Tag Archives: pay to play

Blagojevich Bounced

Former Governor Rod Blagojevich
Former Governor Rod Blagojevich

The drama concerning Rod Blagojevich is almost over.  Blagojevich has been impeached and removed from office.  A new governor has been sworn in, and Blagojevich will never hold public office in Illinois again.  The only thing that remains now is the criminal case against the now former Governor of Illinois.  Although this was a little delayed for some people, most figured it was inevitable when the allegations of Blagojevich trying to sell Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat first surfaced.

On Thursday, the Illinois Senate voted 59-0 after the state House of Representatives impeached him earlier in the month on charges of abuse of power and attempts to sell the gubernatorial appointment of the Senate seat.

The case provided news organizations across the world with multiple headlines as there were several twist and turns leading up to this point.  Rod Blagojevich was first arrested on December 9 on the charges of conspiracy and bribery.  What took many by surprise was the “pay-to-play” scheme he was accused of by allegedly attempting to sell a Senate seat that he was to appoint.  And then there was the phone call recordings of Blagojevich, many too obscene for the public ear, where he was apparently caught red-handed and heard trying to receive payments and goods for the seat.

Once the impeachment trial began, Rod Blagojevich elected not to attend the hearing because he felt they were unjust.  He instead decided to use his time appealing to another court, the court of public opinion.  Blagojevich spent a couple of days when the trial first began in New York City making several appearances in the media, giving his side of the story, still proclaiming his innocence.  Around this time, his own attorney also withdrew himself from the case and Blagojevich. 

Not for nothin’ let’s all remember that impeachment is just a political procedure, not a criminal one.  Technically Blagojevich is still innocent until proven guilty in the eyes of law.  Although it certainly doesn’t look good, he could still be a pardon from the new president, who just happens to be be from Chicago.  But, good luck with that one too.

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Obama Report Released In Blago Probe

No inappropriate contact between Blagojevich and Obama
No inappropriate contact between Blagojevich and Obama

As many of us, even to include U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and President-elect Barack Obama, have thought to be true that Obama nor his team had any inappropriate contact with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is being accused of trying to sell Obama’s vacant senate seat for cash or other personal gain.  

White House attorney Greg Craig released the report that detail the contact and said that Obama and his aides did not try to cut any deals with Blagojevich.  But it also read that Obama and two of his top aides met last week with federal investigators in case.  After releasing the report, Craig said in terms of communication and contact that he was satisfied that nothing inappropriate took place between the governors office and transition officials.

While no deals was discussed between anyone in between the two parties, Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who was said to have spoken with the governor, did speak to him about the Senate seat.  The report said Emanuel had four conversations with the governor’s chief of staff John Harris, and two conversations with the Blagojevich himself.  Craig said that Harris did not make any attempt to extract personal gain for the governor in any of his conversations.  Those conversations were “totally appropriate and acceptable,” Craig said on Tuesday.

Governor Blagojevich attorney Edward M. Genson, is also using this opportunity to help build his client’s case of his innocence, saying the report just corroborates it.  Since U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald released the investigation and Blagojevich was charged on December 9, he has claimed his innocence and rejected many calls for resignation.

Not for nothin’, but opposing critics are going to just have to try again somewhere else.  If all they can latch on to is “why wait so long to release it,” then they’re criticism is weak.  Not saying that Obama is squeaky clean (is anyone), but his isn’t the case for them.

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Tough Times For The “Teflon” Governor

Tough times for Blagojevich
Tough times for Blagojevich

The political walls for Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.  As if his political career wasn’t already in danger after his arrest on charges of political corruption Tuesday.  Blagojevich returned to work on Wednesday, but many, including President-elect Obama are distancing themselves from him and are are calling him to resign.  Proceedings for an impeachment is already underway, as many would expect, but it isn’t impeachment that Governor Blagojevich should worry about most for jail time is imminent for the executive.

At this time most of America, if not the world has heard the story of Governor Blagojevich.  The governor was arrested on Tuesday for attempting to sell the appointment of the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama in return for cash donations or another higher paying job for himself.  But what has everyone outraged is what was detailed in the criminal complaint.  Governor Blagojevich was caught on tape making blatant attempts through phone calls and other contacts to sell the open seat to the highest bidder, with many of the conversations not fit for publication with heavy redactions.

And with the previous unknown “Candidate Number 5” who was to allegedly pay one million dollars for the seat, now being identified as U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr., we’ll have to wait and see if he can successfully distance himself from Blagojevich.  In a press conference on Wednesday Jackson confirmed he was the mysterious candidate, but also said he did nothing wrong and he was outraged to be linked to the case.

Now Representative Jackson, along with President-elect Obama are distancing themselves from the governor.  In addition to that, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin from Illinois are circulating a letter for signatures to call for Blagojevich to step down.  Some officials in Illinois are calling for passage of legislation to allow for a special election, to take away the governor’s ability to appointment the position if he does stay in office.  Illinois state Rep. Jack Franks introduced a bill Tuesday that will bar indicted governors from making such appointments. 

Not for nothin’, but considering the political corruption abound in the United States, and particularly with the history with in the state of Illinois, the power to appoint a U.S. Senator should have never been given to one person.  That type of power breeds corruption.  The state of Illinois has a history of corruption involved in the history of its governor, the previous governor is already serving time of corruption while in office.  As politicians in the state and around the country are lining up to they have nothing to do with the allegations against Rod Blagojevich or any corruption, we all know it’s not going to end there. 

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