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Illinois guv busted

Posted by Richard on December 9, 2008

Imagine that — aother corrupt Illinois politician:

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested Tuesday morning in Chicago on two counts each of federal corruption charges stemming from allegations Blagojevich was trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder.

… 

The charges also relate to allegations that Blagojevich and Harris schemed with previously convicted defendants and Obama associates Antoin Rezko, Stuart Levine, Ali Ata and others to arrange financial benefits in exchange for appointments to state boards and commissions, state employment, state contracts and access to state funds.

My favorite laugh line in the story came from FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Robert Grant (emphasis added): 

"Many, including myself, thought that the recent conviction of a former governor would usher in a new era of honesty and reform in Illinois politics. Clearly, the charges announced today reveal that the office of the Governor has become nothing more than a vehicle for self-enrichment, unrestricted by party affiliation and taking Illinois politics to a new low," Grant said.

Was that sarcasm, or was he really serious? 

According to the U.S. attorney, it's all on tape: 

Fitzgerald's office said the 76-page FBI affidavit alleges that Blagojevich was taped conspiring to sell or trade Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat for financial and other personal benefits for himself and his wife, including an annual salary of $250,000-$300,000 at a nonprofit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions.

They also allege Blagojevich is heard on tape demanding a corporate board seat for his wife worth as much as $150,000 a year; promises of campaign funds, including cash up front; and a Cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself.

Sen. Obama, asked to comment, said, "That's not the Rod Blagojevich I knew."

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