December 9, 2008

Governor Blagojevich arrested!

"U.S. Attorney's office spokesman Randall Samborn says both Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested Tuesday."

AND: The Chicago Tribune published this article shortly before the news of the arrest broke:
A three-year federal corruption investigation of pay-to-play politics in Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration has expanded to include his impending selection of a new U.S. senator to succeed President-elect Barack Obama, the Tribune has learned.

Federal authorities got approval from a judge before the November general election to secretly record the governor, sources told the Tribune, and among their concerns was whether the selection process might be tainted. That possibility has become a focus in an intensifying investigation that has included recordings of the governor and the cooperation of one of his closest friends....

"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.
Nothing but sunshine ... the better to cast long shadows.

UPDATE: Some details:
As Mr. Blagojevich mulled the Senate appointment, prosecutors say, he discussed gaining “a substantial salary” at a nonprofit foundation or organization connected to labor unions, placing his wife on corporate boards where she might earn as much as $150,000 a year and trying to gain promises of campaign money, or even a cabinet post or ambassadorship, for himself.

A 76-page affidavit from the United States Attorney’s office in Northern Illinois says Mr. Blagojevich was heard on wiretaps over the last month planning to “sell or trade Illinois’ United States Senate seat vacated by Pres-elect Barack Obama for financial and personal benefits for himself and his wife.”...

Under Illinois law, Mr. Blagojevich has sole authority to fill the seat being vacated by Mr. Obama, who was elected to the Senate in 2004.

According to the statement from prosecutors, Mr. Blagojevich told an adviser last week that he might “get some (money) upfront, maybe” from one of the candidates hoping to replace Mr. Obama. That person was identified only as “Candidate 5.”
So who is this Candidate 5?

AND: Feast your eyes on the criminal complaint, which quotes Blago saying the Senate seat "is a fucking valuable thing, you just don't give it away for nothing."

91 comments:

TosaGuy said...

Isn't getting arrested a job requirement for an Illinois Governor?

Simon said...

Ah, Chicago - Home of clean, new, hopey politics...

Well, it rhymes with hopey, anyway.

AJ Lynch said...

It would be funny if it was not outrageous. Elected office has become a free-for-all money grab.

SteveR said...

"Blagojevich, a Democrat, took the chief executive's office in 2003 as a reformer promising to clean up former Gov. George Ryan's mess."

Perhaps he clean up Ryan's mess but he created his own. Here's what I don't understand, the system is already rigged so that a politician can legally gain so much power and money why do they have to do this kind of stuff? Oh, never mind.

vet66 said...

Now we have an explanation concerning Blags' success on the fundraising front, namely "pay to play."

Trying to emulate "HIS AWESOMENESS" Blag' lacked BHO's smooth offering of Hope-to-play as opposed to Blags' Pay-to-play. That, my friends is the difference between a winner and a loser.

Close but no cigar!

Lem said...

I just want to know if he put the money in his freezer.

Josh said...

The specific accusation here is huge -- that Blago was basically trying to sell Obama's Senate seat.

For those keeping score at home, a conviction would mean that 4 of our last 8 Governors ended up in Federal jail.

traditionalguy said...

Where I live we always expect the other Party to watch out for open corruption with the help of newspapers and TV reporters. That doesnt work where there is only one viable political Party. A truly great politician figures out ways to steal that are hidden in the legal methods of decision making process. We really do need two political parties at work to hold down the abuses.With one party rule there is no restraint. Thats why the Repubs lost their mojo. They colluded with the Dems rather than restrained Government as a Mega Billions Lottery scheme.

Original Mike said...

Well, it rhymes with hopey, anyway.

dopey?

pokey? (as in, "he was sent to the pokey")

Meade said...

What's the Matter with Illinois?

Lem said...

We have something similar here in NY.

Gov Patterson has been taking his sweet time naming a replacement for Hillary.

I wonder why?
Dont tell me he cant see the danger ;)

mcg said...

Thank goodness Obama escaped that corrupting environment before it had taken hold of him! Whew!

Meade said...

"So who is this Candidate 5?"

Answer: Candidate 5 is the candidate who Individual D spoke to concerning the need for Fundraiser A to grease the already oily palm of Governor B.

Darcy said...

Well, clearly he was palling around with unscrupulous people.
He wasn't pragmatic enough about it, though.

Tibore said...

Corruption in Illinois politics. Color me surprised! (end sarcasm)

AllenS said...

Waterboard Blagojevich to see who Candidate 5 is.

Original George said...

Beyond anything imaginable. You have to wonder how many other times this has happened to other newspapers and TV networks...and if that is part of the reason why news coverage of, say, the recent Presidential election was so incredibly awful.....

"Intercepted calls allegedly show that Blagojevich directed Harris to inform the Tribune and an associate, identified as Tribune Financial Advisor, that state financial assistance would be withheld unless members of the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board were fired, primarily because Blagojevich viewed them as driving discussion of his possible impeachment.

In a Nov. 4 phone call, Blagojevich allegedly told Harris that he should say to Tribune Financial Advisor, the Cubs chairman and the Tribune owner, “our recommendation is fire all those [expletive] people, get ‘em the [expletive] out of there and get us some editorial support.”

On Nov. 6, the day of a Tribune editorial critical of Blagojevich , Harris told Blagojevich that he told Tribune Financial Advisor the previous day that things “look like they could move ahead fine but, you know, there is a risk that all of this is going to get derailed by your own editorial page.”

Harris also told Blagojevich that he was meeting with Tribune Financial Advisor on Nov. 10.

In a Nov. 11 intercepted call, Harris allegedly told Blagojevich that Tribune Financial Advisor talked to Tribune Owner and Tribune Owner “got the message and is very sensitive to the issue.”

Harris told Blagojevich that according to Tribune Financial Advisor, there would be “certain corporate reorganizations and budget cuts coming and, reading between the lines, he’s going after that section.”

Blagojevich allegedly responded: “Oh. That’s fantastic.”

AJ Lynch said...

I second the waterboard method. Surely Bushco has pre-authorized its use for corrupt Dem pols and Taliban. Heh.

Der Hahn said...

But the real big news is how much the RNC paid for Sarah Palin's duds! And she's still wearing them.

American Liberal Elite said...

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay,
My, oh, my, what a wonderful day.
Plenty of sunshine headin' my way,
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!

Original George said...

If he's got dirt on Obama or Rahm Emmanuel, won't he sing a sweet song....

john said...

Ah, Tony Rezco's name pops up again. Remeber hearing, before the election, that he was "singing" to the feds, and some here expected an October surprise? Well, maybe this is the December surprise.

Would Obama be so dumb to be involved in these calls? Probably not, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of his campaign staff are also caught up in this sting.

garage mahal said...

Oh please please please be some dirt on Obama. Hey anyone know the procedure if both Obama and Biden got caught up in this scandal if Our Sarah could somehow get appointed President? A guy can dream can't he?!

Pogo said...

The lack of a functioning press, one that investigates and reports and tells the truth regardless of party affiliation, is dangerous to the survival of a democracy.

We have instead a majority party and its wholly-owned and DNC-controlled press, a mere party organ.

I rejoice that the Tribune is going broke. I would love to dance on the grave of the NYTimes for similar reasons. I cannot even trust what the press says about this arrest.

I have learned I have to double check their stories elsewhere.

madawaskan said...

So let's see-

Obama was part of Illinois politics for how long, again?

And ya things-changed...

Obama couldn't change Chicago but damn it he's going to change our light bulbs.

section9 said...

The press is dying for two reasons: lack of revenue from advertising and, let's face it, agenda journalism. People don't trust what they're reading.

reader_iam said...

I liked this line, by Dave of the Glittering Eye: "The most likely defense is that he’s too stupid to be bad." Not that this will work, one hopes!

---

Totally OT, but meanwhile, it's also back to the future on the TV programming front.

Maguro said...

Criminal complaint against Blagojevich can be found here:

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/
years/2008/1209081rod6.html


Pretty funny reading, the Gov is clearly as as dumb as a box of rocks. Nothing incriminating against Obama, though. The Gov was pretty pissed at the Pres-Elect because he wouldn't make a deal with him on the Senate seat.

Lem said...

An ambassadorship?

Who in the Obama transition team is in positions to make something like that happen?

Has anybody in the Obama transition team been in contact with the Governor?

Don’t hold your breath, nobody will ask.

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our live.

This presidency is going to be Drudge heaven.

Richard Dolan said...

The best proof for the existence of God will be that there is no fallout from all of this for Obama. It is hard to imagine how a politician could thrive in Chicago without getting tainted, given the corrupt bipartisan norm that seems to prevail in Illinois. But assuming that God loves for America (surely you do), it follows that God must have protected Obama from getting caught up in all of this. No sensible person could want to see Biden in charge of anything. A beneficient God would necessarily agree.

Obama was not my candidate, but he is so much better than Biden. May the Lord keep and protect Obama, at least until the voters get to reconsider their choice.

madawaskan said...

Well that's just because Obama plays better...

Seriously how long has Mr. Hopey Changey been swimming in that Chicago pool?

Add to that how many fellow goombadies has he hired from the "Chicago Scene" to crack nuts for him at the White House?

It got so bad my kid said-

"Why don't they move the White House to Chicago and be done with it? Think of all the new landmarks."

reader_iam said...

A side observation: It appears that the pressure to fire editorial board members at the Trib was in connection with the sale of the Cubs, not with a financial deal involving the newspaper specifically, itself. Now, I have not been following this story on any front, and I do not know any of the details. The question this raises for me is the vulnerabilities posed by diversification in so-called media companies, in the dilution of corporate core missions. One has to wonder how much of this sort of thing goes on about which we don't know.

madawaskan said...

Damn you got to love some of the quotes in this article -and the title of it-

Otherwise, Blagojevich considered appointing himself. The affidavit said that as late as Nov. 3, he told his deputy governor that if "they're not going to offer me anything of value I might as well take it."

"I'm going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain," Blagojevich allegedly said later that day, according to the affidavit, which also quoted him as saying in a remark punctuated by profanity that the seat was "a valuable thing — you just don't give it away for nothing."


Ill. Governor Arrested in Obama Successor Probe

bearbee said...

For those keeping score at home, a conviction would mean that 4 of our last 8 Governors ended up in Federal jail.

Illinois State motto: I Serve*

What's the Matter with Illinois?

They get caught.

* Based on the Prince of Wales motto: Ich Dien

bearbee said...

Pretty funny reading, the Gov is clearly as as dumb as a box of rocks.

But, but......he's a looowyer....

PatCA said...

Please, please, let there be a long and juicy trial.

It just proves to me that these people are in it for the money. Power? Feh. Look at the Clintons--from Arkansas to zillion dollar hedge funds.

I do credit the Trib with at least criticizing him, to the point where Blago demanded the entire board be fired!

Methadras said...

This is a fine example of Daley politics don't you think?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

And THIS is the cesspool where Obama earned his political stripes and crawled out onto the National political scene. Mrs. O gets a plum position and "that the hospital tripled Michelle Obama's salary right about the time that Barack was elected to the U.S. Senate." Rezko... Ayers..... Reverend Wright and his million dollar mansion.

We can all be proud, can't we.

reader_iam said...

Patrick Fitzgerald has been a very busy man, and with regard to politicians on both sides of the aisle, including both George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich. Do you recall that there were rumors a few years back that he would not continue as U.S. Attorney? They were, of course, unfounded. It will be interesting to see how he fares going forward.

reader_iam said...

Press conference has started.

reader_iam said...

Blag has been involved can only be described as "a political corruption crime spree" is the phrase Fitzgerald just used.

reader_iam said...

A bug was placed in Blag's campaign office and a tap in his home about two months ago, in response to the speeding up of "pay-to-play" behavior.

reader_iam said...

"Contributor" told: "Money got to be in now." (Caught on bug, I assume.)

Lord, dumb as a box of rocks sure seems apt.

Chip Ahoy said...

Your many trenchant quips, your perspicacious barbs and your acrid sardonic remarks regarding Chicago political reality cheer my soul.

reader_iam said...

"The conduct would make President Lincoln roll over in his grave."

AllenS said...

I have a question. Since the Governor is the one that is supposed to nominate a new Senator, and the Governor is unable to carry out those duties, who will?

Rich B said...

Just one more reason to be in awe of Obama, how he emerged spotless from the Chicago political machine. Sort of like the virgin birth.

reader_iam said...

"I should make clear the indictment makes no allegations about the president-elect whatsoever..." (I think that's within a word, maybe two, of being the exact quote.)

Theo Boehm said...
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The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Drill SGT said...

Reader said...They were, of course, unfounded. It will be interesting to see how he fares going forward.

Yah think maybe Obama will ask for his resignation in 40 days?

I'm amazed that the Governor didn't know his phones were going to be wired. what with Rezko singing and just weeks before Fitz is going to be fired.

Dumber than the Mabia for sure. They were smart enough to have a loyal deputy as a cut-out guy. Guess the Dems in Chicago don't trust anybody that much.

reader_iam said...

"This is a moment of truth for Illinois ..."

reader_iam said...

He praises the cooperation of all sorts of government agencies/departments but put out what is close to a plea, as I'm interpreting, for "people out there" (my summary phrase, not a quote) to step forward with info.

Hmmm.

The Drill SGT said...

AllenS said...
I have a question. Since the Governor is the one that is supposed to nominate a new Senator, and the Governor is unable to carry out those duties, who will?


why can't he? He's still the Governor.

bearbee said...

Reid: 'Very Disappointed' by Blagojevich Arrest
By Paul Kane
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) spoke to the Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich (D) just "a few days ago" about the appointment to succeed Barack Obama, delivering a message the electability was the key concern for who got the nod.


Gee, Harry, sure you didn't say nothin' incriminatin'..

madawaskan said...

Look damnit-

Here is why I hate unions-they are organized along similiar lines to the mob-and on top of that they are in bed with one party and one party only. In the early days they were blatant Communist now they're just Democrats not interested in America but it's destruction and re-organization according to the dictates of Socialism not Democracy which made America...

Blagojevich knew who was ready to get into his bed of corruption-

THE UNIONS.

Here:

From The Chicago Tribune-

A substantial salary for himself at a either a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions.

[...]

On Nov. 10, in a lengthy telephone call with numerous advisors that included discussion about Blagojevich obtaining a lucrative job with a union-affiliated organization.

[...]

Two days later, in a three-way call with Harris and Advisor B, a consultant in Washington, Blagojevich and the others allegedly discussed the prospect of a three-way deal for the Senate appointment involving an organization called “Change to Win,” which is affiliated with various unions including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

[...]

Harris allegedly said they could work out a deal with the union and the President-elect where SEIU could help the President-elect with Blagojevich’s appointment of Senate Candidate 1, while 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.

[...]

On Nov. 12, Blagojevich spoke with SEIU Official who was in Washington. This conversation occurred about a week after Blagojevich had met with SEIU Official to discuss the Senate seat, with the understanding that the union official was an emissary to discuss Senate Candidate 1's interest in the Senate seat.

Chicago Tribune

This union SEIU was in it thicker than theives for Obama in Las Vegas during the "open" caucuses...

And that's one thing Unions know how to work is caucuses.

Obama did very well in those situations-I'm sure he owes a lot of that to the unions-but ya-Obama is clean as a whistle.

He never noticed a crook like Blagojevich with the audacity to try to sell an open Senate seat vacated by him-Obama- while Blagojevich was under investigation.

Think about that for a minute.

Blagojevich operated like this while under investigation by the Feds and Obama never noticed Blagojevich's character.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Stodder said...

the Senate seat "is a fucking valuable thing, you just don't give it away for nothing."

Best argument for small government you can find.

People given any power at all abuse it. They just do. They wake up one day and realize that they have discretion over X and X is "a fucking valuable thing, you just don't give it away for nothing."

This is how you counter "it's patriotic to pay higher taxes." You just point out that taxpayers are being asked to, essentially, corrupt another shlub like Blagovich.

hdhouse said...

the stupidity of some people in office is staggering. with everyone poking around after him surely surely surely he should have know the potential for a bug.

Imagine what he was saying when he wasn't being careful.

hang 'em.

Paddy O. said...

I'm just really glad Obama got elected and has a ticket out of Illinois before any of this corruption stuff began to touch him.

Close call there. I bet he's breathing a big sigh of relief how all the people he worked with apparently were corrupt, but didn't see fit to get him in on any of it, thus freeing him to be an above the board Illinois senator and presidential candidate on his own merits.

Daryl said...

This is a good time to remind everyone that while he was in Illinois, Barack Obama never did anything whatsoever to fight corruption.

The Drill SGT said...

HDHouse,

3 for three in that lst post :)

Jon said...

The GOP sure has had a good run since Nov 4. Three for three in the House and Senate special elections, and now this.

Eli Blake said...

I hope he goes to prison, for a long, long time.

My partisan loyalty ends when it comes to corruption (in fact this happened just two days after I wrote a post on how good it was to be rid of William Jefferson.

It is funny though to see all those on the right who thoroughly trashed Patrick Fitzgerald for going after Scooter Libby a few years ago, now suddenly giddy that he moved swiftly and decisively this morning. Obviously the guy is a professional, and he's not afraid to go after anybody.

reader_iam said...

Hey--just a thought (tongue firmly in cheek, leaving aside that thoughts don't have cheeks)--does this mean it's conservative's turn to start peppering comments thread with ...

"Fitzmas!"

???

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...

I swear I didn't see Eli's comment before I posted mine.

reader_iam said...

A April 2006 quote from Fitzgerald (hat tip to Wikipedia, which made the search quick by "quoting the quote" and sourcing it):

"People now know that if you're part of a corrupt conduct, where one hand is taking care of the other and contracts are going to people, you don't have to say the word 'bribe' out loud," Mr. Fitzgerald said. "And I think people need to understand we won't be afraid to take strong circumstantial cases into court."

Simon said...

The Drill SGT said...
"He's still the Governor."

Actually, he may not be. Is being under arrest and indictment a "disability" rendering "the Governor ... unable to serve"? If so, Art. 5 § 6(b) of the Illinois Constitution says that he isn't the Governor - at least for now. We'd have to see what the courts have said about § 6 in the past to know.

Methadras said...

madawaskan said...

Blagojevich operated like this while under investigation by the Feds and Obama never noticed Blagojevich's character.


Mr. Barely allegedly didn't notice a whole lot of other peoples characters either. Mr. Barely knows how things were run in Ill. and he played along too, but just enough not to get his hands dirty because after all he had higher aspirations. People are such suckers for history aren't they?

garage mahal said...

Dem Scandal. Yesssssss. *fist pump*

We're back!

/wingnut

Alex said...

garage mahal said...

Oh please please please be some dirt on Obama. Hey anyone know the procedure if both Obama and Biden got caught up in this scandal if Our Sarah could somehow get appointed President? A guy can dream can't he?!
10:19 AM

Leave it to garage troll to twist this into Sarah Palin. Now it's a guaranteed 200-comment thread.

bearbee said...

Durbin urges special election to succeed Obama

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin says the Illinois legislature should order a special election to fill President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat rather than allow Gov. Rod Blagojevich to pick a new senator.

Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday in connection with allegations he sought favors to influence his choice for Obama's replacement.

Durbin told reporters in Washington that "No appointment by this governor, under these circumstances, could produce a credible replacement."

He urged the Illinois legislature to quickly set up a special election.

reader_iam said...

I'm not clear that this is just a Dem scandal, or even particularly that separate from the ongoing corruption etc. probes in Illinois (the senate-seat part excepted; that's a new level). For an example, longtime Republican insider, William Cellini was indicted at the end of October in connection with pay-to-play.

I do think the uncovering and calling out of corruption is worth fist-pumping, full stop. Don't you?

Alex said...

I do think the uncovering and calling out of corruption is worth fist-pumping, full stop. Don't you?

1:13 PM

Reading the HuffPo, you'd get the impression that the Dems are 99% clean party and the GOP are 99% corrupt.

reader_iam said...

It appears that corruption is the kudzu of Illinois politics; it appears to creep and attempt to take over without discrimination.

How non-partisan of it.

reader_iam said...

Was it JohnStodder, here or on the other thread, who made a comment the point of which was essentially "it's the power, not necessarily the party" which corrupts? (I hope that's not an unfair summary; I apologize if it is.) It's like that, I think.

s1c said...

Its Fitzmas!!!

A crooked Illinois politician, who knew? I tell ya I am shocked, shocked I tell ya!!!

Michael_H said...

the Senate seat "is a fucking valuable thing, you just don't give it away for nothing."

Now just a minute. Everyone, please simmer down and consider explanations beyond the obvious.

I believe that Blago was heroically trying to work out a deal to get a better quarterback for the Chicago Bears. No good citizen of Illinois can possibly criticize Blago for trying to cut a deal to replace Rex Grossman.

Freeman Hunt said...

Obama was not my candidate, but he is so much better than Biden.

No kidding. Had something come out about Obama prior to the election, I'd have been fine with it. But not now. Not now!

Can you imagine... President Biden? No talking about corruption if Obama is involved. Luckily, doesn't look like he's involved in this.

Of course, there are also safety concerns for a President. Obama should be kept in an impervious, hermetically sealed, man-sized hamster ball for the duration of his term.

bearbee said...

Obama should be kept in an impervious, hermetically sealed, man-sized hamster ball for the duration of his term.
President Hamster

Need to create room for the telepromter

PatCA said...

"Blagojevich operated like this while under investigation by the Feds and Obama never noticed Blagojevich's character."

"What can I say?"

Kirk Parker said...

Lem,

You are funny, dude!

Joe Hogan said...

This is a "Merry Fitzmas" of a kind unanticipated by our friends on the left when visions of frog-marched Republicans danced in their heads.

AJ Lynch said...

This whole thing is disgusting on so many levels (heh).

Seriously, the country is almost falling apart and this governor [who is a crony in many ways to the new prez and his political power structure] is caught trying to sell a Senate seat to the highest bidder.

dick said...

Funny how up until this happened Obama was a reincarnation of FDR and his policies according to the received wisdom. Now he is a reincarnation of HS Truman in being clean while coming from a total political cesspool. Wonder which is the real Obama or have we seen him yet.

Freeman Hunt said...

President Hamster

Perfect. Except that it should be fancier. After all, Obama is the President of the United States.

It should be made out of bullet and bomb proof rigid material, and the seams should probably be gilded with gold. Also, if there could be a freely rotating layer within the material, nice extras could be added like a Presidential seal that is always situated behind the President's head, and perhaps the area around his feet could be perpetually blacked out to avoid the awkward appearance of his feet at the bottom of a sphere. You could even use that layer to add flattering lighting--illuminated by the spotlight wherever he goes!

When you've got the glow...

AJ Lynch said...

FReeman:

The secret service read this blog and already "borrowing" your idea!

jayne_cobb said...

Not to butt in, but if it's for Obama then it would need an official title and seal as well; perhaps something like:

"The Official Hamster Ball of the Office of the President Elect"

(sorry but I'm not all that creative)

AlphaLiberal said...

Go Fitzgerald! It's a relief to see someone who cares about clean government anymore.

He's my nominee to investigate abuses of power under Cheney-Bush.