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Jeanette X Dec 9th, 2008 01:14 PM

Govenor of Illinois arrested

CHICAGO – Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested on Tuesday on charges that he brazenly conspired to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President-elect Barack Obama to the highest bidder.
Blagojevich also was charged with illegally threatening to withhold state assistance to Tribune Co., the owner of the Chicago Tribune, in the sale of Wrigley Field, according to a federal criminal complaint. In return for state assistance, Blagojevich allegedly wanted members of the paper's editorial board who had been critical of him fired.
A 76-page FBI affidavit said the 51-year-old Democratic governor was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps over the last month conspiring to sell or trade the vacant Senate seat for personal benefits for himself and his wife, Patti.
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."
The affidavit said Blagojevich also discussed getting a substantial salary for himself at a nonprofit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions.
It said Blagojevich also talked about getting his wife placed on corporate boards where she might get $150,000 a year in director's fees.
He also allegedly discussed getting campaign funds for himself or possibly a post in the president's cabinet or an ambassadorship once he left the governor's office. He noted becoming a U.S. senator might remake his image for a possible presidential run in 2016, according to the affidavit. And he allegedly said a Senate seat would also provide him with corporate contacts if he needed a job and present an opportunity for his wife to work as a lobbyist.
"I want to make money," the affidavit quotes him as saying in one conversation.
The affidavit said Blagojevich expressed frustration at being "stuck" as governor and that he would have access to greater resources if he were indicted while in the U.S. Senate than while sitting as governor.
U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in a statement that "the breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering."
"They allege that Blagojevich put a for sale sign on the naming of a United States senator," Fitzgerald said."
Messages left for Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero and at the governor's press office were not immediately returned Tuesday morning.
Among those being considered for the Senate post include U.S. Reps. Danny Davis and Jesse Jackson Jr.
The affidavit outlined a Nov. 10 call between Blagojevich, his wife, his chief of staff — John Harris, who also was arrested Tuesday — and a group of advisers in which Harris allegedly suggested working out an agreement with the Service Employees International Union.
Under the plan, Blagojevich would appoint a new senator who would be helpful to the president-elect and in turn get a job as head of Change to Win, a group formed by the union. The union would get an unspecified favor from Obama later.
Nothing in the court papers suggested Obama had any part in the discussion.In fact, Blagojevich allegedly said in the same conversation that Obama most likely would not appoint him as secretary of health and human services or to an ambassadorship because of the negative publicity that has surrounded the governor for three years.
One day later, according to the affidavit, Blagojevich allegedly told an associate he knew Obama wanted a specific Senate candidate but "they're not going to give me anything except appreciation." He finished the remark with an expletive.
Blagojevich also was charged with using his authority as governor in an attempt to squeeze out campaign contributions.
Corruption in the Blagojevich administration has been the focus of a federal investigation involving an alleged $7 million scheme aimed at squeezing kickbacks out of companies seeking business from the state. Federal prosecutors have acknowledged they're also investigating "serious allegations of endemic hiring fraud" under Blagojevich, who has a $177,412 salary, though it's unclear whether he accepts the total.
Political fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko who raised money for the campaigns of both Blagojevich and Obama is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of fraud and other charges. Blagojevich's chief fundraiser, Christopher G. Kelly, is due to stand trial early next year on charges of obstructing the Internal Revenue Service.
According to Tuesday's complaint, Blagojevich schemed with Rezko, millionaire-fundraiser turned federal witness Stuart Levine and others to get financial benefits for himself and his campaign committee.
Federal prosecutors said Blagojevich and the chairman of his campaign committee have been speeding up corrupt fundraising activities in the last month to get as much money as possible before the end of the year when a new law would curtail his ability to raise contributions from companies with state contracts worth more than $50,000.
According to the affidavit, agents learned Blagojevich was seeking $2.5 million in campaign contributions by the end of the year, with a large part allegedly to come from companies and individuals who have gotten state contracts or appointments.
The affidavit also outlines Blagojevich conversations related to Tribune Co., which has been hoping to sell Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs which the publishing giant also owns.
Blagojevich was quoted in court papers as telling Harris in a profanity laced Nov. 4 conversation that his recommendation to Tribune executives was to fire the editorial writers "and get us some editorial support."
Harris is quoted as telling the governor Nov. 11 that an unnamed Tribune Owner, presumably CEO Sam Zell, "got the message and is very sensitive to the issue."
The affidavit said Harris quoted a Tribune financial adviser as saying cuts were coming at the newspaper and "reading between the lines he's going after that section," apparently meaning editorial writers. Blagojevich is quoted as saying: "Oh, that's fantastic."
"Wow," Blagojevich allegedly replied. "Keep our fingers crossed. You're the man. Good job, John."
Harris allegedly told Blagojevich in his conversation with the financial adviser he had singled out deputy editorial page editor John McCormick as "somebody who was the most biased and unfair."
After hearing that, Blagojevich allegedly stressed to the head of a Chicago sports consulting firm that it was important to provide state aid for a Wrigley Field sale.
Blagojevich took the chief executive's office in 2003 as a reformer promising to clean up former Gov. George Ryan's mess.
Ryan, a Republican, is serving a 6-year prison sentence after being convicted on racketeering and fraud charges. A decade-long investigation began with the sale of driver's licenses for bribes and led to the conviction of dozens of people who worked for Ryan when he was secretary of state and governor.
FBI spokesman Frank Bochte said federal agents arrested the governor and Harris simultaneously at their homes at 6:15 a.m. and took them to the Chicago FBI headquarters.
He did not have any details about Blagojevich's arrest, only that he was cooperative with federal agents.
"It was a very calm setting," he said.
The governor was to appear later Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan to answer the charges. The time was not immediately set.
Associated Press Writer Don Babwin contributed to this report.

Colonel Flagg Dec 9th, 2008 01:54 PM

Is that his real hair, or is it the worst toupée in the known universe? :Marv Albert

Jeanette X Dec 9th, 2008 02:03 PM


Originally Posted by Colonel Flagg (Post 600865)
Is that his real hair, or is it the worst toupée in the known universe? :Marv Albert

Either its a toupee or a Trump-style comb-over.

Colonel Flagg Dec 9th, 2008 03:56 PM

The toupées were separated at birth.

Big Papa Goat Dec 10th, 2008 02:49 AM

That's so sleazy. You Americans are getting some pretty fucked up politicians.

Big Papa Goat Dec 10th, 2008 02:52 AM

And he replaced a guy that is still serving a prison sentence for political corruption.
Illinois is completly fucked.

Tadao Dec 10th, 2008 03:19 AM


Originally Posted by Big Papa Goat (Post 601041)
That's so sleazy. You Americans are getting some pretty fucked up politicians.

Sooooooo fucking true.

El Blanco Dec 10th, 2008 10:44 AM


Originally Posted by Big Papa Goat (Post 601042)
And he replaced a guy that is still serving a prison sentence for political corruption.
Illinois is completly fucked.

Seriously, the most corrupt state in the country. they even beat out New Jersey.

Tadao Dec 10th, 2008 02:00 PM

Hahahaha Jesse Jackson Jr. is #5. I fucking hate the Jackson family.

Asila Dec 10th, 2008 02:17 PM

They were doing an interview with some Illinois residents and one of them commented that they'd have to build a gubernatorial wing on the state penitentiary. And then he laughed hollowly.

Dr. Boogie Dec 10th, 2008 04:33 PM

Hey, this is great. My home state finally has something to brag about.

Number 1 in corruption, baby! Yeah!

Tadao Dec 10th, 2008 04:40 PM

And deep dish pizza.

Dr. Boogie Dec 10th, 2008 05:20 PM

Eh, that was just Chicago that made that. This feels more state-wide.

Tadao Dec 10th, 2008 05:25 PM

I hate the Jackson family so much. Jesse Sr. is such a hypocrite. I have no reason to believe his son didn't try to buy himself a seat. I'm listening to him talk right now, and he is yelling at me for suspecting him of wrong doing? Fuck him.

Dr. Boogie Dec 10th, 2008 07:43 PM

That's one of the classic guilty dodges: "I can't believe you would accuse me of _______!"

ZeldaQueen Dec 10th, 2008 11:58 PM

Yeah, I couldn't believe it. Actually, I could. >:

Oh, and on the other forums, idiots are now trying to use this as some proof that Obama's corrupt and want to get him impeached for it. These same people were/still are insisting that he's not a US citizen.

People these days...

Colonel Flagg Dec 11th, 2008 01:19 AM


Originally Posted by ZeldaQueen (Post 601281)
These same people were/still are insisting that he's not a US citizen.


Big Papa Goat Dec 11th, 2008 01:55 AM

Hell, who knows, maybe instead of calling Obama a Muslim to make people think they couldn't trust him they should have just pointed out that he's from Illinois. Seems that it ought to be a pretty damning characterization.

Geggy Dec 11th, 2008 10:11 AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 24, 2008

Governors Meet in Washington, Voice Need for Stronger Plan to Protect Homeowners

Governor Eliot Spitzer today joined Governors from across the United States in calling on the Bush Administration to deliver a comprehensive solution to the ongoing mortgage crisis. As more Americans lose their homes, the Governors have taken aggressive actions and stand ready to partner with the federal government to deliver critical relief to homeowners in need.

Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich said: "The crisis in the sub-prime mortgage market has had a devastating impact on homeowners and entire communities across our country. In Illinois alone, it is possible that up to 70,000 homeowners will face foreclosure this year. A real solution will require lenders, consumers, advocates and public policy makers to all work together. Last week in Illinois, we announced a package that will do just that. I am confident that by making good loans and sound advice available to families in Illinois and throughout the country, we can turn the mortgage crisis around and save homeowners from foreclosure."


Bank of America Broker Indicted by New York Attorney General for Grand Larceny.
Date: Tuesday, April 6 2004
Apr. 6--New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer moved against one of the first people named in the growing mutual fund trading scandal yesterday with the indictment of a Bank of America broker on 40 counts that include grand larceny and falsifying business records.

Illinois Governor Halts Business With Bank of America
Dec. 8, 2008 (Bloomberg) -- Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich said the state will suspend business with Bank of America Corp. until the lender restores credit to the shuttered Republic Windows & Doors company in Chicago where workers are staging a sit-in.

Why didn't the article in jeanette's post make any mentioning of blagojevich's announcement of business suspension with BoA? This reeks of censorship.

Geggy Dec 11th, 2008 12:27 PM

Duckworth comments on consideration for Senate
By Alexis Hunt
Saturday, November 08, 2008 at 9:48 p.m.

QUINCY , IL -- Now that Barack Obama will be moving to the White House, his seat in the*U.S. Senate representing Illinois will have to be filled.

Obama met with Governor Rod Blagojevich earlier this week to discuss it.*Illinois law states that the governor chooses that replacement. There's already been speculation about his selection...from Congressman Jesse Jackson, Junior to Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth.

pac-man Dec 11th, 2008 12:45 PM



Colonel Flagg Dec 11th, 2008 04:38 PM

There is change - this time he got caught BEFORE he left office. :D

Evil Robot Dec 11th, 2008 05:13 PM

This reminds me of that "Sin CIty" movie with all those creeps in power and the one guy who ate people and the other that raped little girls. The FBI needs to visit the hard drives of his family members. I bet his cousin is in NAMBLA.

Jeanette X Dec 11th, 2008 08:16 PM

Update: The governor was recorded referring to Obama as a motherfucker:

In the midst of trying to auction off Obama's former senate seat either for a high paying job in the SEIU-affiliated Change To Win organization, a cabinet appointment in the Obama administration, or simply for financial benefits, Blagojevich apparently became frustrated with Obama's refusal to play ball in order to secure the seat for Obama's preferred candidate (identified in the complaint as Candidate 1.) From page 63-64 of the complaint:

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 “motherfucker [the President-elect] his senator. Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him.” ROD BLAGOJEVICH states that he will put [Senate Candidate 4]” in the Senate “before I just give fucking [Senate Candidate 1] a fucking Senate seat and I don’t get anything.”
I think this exculpates Obama, don't you?

Big Papa Goat Dec 12th, 2008 04:14 AM

Ya, but this guy sounds like the kind of guy that calls everybody a motherfucker. Even as someone who is completly vulgar, and who has a pretty good idea of how full of shit politicians are in public, finding out about how a politician uses language like this is still kind of shocking to me. It just seems so wrong, almost as bad as the actual corruption, even though it totally isn't. Weird.

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