Patrick Fitzgerald, the District Attorney for Northern Illinois, has charged Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich with attempting to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Elect Obama.
From ABC News.
FBI: Illinois Governor Sought To "Sell" Obama's Senate Seat
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich wanted President-elect Barack Obama "to put something together…something big" in exchange for going along with Obama's choice to fill his vacant U.S. Senate seat, according to a FBI affidavit unsealed following the governor's stunning arrest.
"I've got this thing and it's f***ing golden, and, uh, uh, I'm just not giving it up for f***in' nothing. I'm not gonna do it. And I can always use it. I can parachute me there," Blagojevich said in a phone call secretly recorded by the FBI on Nov. 5, the day after the election, according to the affidavit.
Wow, Chicago and Illinois politics is known for new lows in corruption, but this is a new record.
More on the National Implications from the New York Times.
Obama’s Intervention Indirectly Led to Case
In a sequence of events that neatly captures the contradictions of Barack Obama’s rise through Illinois politics, a phone call he made three months ago to urge passage of a state ethics bill indirectly contributed to the downfall of a fellow Democrat he twice supported, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich.
Mr. Obama placed the call to his political mentor, Emil Jones Jr., president of the Illinois Senate. Mr. Jones was a critic of the legislation, which sought to curb the influence of money in politics, as was Mr. Blagojevich, who had vetoed it. But after the call from Mr. Obama, the Senate overrode the veto, prompting the governor to press state contractors for campaign contributions before the law’s restrictions could take effect on Jan. 1, prosecutors say.
Mr. Obama was an adviser to Mr. Blagojevich’s first campaign for governor, in 2002, and endorsed him again in 2006, even though by that time questions had been raised about the possible selling of state jobs. Mr. Obama has also credited one of Mr. Blagojevich’s closest confidants, Antoin Rezko, a businessman who was convicted of corruption charges this year, with helping him get his own start in politics.
It should be noted that Senator Obama is not accused of any wrong doing in this case, and that the Governor is presumed to be innocent until that presumption is rebuted in open court beyond a reasonable doubt.
The affidavit presenting the case.
6 months ago