Illinois Governor Indicted For Trying To Sell Obama's Senate Seat


Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois was arrested by federal authorities on Tuesday morning and charged with corruption, including an allegation that he conspired to profit from his authority to appoint President-elect Barack Obama’s successor in the United States Senate, prosecutors said.

Blago has basically been surrounded by allegations and rumors of ongoing investigations and he does THAT? I know I should be stunned by the corruption. But I am more stunned by the sheer stupidity.

Speaking for me only

< The New New Deal: A New WPA? A New PWA? Both? | Wiretaps and Bugs Used in Rod Blagojevich Investigation >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    I can take my politicians being stupid. I can (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by tigercourse on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:19:44 AM EST
    take my politicians being crooks. But I draw the line at being stupid crooks.

    Mixed Emotions (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by santarita on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:32:09 AM EST
    Pat Fitzgerald always seems like such a stand-up guy that anything that he says seems like solid gold.  On the other hand the recent US Attorney scandals show that the government sometimes acts out of improper motives.  And for that reason people who are charged need all of the benefits of a vigorous defense and need the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

    If the allegations are true, the Gov. is not only a criminal but an idiot.  And Pat Fitz is a stand-up guy.  

    I think Fitz is a stand up guy (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by ruffian on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:23:13 PM EST
    I was going to say I wished that if Obama felt a need to put a Republican in his cabinet it would have been Fitz instead of Gates.  But in the light of what just happeend I guess that may have looked really bad - like he was trying to promte Fitz up and out to protect Illinois politicians!

    Considering that a witness said, during (none / 0) (#58)
    by andrys on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:45:09 PM EST
    the Rezko trial, that Rezko told him Obama, once President, would replace Fitzgerald -- it would be unwise for Obama to make a single move that looked like that, for any reason at all, for sure.

    Wow (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Steve M on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:45:13 AM EST
    The allegations are pretty stark.  You'd think a guy would be a little less blatant about it.

    I don't know if this will turn up dirt on any of the contenders for the seat, but there's sort of a political IQ test here.  Anyone who talked about trading something for a Senate appointment, knowing full well that the Feds have been snooping around Blagojevich for ages, deserves whatever consequences they get.

    I'm told the Lt. Gov. of Illinois is a good progressive, by the way.

    Yes, Pat Quinn (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by KeysDan on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 01:09:46 PM EST
    is a long-time reformer within the Democratic party, not a part of the in-crowd.  Looks like he will finally make it to Governor, a long held and equally long denied, goal.

    Blago never did win an IQ contest (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by wurman on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:45:42 AM EST
    From the Rezko pay-offs to the airport & toll plaza restaurant bribes to the state patronage jobs & hospital admissions commissions, Gov. Rod has shown himself to be a transparent idiot.  The bribery & corruption stuff just kept piling up & he never backed off, although still only a string of allegations at this point.

    Must've thought he was immunized.  Looks like the "bugs" got him.

    Sigh...Illinois... (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by oldpro on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:50:26 AM EST
    ...now all focus and speculation will be on applicant number 5.

    What a fun distraction!

    Denny Crane.

    Hah! (none / 0) (#30)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:52:42 AM EST
    Definitely guilty of being stupid (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by txpublicdefender on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:54:26 AM EST
    This guy knew he was under investigation by Patrick Fitzgerald, who put away his predecessor, and prosecuted the Chief of Staff of the Vice President of the United States.  How dumb, arrogant, brazen, etc. do you have to be to be demanding bribes in exchange for you appointing someone to fill the vacancy in the Senate left by the person just elected President of the United States?  Did he think that they wouldn't be listening in on this stuff?  

    I also always love it when politicians try to control the editorial content of newspapers by threatening to either take or withhold state action involving the business interests of the paper or its owners.  

    Seriously, what a moron.

    Also, I would not be surprised if Obama or someone on his team tipped off the authorities.

    How dumb do you have to be? (none / 0) (#35)
    by jnicola on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:01:56 PM EST
    Dumb, or at least deluded, enough to think that if you appointed yourself Senator against the wishes of your party leader, party and most of its supported, that you could still clean up your image enough to run for President in 2016. (Bottom of Page 74.)

    reading the complaint (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by txpublicdefender on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:19:04 PM EST
    Reading the complaint is fascinating.  The guy actually thought for a moment that Obama might appoint him to his administration?  To a cabinet position or an ambassadorship?  Good lord, this man is deluded.

    I'm trying to figure out who the various numbered Senate candidates are.  The only one I know so far is that #1 seems to have been Valerie Jarrett because it talks about the person being Obama's favored choice, an advisor to Obama, and then, the person later says he/she is not interested in the position.  There are others that we could figure out by tracking down Sun-Times columns where Blago leaked stuff, but I haven't tracked them down yet.

    This is fun!


    Where's JJ Jr? (none / 0) (#50)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:32:36 PM EST
    #5, or so says Mark Ambinder (none / 0) (#65)
    by ruffian on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 02:04:23 PM EST
    almost too unbelievable to be true (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by txpublicdefender on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:36:01 PM EST
    Man, reading that complaint and affidavit, one almost wonders if it is too good to be true.  At the very end, it references a Chicago Tribune article on 12/5 stating that Blago had been surreptitiously recorded as part of the investigation.  Later that day, Blago, ON THE PHONE, talks about the need to call off one of their bribery approaches on the contact to Candidate 5.  Dude!

    The best part is the end, though, when it talks about how appointing himself to the Senate seat might allow him an opportunity to avoid impeachment and rehabilitate his reputation sufficiently to run for President in 2016.  I don't think the word "delusional" even begins to cover it.  Is this just the most delusional narcissism ever or what?  It's still almost impossible to fathom.

    Stupidity. . . (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:39:55 PM EST
    So (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 01:14:11 PM EST

    I know I should be stunned by the corruption.

    So you have never been to Chicago.

    tip of iceberg (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by S on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 05:28:20 PM EST
    as I understand it, Fitzgerald said this is an ongoing investigation of large scale proportions...who knows where this is going to meander and lead to...

    heard on the radio that Blag was the governor who was the largest fundraiser in illinois history...hmmm...funny how the politicians from Chicago and Illinois have a knack for raising the most money in all of history...even in presidential races...smells stinky, as Michelle Obama would say...

    ...feels like the tip of the iceberg and Fitz wanted to step in before the Senate deal was closed and it was too late...me thinks, he has just begun...

    off topic, but my two cents...I hope Governor Patterson is paying close attention...not because of corruption, but certainly because of appearances...

    ...there are many elected officials in New York who have paid their dues and deserve a shot at Hillary's senate seat...

    ...somehow just waltzing in because your uncle is pushing for you sounds and seems like 'business as usual'...the kind most of us are sick and tired of...

    Well, (none / 0) (#1)
    by dk on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:19:27 AM EST
    I think the real story will unfold once we find out who tried to bribe him.  

    Candidate 5 (none / 0) (#7)
    by CST on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:26:09 AM EST
    I wonder who that is.  In any event, it isn't Obama's "candidate" - thank goodness - if only because it means they aren't stupid enough to try and bribe someone under investigation.

    Does this mean the lt. gov gets to pick the seat, or does it mean no one will for a while and we will be missing a Dem senator?


    Jesse Jackson Junior (none / 0) (#29)
    by jnicola on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:50:56 AM EST
    at least according to Ambinder, who's trying to connect the dots...

    I personally want that to be true (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:02:36 PM EST
    because I despise J J Jr.

    Pretty sure I won't shed any (none / 0) (#38)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:04:13 PM EST
    tears for him.  But, I'm thinking Emil Jones.

    heh (none / 0) (#40)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:06:20 PM EST
    who knows about Jones.

    Hopefully, Emil Jones (none / 0) (#63)
    by KeysDan on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 01:20:58 PM EST
    will remain obscure, being a mentor to a young state senator.

    Same here (none / 0) (#52)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:33:37 PM EST
    If it has to be somebody, let it be him.

    That was my speculation (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:26:41 PM EST
    just from his very obvious lust for the position and my general distrust of his morals.  I loathe the guy, but I hope it's not him.  It would just be too ugly, and it would about kill JJSr.

    That was my (none / 0) (#34)
    by CST on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:00:45 PM EST
    gut reaction too.  Probably because he's the only one I knew of who wanted the seat outside of candidates 1 and 2 that we know probably didn't bribe.

    We'll have to wait and see.


    I knew it! (none / 0) (#51)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:33:00 PM EST
    Spitzer. (none / 0) (#41)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:07:37 PM EST
    Candidate 5 -- I wonder who that is.

    He's trying to run the board.  Candidate 5, Client 9 -- he's only got 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 10 to go.


    No one will for a while (none / 0) (#44)
    by ruffian on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:17:55 PM EST
    Blago still has the power unless he resigns or is impeached.

    "He Does That"? (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:21:01 AM EST
    He's accused of doing that. It doesn't mean he did it.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:26:08 AM EST
    You  are right - in a court of law.

    I think it is fair to think that he did it given the reporting and the indictment.


    Since I am not a juror (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by coigue on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:35:57 AM EST
    I guess it's ok to have an opinion.

    However, I don't yet.


    Read the reporting (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:28:33 PM EST
    They've got the guy dead to rights on a whole slew of really ugly stuff-- out of his own mouth.  Whether this or that particular incident passes a legal test isn't particularly significant.  The amount of stuff they've got him on is just stunning.

    Wow. I am glad they got this guy... (none / 0) (#66)
    by coigue on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 03:31:47 PM EST
    we cannot have corrupt power here. We need to keep it as squeaky clean as possible.

    He said what was recorded. (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by andrys on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:40:25 PM EST
    BTD is right.  He knows he's been close to being indicted for almost a year and he does this.  Or that.

      Stupid beyond belief, but more, or worse, he did it because it is a way of life for that city's politics.  Too many of them don't think twice.  Do others know that Emil Jones is close to being indicted too?


    Totally outrageous (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:22:01 AM EST
    At least Obama comes away looking squeaky clean.

    Fitzgerald is a mensch for not waiting to indict Blago until AFTER he made the appointment.

    Why does Obama come (none / 0) (#6)
    by dk on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:26:09 AM EST
    away looking squeaky clean?  I think we have to find out who allegedly tried to bribe Blago before we make such pronouncements.

    Not Obama (none / 0) (#8)
    by CST on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:26:58 AM EST
    It has been reported that the gov. complained Obama wouldn't give him anything for his candidate.

    Exactly (none / 0) (#10)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:30:13 AM EST
    Well, that's good. (none / 0) (#12)
    by dk on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:33:00 AM EST
    Of course, hadn't Obama stated that he was staying out of the selection process.  How is it, then, that he had a candidate?  Also, it could be that the alleged bribe(s) came from people close to Obama, or in his transition team/administration.  That reflects on Obama's judgement.  

    Let's just see what comes out as this unfolds.  At this point, no one knows.


    Look, if you read the information (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by eric on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:40:51 AM EST
    in the indictment and in the reporting, you will see that of the possible candidates, "Candidate 1" was Obama's candidate.  He wasn't offering Blago anything for appointing this person.

    In a conversation with Harris on November 11, the charges state, Blagojevich said he knew that the President-elect wanted Senate Candidate 1 for the open seat but "they're not willing to give me anything except appreciation. [Expletive] them."

    So YES, we do know.  Obama had nothing to do with this.  You are just making stuff up when you try to imply that there might be something to unfold here.


    True. But if you read (none / 0) (#39)
    by dk on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:04:59 PM EST
    Ambinder's analysis, Senate Candidate #1 (in Ambinder's opinion, Valerie Jarrett) took herself out of consideration.  So, who became Obama's new preferred candidate?

    ODS (3.00 / 2) (#13)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:33:34 AM EST
    Hey, I'm saying let's wait and see. (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by dk on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:34:46 AM EST
    Or, do you have all the information you need to make up your mind?  Since no names have been released yet, do you have a direct line to the feds?  If so, I'd be quite impressed.

    How do I know you didn't try to bribe (none / 0) (#16)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:35:58 AM EST

    You don't. (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by dk on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:37:02 AM EST
    My point exactly.  The names will likely come out sooner or later.  Do you want to know who they are?  I do.

    I think the evidence we have now (none / 0) (#18)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:38:35 AM EST
    suggests that not only was Obama NOT in on this, but also that he may have tipped off the feds.

    You might as well suggest that Fitzgerald himself tried to bargain for the appointment.


    We have seen no evidence yet. (none / 0) (#21)
    by dk on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:41:50 AM EST
    There is a difference between a complaint, and evidence.

    If you want to decide who is guilty and innocent based on nothing more than a complaint, all power to you.  I'll wait and see, thank you.


    If I were sitting on a jury (none / 0) (#22)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:43:44 AM EST
    I would probably adopt that attitude.

    Since I'm just an observer, I can say that I think the indictment tells us a great deal.


    In my opinion, Obama, or his (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:46:36 AM EST
    rep would be "squeaky clean" only if they reported the Governor's ellegal request for consideration in exchange for the Senate appointment.  

    That's a fair point (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:49:56 AM EST
    I think, reading between the lines, that he may well have.

    Didn't see that info in the affidavit. (none / 0) (#32)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:56:54 AM EST
    Between the lines (none / 0) (#42)
    by CST on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:08:25 PM EST
    The very first recorded conversation indicated frustration with not being able to "get" anything from Obama.  So it is posible that having had the conversation with the gov. his people tipped off whomever to get the wire tap.

    It's also very possible nothing like that happened and it's just a coincidence.


    Uh huh. Affidavit says some (none / 0) (#43)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:14:42 PM EST
    of the phone conversations were recorded "consensually."  In some states, recording a phone conversation only requires the knowledge and consent of one party to the call.  

    We know something (none / 0) (#20)
    by CST on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:41:22 AM EST
    I doubt the gov. would be so pissed off if someone on Obama's team was trying to bribe him.  He had some very harsh words for the president-elect and made it perfectly clear that they wouldn't give him anything but "appreciation".  At least if you believe the transcripts.

    The downside is he sounded as if (none / 0) (#57)
    by andrys on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:43:18 PM EST
    he was taking for granted that Obama/Team should/would pay, or else.  As I said, it's a way of life with him and with too many others there.

    I think Obama said he was staying out of (none / 0) (#56)
    by andrys on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:41:56 PM EST
    ... of the NY senator debate.  He said he had his hands full (something like that) witgh Chicago.

    Yes, it was the NY seat he was talking about (none / 0) (#59)
    by nycstray on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:58:41 PM EST
    on MTP. And I thank him for staying out of it  :)

    My first thought: did the FBI (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:27:18 AM EST
    obtain warrants to listen to the Governor's telephone conversations?

    Answer: see affidavit attached (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:48:00 AM EST
    the the complaint:  Chicago Tribune

    You can't seriously (none / 0) (#49)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:32:22 PM EST
    suggest that Fitzgerald, of all people, would blow a case this big by failing to get warrants, can you?  Or maybe I'm misunderstanding you.

    In any case, yes, it's clear from the documents that they did, but it also sounds like they had some recordings made by the other party to the conversations, which is apparently legal in Illinois.


    I have zero trust in the U.S. (none / 0) (#60)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 01:08:25 PM EST
    government re listening to phone conversations.

    I wish I was suprised.... (none / 0) (#33)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:00:44 PM EST
    The best damn democracy money can buy folks...

    Too late now, but we shoulda all chipped in and tried to bribe a decent senator in for Illinois...if ya can't beat 'em join 'em, right?  And voting sure doesn't seem to work.

    I got a $50,000 bid who will make it $60,000 (none / 0) (#37)
    by Saul on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:03:31 PM EST

    The recent court order for wiretaps, (none / 0) (#64)
    by KeysDan on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 01:35:42 PM EST
    and their 30-day renewal seemed to coincide with the alleged shakedown of the Chicago Tribune for favorable editorial coverage and the firing of the editorial staff.  Sounds like Sam Zell was involved in the recent whistle-blowing--Blagojevich was plotting (according to the government wiretaps) on how to cash in on the open senate seat before November 8 and just continued on to the present.