seat in exchange for millions of dollars in funding for a non-profit organization that he would start and that would employ him at a substantial salary after he left the governorship.
No Quarter goes on to say:
|Blagojevich, in other words, assumed Obama would appoint his wife to a Board for the political favor of selecting Valerie Jarrett for the Senate seat. Blagojevich is not a stupid man. Indeed, he only assumed Obama would participate in this “pay to play” scheme, for he knows Obama is acutely aware how the game is played in Illinois and in Chicago. This explains why Blagojevich mentions Michelle Obama and her lack of qualifications to serve on the Board of TreeHouse Foods when he discusses how Obama could appoint Mrs. Blagojevich to a Board for the political favor of appointing Jarrett to the US Senate seat. Michelle, after all, was appointed to sit on the Board of TreeHouse foods AFTER Obama was elected to the US Senate. Moreover, Michelle Obama’s salary at The University of Chicago nearly TRIPLED after her husband gained the power to submit earmark requests on her employer’s behalf. Just appoint the spouse to a Board and increase his or her salary if you need a political favor from an Illinois politician. That is how the “play to pay” game is played.
Now, this in no way says that Michelle Obama is involved in the Blagojevich scandal. But it does show how scandals like this can bring certain facts and information to light that the people involved do not necessarily want brought out. Michelle Obama’s high-paid employment at jobs for which she had no experience is a prime example of such information.
I am sure that Barack Obama would have preferred that this remain covered and hence his desire to remain “mute,” because now it puts his wife and her business affairs into a spotlight that cannot be turned off. If something comes up from Michelle’s past to haunt them, it is not something that either one of them can claim they had no knowledge of.
You can access the two articles on-line here:
John Fund: Obama Was Mute On Illinois Corruption
The Wall Street Journal
December 11, 2008
Michelle Obama Is The “Specifically Named Individual” On Page 64 Of The Affidavit Submitted By FBI
No Quarter Blog
December 9, 2008
Filed under: Politics | Tagged: Alaska, Blagojevich, Chicago, Chicago Tribune, Corruption, Democrat, Illinois, Jay Stewart, John Fund, John Kass, Michelle Obama, Obama, Sarah Palin, senate seat, Valerie Jarrett, Wal-Mart, Wasilla | Leave a comment »