Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Blagojevich Sets Template For Corruption

Like a hawker at the local ballpark, Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich is accused of blatantly trying to sell favors for personal gain, not the least of which is president-elect Barack Obama's vacated senate seat, which Blagojevich is - or was - charged with awarding to the appointee of his choice. Such appointee would, of course, still be subject to confirmation by the full Senate, but there is little doubt that whoever was selected would have passed such a heavily weighted roster.

Earlier reports showed a clearly defiant Blagojevich, saying at one point in response to a reporter's question that there was "nothing but sunshine hanging over me". As the day has worn on, however, the clouds have rolled in for the governor.

The United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois has filed a 78 page complaint against Blagojevich, which is broken into three parts. In the first part, which runs from pages 9 to 41, the governor tells a person that he will hold up $8 million in financing for the Children's Memorial Hospital unless the hospital's chief executive contributes $50,000 in return to Friends of Blagojevich. (Page 34)

It is the third part of the complaint that details the alleged scheme by the governor to, in essence, auction off the senate seat to the highest bidder. Between pages 54-76 of this document, the U.S. Attorney for NDI lays out the complaint pursuant to the allegation that Blagojevich attempted to manipulate how he could personally benefit from his sole authority to name a successor to President-elect Barack Obama’s seat in the United States Senate.

Also at issue in this affair is the statement offered by Barack Obama today in which he claims to have had no contact with the governor concerning the vacated senate seat.

“I had no contact with the governor or his office and so I was not aware of what was happening. ”

But just over two weeks ago, Obama senior advisor, David Axelrod, had this to say on Fox News Chicago, November 23rd:
"I know he's talked to the governor and there are a whole range of names many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them."

What better way to complete this impending storm than to have Patrick Fitzgerald doing the investigating. Just in time for the holiday season, the phrase formerly and giddily shouted with glee during the Scooter Libby ordeal - "Merry Fitzmas!" - is being revived from the right.

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