Blagojevich Indicted

Blagojevich Indictment

Impeached and disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was indicted today on 16 counts of Federal Corruption. Several of Blago’s cronies were also named as defendants in the indictment handed down today.

A good day for Illinois! Again?

See documents for full details.

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Illinois’ Problem May Become The Senate’s Problem

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The Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich just did the unthinkable.  This afternoon, the embattled democratic governor named Illinois lawyer and politician, Roland Burris as the person to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat. Obama resigned from the U.S. Senate after winning the Presidential election in November.

Illinois has been in the national spotlight since Blaogjevich was arrested earlier this month under corruption charges including suspicion of attempting to sell the vacant seat, or trade it for lucrative favors or positions for him and his wife Patricia. Impeachment proceedings are underway, and there have been bipartisan calls for his resignation. The Senate leadership has already stated that they would block any appointment made by the governor.

The Illinois Senator and second ranking democrat Dick Durbin, and Majority leader Senator Harry Reid are leading the way by obtaining signatures in a draft letter. The letter from the Democratic National Caucus demands the Blagojevich resign and not make the appointment to the Senate. It states that the senators, “would be forced to exercise our Constitutional authority … to determine whether such a person should be seated.”

Article I, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution states; Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member.

The Illinois problem just became the nation’s problem, as Senator’s will have to answer to their own constituents as to how they allow this tainted appointment to serve the people of the United States. Do Americans really want a Senator who may have made “a deal” to get appointed? I’m not questioning Mr. Burris’ ethics, but it does start to stink when looking into his past campaign contributions to Blagojevich one of which was over $14,000.  The point being, no matter who this governor would appoint, it will be difficult to separate the office from the taint Blagojevich brought on it.

This appointment is nothing more than a parting shot from a sinking governor, and is a blatant insult to Illinoisans and Americans alike. The taxpayers of Illinois deserve and need a special election. Any appointment of this seat from Blagojevich or his successor, will be ineffective and untrusted by people.

UPDATE:
Illinois Secretary of State, Jesse White released a statement saying, ” As I have previously stated publicly, I cannot co-sign a document that certifies any appointment by Rod Blagojevich for the vacant United States Senate seat from Illinois…”

Questions Remain

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People’s Seat

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Fallout of the Blagojevich Arrest and Investigation

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Illinois politics is about to receive a face-lift. The fallout from the recent investigation and arrest of Governor Blagojevich will be widespread and have long lasting effects. First to feel the blast of course is the corrupt Governor himself, affectionately known as Blago. He will surely be joining his predecessor for a few years at the Federal Country Club for Corrupt Illinois Politicians. Not to mention our other governors and elected officials that we entrusted with positions of leadership. We in Chicago now have another record to add to our repertoire. In addition to being the highest taxed in the nation, we are the most corrupt city and state in the Union. We put more politicians in jail than we do drug dealers in Illinois.

Well, we are done! The tax paying and voting citizens are finished supporting politicians involved in “Pay to Play” schemes. Gone are the days of complacent constituentswho think and say, “That’s just the way it’s done here”.  For those less than ethical officials in office now, be warned, we are watching your every move. For those considering office, also take heed, you will be scrutinized like no other candidate has.

Many are prediciting an indictment will soon follow for democratic congressman, Jesse Jackson Jr. for his alleged $500,000 offer for the senate seat left vacant by Obama, via an “emmisary”. An emmisary that he denies was sent by or even known to him. Considered a front runner for the senate seat, he had a very good chance and great public opinion followed him. In a press conference, he announced that he was not a target of this investigation and was involved in no wrongdoing. Jackson was thought by many to have  an untarnished record and was an upcoming politician, successfully distancing himself from his father’s way of playing politics. Jackson, Jr. is now one of the central players in Blagojevich “Pay to Play” for a senate seat debacle.

Now the nation’s eyes are upon us. With President-Elect Obama’s senate seat being one of the focus points of the Blagojevich investigation, certain questions are already arising about what he and/or his ad visors knew. Mentioned in the criminal complaint that lead to the Governor’s arrest, are three advisors based in Washington, D.C. Just who are “Advisor A”,  “Advisor B”, and “President-Elect Advisor”?

The Obama transition team will be tested with a scandal even before the President-Elect is inaugurated. There is some speculation that Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s pick for Chief of Staff, is one of them. Other reports are saying that one of the advisors is David Alexrod. No matter who the advisors are, they will be outed soon and it will be interesting to see how the Obama team distances itself from the President-Elect’s home state’s turmoil.

I predict that Illinois politics will see major upheavals and sweeping changes over the next few years. We are through being embarrassed and bullied by our elected officials. Democratic and Republican strongholds alike, will see sweeping moves by voters to replace even suspect incumbents, and elect only those candidates of the highest moral character and ethics. Out with politicians like Lisa Madigan, Jackson, Emil Jones, Stroger, and yes, Dick Daley too. We need leaders that will truly work for the Illinois taxpayer, and fight to up-root the embedded system of “Pay to Play” politics, family favors, and the cronyism that has strangled the taxpayers of Chicago and the State of Illinois for decades.

Criminal Complaint: U.S. v. Rod R. Blagojevich and John Harris

Blagojevich and the Illinois Conundrum

blagojevichToday, in a “not so surprising” move the F.B.I. arrested Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich on federal corruption charges. What was unexpected, was the news that he was trying to sell the senate seat that Barack Obama left vacant to prepare for the presidency. The governor was taken into custody at his home, on charges of seeking bribes in exchange for Barack Obama’s former senate seat. The arrest of the Governor and his Chief of Staff, John Harris has sparked a storm of controversy, questions, and calls for the governor to resign or be impeached. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) has also called for special elections to fill the vacant senate seat.

“The General Assembly should enact a law as quickly as possible calling for a special election to fill the Senate vacancy of Barack Obama. No appointment by this governor could produce a credible replacement,” the Senator said.

Lt. Governor Pat. Quinn called for the Governor to resign today saying, “Do the right thing and step aside”.  Lt. Gov. Quinn would succeed Blagojevich as governor, should he resign or be impeached.

Blagojevich’s arrest not only raises credibility concerns over who will take the senate seat. It challenges the credibility of anyone who has ever had dealings with the governor. This includes all of the Senate hopefuls like Lisa Madigan and Jesse Jackson Jr. the  Lt. Governor Pat Quinn,  Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, and the current president elect, Mr. Obama himself, and his advisers. The Obama transition team denies having any discussions with Blagojevich about the senate seat for sale, and in fact some of the evidence against Blagojevich suggests that the Obama team was not going to “Pay to Play” this senate game with him.

However, Senior Obama adviser Axelrod said on November 23rd, “I know he’s [Obama] talked to the governor and there are a whole range of names many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them.” It is thought that Obama would have liked to see Valerie Jarrett take his former seat.

This begs the question, “How did Blagojevich know that Obama or his advisers would not play, and why was he so angry about it”?  The governer was secretly taped on Nov. 11 saying, “I don’t get anything [for appointing Jarrett], “Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him!”

See court complaint documents in this post

I am sure that in the coming days we will be learning more about who knew what and when. We will also witness the political wrangling and finger pointing that is common in Illinois. No doubt we will also see Blagojevich lie all the way to big house and try to hold on to his job proclaiming his innocence. I am also sure that  impeachment proceedings will follow by the end of this week if there is no resignation.

In question of course is, who will now appoint Obama’s replacement in the Senate and how will that appointment be perceived in Illinois. Any appointment by Blagojevich or Quinn is suspect in my opinion. I agree with Senator Durbin (can you believe it), that a special election must be held to avoid any perception of corruption or the same old Illinois politics. 

A special election also gives rise to the chance a Republican can take that senate seat and, given the current state of affairs, that canidate might just have a chance to win in the Democratic stronghold of Illinois and Chicago.

I have heard it said, that Illinoisians like their officials to be corrupt. Well maybe that’s true in Crook county and in Springfield, but I think it’s about time we restructure our leadership. People in this state are sick of the corruption and pay to play politics that is bleeding our state dry. It’s time for new ethical leadership in the Governors office, and in all of our represenatives and elected officials. The time to act is now. The time for ethical reform in the State of Illinois has never been more important and more obvious.