Blago Impeached

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was impeached today by the Illinois House of Representatives. The vote was 114-1 with one voting present. His impeachment has been referred to the Illinois Senate for trial on removal of Blagojevich from office.

Among the charges brought against Blagojevich was of trying to sell the appointment to the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama and for which Blagojevich has named Roland Burris, whose testimony before the Illinois House Impeachment Committee raised questions regarding his contacts with Blagojevich: [More...]

Appearing before an Illinois House impeachment committee, Burris acknowledged that he had reached out to a close friend and former chief of staff to embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich to discuss the Senate seat. That appears to contradict Burris' statement in a sworn affidavit that he had no contact with any of the governor's "representatives." The former chief of staff, Alonzo Monk, is named as "Lobbyist 1" in the criminal complaint, and ran Blagojevich's most recent reelection campaign.

. . . In a sworn affidavit filed January 5, Burris stated that before he was asked by Blagojevich staff if he was interested in the Senate position, "there was not any contact between myself or any of my representatives with Governor Blagojevich or any of his representatives regarding my appointment to the United States Senate."

The other part that I find strange is this:

Burris emphasiz[ed] that he did not talk to Monk or anyone else on the governor's staff after Blagojevich's arrest.

This seems incredible and even weird. Clearly some type of conversation must have taken place between Blago and Burris - he offered him the Senate post after all. If this means he never spoke to Blago or his reps UNTIL the moment he received a call from Blagojevich, what does that tell you about the process?

It's a done deal now, but Reid blew this not by opposing a Blago appointment, but by capitulating to a Blago appointment.

Speaking for me only

Update (TL): You can find the links to the House Committee report recommending impeachment here.

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    The committee's report (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:30:27 AM EST
    included this: "The governor repeatedly demonstrated that his decision to appoint a senator would not be based on merits of the candidate or on public policy, but rather on how that appointment could benefit him personally."

    As compared to the "electability" argument of Reid, et al., for this and other Senate seats, to increase their power.  But that won't benefit them personally at all.

    Sure, there's a legal difference.  But it doesn't fool a lot of the public that doesn't agree with the "pols will be pols" defense.  Wonder how low the approval of Congress will go after all this?

    I anticipated you would comment on that (none / 0) (#11)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:35:33 AM EST
    one "present" vote!  

    Ha. Saw that and laffed (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:39:00 AM EST
    . . . because in my faculty senate circles, that is known as a "has a pulse" vote.

    Has Obama gone back to the IL Senate? (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 12:31:05 PM EST
    The vote was 114-1 with one voting present.

    Heh. You know the primaries are over, right? (none / 0) (#22)
    by Thanin on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 12:56:23 PM EST
    Who won? (none / 0) (#34)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 04:35:05 PM EST

    Obama. Hes got around what, 70? 80% approval? (none / 0) (#38)
    by Thanin on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 06:33:48 PM EST
    Approval of his kind eyes (none / 0) (#39)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 06:41:46 PM EST
    and broad smile.  Buy now.

    I wanted to buy Hillary... (none / 0) (#45)
    by Thanin on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 09:15:14 PM EST
    but that product didnt make it off the line, so I got what they had.

    Don't forget what happened to the last guy (none / 0) (#43)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 07:56:52 PM EST
    who had those unrealistically over-inflated approval ratings (8 years ago) at a time of domestic and international crisis.

    The grander the expectations, the higher the pedestal, the more fragile the balance, the harder the fall.


    Yeah, but my point was... (none / 0) (#44)
    by Thanin on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 09:13:56 PM EST
    the nation has moved on from the primaries...

    Moved on based on what? (none / 0) (#49)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:42:59 PM EST
    The point is that he's just now president-elect, so all we have is his collectible kind eyes and broad smile . . . and some seriously problematic appointments plus honoring the Rev. Bigot Warren.

    So the approval ratings are silly to cite right now.  When someone actually is president for a while, and actually has taken presidential actions, then public opinion has significance.


    It would be silly... (none / 0) (#51)
    by Thanin on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 05:29:08 AM EST
    if I were trying to use the approval rating to say that its a successful presidency, since he isnt president yet.  But what they do show is that most people arent still upset/lingering on the primaries.  

    Moreover, those that still are upset only undercut their own credibility when critiquing/criticizing Obama, just as Obamabots come off as irrational and WORM-like.


    Seems silly to think that most people (none / 0) (#53)
    by Cream City on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 05:46:08 AM EST
    would be upset by the primaries, since there was an election since, and most people voted for Obama.

    The logic is missing.  What is left is your emotions.  


    Wait... (none / 0) (#54)
    by Thanin on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 06:02:06 AM EST
    are you saying no one around here is still upset about the primaries?  Come on now.  In fact I think people have specifically commented that theyre still angry about the primaries.

    And for clarification, Im definitely Not saying that Most people are still upset.  I dont know where you read that in my post.


    Besides... (none / 0) (#46)
    by Thanin on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 09:17:34 PM EST
    how are you going to react if he actually pulls it off?  Will you acknowledge that you were wrong?

    I'll be thrilled... (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 10:11:55 PM EST
    if Obama succeeds. In fact, I've never expressly predicted that he would fail as POTUS. I thought he would lose the nomination to Hillary and I was wrong about that. But now that he's POTUS, truth is I have no idea if he will sink or swim. None of us do. After all, we know well enough that sky-high approval ratings and winning and serving two terms is no indication of the final outcome of a Presidency (unless we're talking about BC).

    Going forward, we can only "hope", as Obama has always suggested. In the meantime, it's not democratic to stifle all questions and doubt. I'm with BTD: we don't have to STFU. On that point, I trust "we can disagree without being disagreeable".


    Oh come on... (none / 0) (#52)
    by Thanin on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 05:32:53 AM EST
    I wasnt telling you to "STFU".  What Im saying is to make snide remarks that have Nothing to do with policy just comes off as petty.

    Ok, then... (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 04:28:24 PM EST
    You don't tell people to STFU. You just presume to have the authority to sit in judgment and determine which remarks are "snide" and "petty" and not worthy of being expressed. Sorry, but that arrangement doesn't work for me. You may wish to continue playing your self-appointed role, but take note: nobody is obliged to play along. So, good luck and goodbye.

    Wow... (none / 0) (#57)
    by Thanin on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 06:49:44 PM EST
    no need to get so defensive.  Look, I didnt say anything insulting to you, and when you say Obama came back to the IL senate just because there was a present vote, while funny, is petty.  Pointing that out should cause you to get so upset.  But whatever if youre unable to see that.

    Ah, or were you reminding me/us (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:45:33 AM EST
    that from the Illinois legislature, "present" votes are the pathway to the presidency? :-)

    That's what struck me. Who is this (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 12:12:54 PM EST
    prescient striver, and did he have some group supporting that "present" vote.

    Wasn't the impeachment was rushed? (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by jerry on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 03:14:21 PM EST
    All else being equal, is there much more to the case for impeachment than one prosecutor's arrest and released tapes?

    Seems odd that we are okay with this quick impeachment, and not asking Fitzgerald to make his case completely in open court and with a defense.

    Am I mistaken to think we normally would wait for a conviction before demanding an impeachment?

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 03:50:51 PM EST
    since you have decided the legal question all on your own, what can I say in reply?

    Except to say you are wrong on the law and from that your entire argument fails.

    Except for the fact (none / 0) (#41)
    by Pepe on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 07:31:24 PM EST
    that you say the law is wrong and have offered nothing, zero, nada, in the form of a legal argument yourself.

    You know, just saying something is so doesn't make it so. Bluster may fool the kiddies but the adults here don't buy a second of it.


    The go between (none / 0) (#1)
    by jedimom on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:03:22 AM EST

    Per the testimony yesterday, The atty who is not part of the defense team, cant recall his name sorry Adams Jr?, the one Burris said yesterday hen helped raise. HE called Burris, said he had to talk to him in person as Burris was headed to black tie dinner. He came over and offered Burris the job, Burris said yes, THEN BLago called Burris and they had a two minute conversation do you accept? yes I do....

    correction (none / 0) (#3)
    by jedimom on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:04:27 AM EST
    sorry I think Burris said he talked to the folks at the black tie dinner about it, called some friends about it, THEN had another meet with the atty go between said yes, THEN the call b./w Burris and Blago happened. but they had an in person runner as a go between....

    There is no problem with (none / 0) (#7)
    by Pepe on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:16:26 AM EST
    Burris's statement. No contradiction. He said in his affidavit he had no contact with a 'representative' of Blag. He didn't. He had contact with a 'former' staffer. A represenative, to any honest and thinking person, would mean someone on staff at the time.

    I mean really! One would have to expect that anyone interested in the position would have to talk to someone! That's a no brainer. That Burris used back channels instead of going directly to the Governors office in light of the situation showed some pretty good discretion on his part.

    And this is not just about Burris. Anyone who was interested in filling the seat would have come under the hammer had they contacted the Governors office directly. So it is pretty damned dumb to expect that no one could express interest in the seat in any way.

    If no contact whatsoever is the standard trying to be set here then that would leave Harry Reid filling the seat! And in light of Harry's two year record of decision making we all know how that would work out.

    Lay of of Burris is what I say. He did nothing wrong. And damned the people on a witch hunt.


    and what block of granite (none / 0) (#37)
    by cpinva on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 06:09:08 PM EST
    A represenative, to any honest and thinking person, would mean someone on staff at the time.

    is this carved into? i wasn't aware of any physical law of nature that precludes anyone but staff acting as agent or representative for someone else. happens all the time. perhaps, staff would be the most obvious, to most people, but not mandated.

    if mr. burris did lie in either his affidavit or sworn testimony, methinks reid, et al may well have an out; this would constitute a criminal act. they bring him in long enough to impeach him.

    with regards to blago, i don't think conviction in court is a necessary predicate act to impeachment, it wasn't for clinton.


    Well you are right (none / 0) (#40)
    by Pepe on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 07:12:22 PM EST
    There is no "physical law of nature" applicable in this case. But the fact that you would even mention such nonsense leads me to discard then entirety of your post.

    the fact that (none / 0) (#50)
    by cpinva on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 12:55:48 AM EST
    But the fact that you would even mention such nonsense leads me to discard then entirety of your post.

    you've merely an ad hominum attack as rebuttal, leads me to conclude you don't know your butt from the proverbial hole in the ground.

    any subsequent comments will be treated with all the respect and consideration they deserve, while being tossed in the dustbin.


    As soon as Obama won (none / 0) (#8)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:20:33 AM EST
    Burris said publicly, per an AP story as early as November 6, that he wanted the Senate post, btw.

    That's one way to avoid contacts with the governor's office. :-)


    Blago should have just mused on TV (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by ruffian on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 12:34:15 PM EST
    about he and his wife's desires to work on a board of directors someday. Could have saved himself a world of hurt.

    That was fast! (none / 0) (#2)
    by ThatOneVoter on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:03:58 AM EST
    Another accurate prediction by BTNostradamus---off by just a day, I think.

    impeach (none / 0) (#5)
    by jedimom on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:06:07 AM EST
    well how important is this impeachment in practical terms? it doesnt DO anything does it? Burris already apptd and had hearing, the IL SC is going to issue the writ to white to sign..

    the only way to get rid of Blago is the Senate Trial which I expect will have an actual defense able to you know, defend, LOL...

    seems like a meaningless thing at this point..they should have done this a year ago IMO....


    seems to me the questions about (none / 0) (#6)
    by ThatOneVoter on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:09:02 AM EST
    Burris's contacts with Blago may taint him enough to force him to withdraw.

    It's not meaningless (none / 0) (#10)
    by Pepe on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:35:11 AM EST
    to remove Blagojevich if he in fact did what he is accused of.

    And remember, Burris has nothing to do with Blagojevich's problems. Not a thing. Leave Burris out of it.


    Has the IL leg reorganized this year? (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:05:25 AM EST
    If not, might they have to re-impeach?

    "A great day for Democrats" (none / 0) (#12)
    by Demi Moaned on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:36:36 AM EST
    Incredibly I got an email from Harry Reid on Wednesday with subject line "A great day for Democrats". (Maybe some others here got it, too.) What planet does he live on, I thought.

    They are quite proud (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by ruffian on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 12:30:50 PM EST
    of their ability to negotiate terms with Citibank at a time when banks are in dire need of money.

    same planet as (none / 0) (#14)
    by sarany on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:41:08 AM EST
    Dick Cheney maybe. Reality holds no sway there. I think every politician resides on that planet.

    Interesting who does want to see Burris seated (none / 0) (#20)
    by Alien Abductee on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 12:44:05 PM EST
    Scaife-backed Judicial Watch - they're suing the Senate to get him seated.

    In Retrospect... (none / 0) (#21)
    by santarita on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 12:47:53 PM EST
    maybe Reid fumbled the ball and threw an interception but he may be able to win the ball game after all.  He bought himself some time  and good will on Tuesday.  He opened the door to Burris but still has not brought him into the Senate.  With the impeachment and evidence that will start to trickle out, who knows but Burris may come to his senses and withdraw his acceptance?

    Reid and other Dems rushed a decision rather than wait until absolutely necessary.  And in so doing they almost painted themselves into a corner.

    Nope. Illinois SC ruled for Burris (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 01:28:32 PM EST
    and state SOS White -- and against Reid.  No sig needed by Illinois law.

    Of course, a sig is needed in Minnesota by its laws -- but Reid is on the wrong side of that, too.  See Jedimom's comment and links on the open thread.

    It just gets worse by the day with Reid, et al.


    "...nothing...exchanged..." Burris said. (none / 0) (#24)
    by oldpro on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 01:43:11 PM EST
    Speaking in the past tense.


    The question was in the future tense...re was anything promised?

    Wonder what's on those tapes...

    Drip, drip, drip.

    Mr. Burris really moved in circles (none / 0) (#26)
    by wurman on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 02:14:10 PM EST
    Here's a valid reason to suspect a tainted appointment by Blowhardovich from Fox:

    MyFOXChicago.com reports that Burris -- the former Illinois attorney general who has been appointed by Blagojevich to fill President-elect Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat --  held a 2006 fundraiser for the governor at his home.

    Burris and his lobbying firm also donated $22,295 to Blagojevich's campaign, according to MyFOXChicago.com.

    Over the past four years, Burris' lobbying firm reportedly won $705,435 in state contracts.

    In the news video of Burris' statement(s) to the IL House committee, I think he said that his contact with the former Blagojevich aide (who became the go-between) was to find out if the governor would direct any more contracts to Burris & Lebed--said to be a lobbying firm.

    But there are many potentials, per Forbes:

    Mr. Burris has been manager and chief executive officer of Burris & Lebed Consulting LLC since April 2002 and of counsel to the law firm Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan LLP since February 2007. Mr. Burris was of counsel to the law firm Burris, Wright, Slaughter & Tom, LLC from April 2002 to February 2007. Prior to that, Mr. Burris was of counsel to the law firm of Buford & Peters LLC from January 1999 to March 2002, and served as the managing partner of Jones, Ware & Grenard, a law firm, from June 1995 to December 1998.

    It would be illustrative to discover which of those firms has Illinois state contracts.



    You missed the memo. (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 02:16:41 PM EST
    It was decided here yesterday that exactly these concerns do not matter.  At least for the presidency.  Maybe they do matter for the Senate?

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Steve M on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 02:18:25 PM EST
    that may all go to whether Burris and Blagojevich had shady dealings in the past, but obviously nothing that happened in 2006 could serve as a quid pro quo for an appointment to a seat that just came open within the last couple months.

    Assuming for the sake of argument that Blagojevich gave Burris the appointment out of gratitude for political favors Burris did him in the past, that's not corruption, that's very normal politics.


    2 quids, 1 pro, where's the quo? (none / 0) (#33)
    by wurman on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 04:18:39 PM EST
    " . . . his contact with the former Blagojevich aide (the go-between) was to find out if the governor would direct any more contracts. . . ."

    Chicago Tribune:

    Under questioning by state Rep. Jim Durkin (R- Western Springs), Burris said he mentioned his interest in the Senate seat when he asked Monk to send him lobbying business. Burris thought Monk, who had recently left Blagojevich's office, might have a conflict of interest with some of his potential clients.

    There's more from or on Burris (none / 0) (#35)
    by wurman on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 04:40:11 PM EST
    via Newsmax:
    The Chicago Sun-Times has reported that clients of Burris' lobby firm have donated $107,690 to Blagojevich while winning over $3 million in contracts from the state. Burris also hosted a $1,000 a plate dinner for Blagojevich during his 2006 bid for reelection as Illinois' governor, and the governor's wife obtained an $80,000-a-year job at a non-profit organization whose directors include longtime Burris partner Fred Lebed.

    Hand, meet glove, initiate scratching.


    Nice ROI, too! (none / 0) (#36)
    by oldpro on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 05:25:56 PM EST
    And what's the cost of doing business (none / 0) (#42)
    by wurman on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 07:51:03 PM EST
    for a 2-person lobbying office???

    A dollar in, $27.86 out . . . whew.

    And then the job they set up for Rod Blowhardovich's wife didn't cost Burris & Lebed a dime.

    So what's the price now?  What does Burris have to give in return for his appointment to the senate?

    Now which of those Illinois projects are "shovel ready"?  Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.


    Sure sounds untainted to me... (none / 0) (#25)
    by lilburro on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 01:51:50 PM EST

    Modded up not just because you quoted Tessio.... (none / 0) (#31)
    by jerry on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 03:37:15 PM EST

    Of course he's corrupt (none / 0) (#48)
    by lazloman on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:17:30 PM EST
    I've lived in Chicago my entire life. And as a life long democrat, I've only voted republican twice... for both of Blago's gubernatorial campaigns. He's the son-in-law of a longtime Chicago machine politician. That's all I needed to know about the guy.

    Part Chicago doings (none / 0) (#55)
    by Kefa on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 07:57:58 AM EST
    Do we Dems want this can of worms opened into past dealings in Chi-town? It might hurt us big time.