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Blagojevich arrested on federal charges

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Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, were arrested today by FBI agents for what U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald called a "staggering" level of corruption involving pay-to-play politics in Illinois' top office.

Blagojevich is accused of a wide-ranging criminal conspiracy, including alleged attempts by the governor to try to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President-elect Barack Obama in exchange for financial benefits for the governor and his wife. Blagojevich also is accused of obtaining campaign contributions in exchange for other official actions.

Blagojevich was taken into federal custody at his North Side home this morning--one day shy of his 52nd birthday.

At a news conference late this morning, Fitzgerald said Blagojevich "has taken us to a truly new low" and went on "a political corruption crime spree. We acted to stop that crime spree."

Fitzgerald also accused Blagojevich of attempting "to sell the U.S. Senate seat" that President-elect Barack Obama vacated.

Robert Grant, FBI special agent in charge of the Chicago office, said the arrest of Blagojevich should serve as notice that "business as usual will no longer be tolerated. That selling your office for personal gain is a thing of the past."

Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn today called on Blagojevich to step aside, at least temporarily, because the governor is "seriously impeded from carrying out his oath of office."

"I think that should certainly be considered by the governor today. I think he knows what he needs to do for the people," Quinn said at a news conference this afternoon.

Quinn would assume control of the governor's office if Blagojevich were to step aside under the Illinois Constitution.

Obama told reporters he was "saddened and sobered" by Blagojevich's arrest.

"I was not aware of what was happening," Obama said. "I had no contact with the governor or his office and so I was not aware of what was happening."

Tribune Editor Gerould W. Kern said today that the newspaper delayed publishing some stories at the request of the U.S. attorney's office during the course of reporting on the accelerating investigation of Blagojevich.

"On occasion, prosecutors asked us to delay publication of stories, asserting that disclosure would jeopardize the criminal investigation." Kern said. "In isolated instances, we granted the requests, but other requests were refused."

The stunning, early morning arrest came amid revelations that federal investigators had compiled secret recordings of the governor with the cooperation of a longtime confidant. In recent days, the focus of federal investigators turned to the possibility that Blagojevich's appointment to the Senate had become tainted by pay-to-play politics.

The Democratic governor has said he expects to make a decision on the state's next senator in weeks.

Blagojevich and Harris were arrested simultaneously at their homes at about 6:15 a.m., according to the FBI. They were transported to FBI headquarters in Chicago. Blagojevich is slated to appear at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan today, according to Randall Samborn of the U.S. attorney's office.

On the issue of the U.S. Senate seat that Obama resigned Nov. 16, federal prosecutors said they had numerous recorded conversations of Blagojevich discussing the merits of potential candidates, including their abilities to benefit the people of Illinois as well as the financial and political benefits he and his wife, First Lady Patricia Blagojevich, could receive.

Ald. Dick Mell (33rd), Blagojevich's father-in-law, said it was a "terrible day." Mell, who often feuded with Blagojevich, said, "My main concern right now is for my daughter and my grandchildren."

Mayor Richard Daley, reacting at a news conference, said today is "a sad day. If it's true, it's very, very sad because the selection of a U.S. senator is vitally important."

Prosecutors also alleged Blagojevich expressed feeling "stuck" as a sitting governor and spent a large amount of time weighing whether he should appoint himself to the vacancy--possibly to avoid impeachment and help remake his image for a potential 2016 run for the presidency. A recent Tribune poll found Blagojevich with a record low 13 percent job approval rating.

Under state law, the governor has the sole unfettered discretion to name Obama's appointment.

Prosecutors alleged Blagojevich sought appointment as Secretary of Health and Human Services, secretary of the Energy Department or gain an ambassadorship in the new Obama administration, or get a lucrative job with a union in exchange for appointing a union-preferred candidate. An Obama spokesman had no immediate comment.

Blagojevich also was alleged to be using a favors list, made up largely of individuals and firms that have state contracts or received taxpayer benefits, from which to conduct a $2.5 million fundraising drive before year's end when a new tougher law on campaign donations, prompted by the governor's voracious fundraising, would take effect.

Even Blagojevich's recently announced $1.8 billion plan for new interchanges and "green lanes" on the Illinois Tollway was subject to corruption, prosecutors alleged. The criminal complaint alleges Blagojevich expected an unnamed highway concrete contractor to raise a half-million dollars for his campaign fund in exchange for state money for the tollway project. "If they don't perform, (expletive) 'em," Blagojevich said, according to the complaint.

Blagojevich and Harris also allegedly conspired to demand the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members responsible for editorials critical of Blagojevich in exchange for state help with the sale of Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs baseball stadium owned by Tribune Co.

In addition, federal prosecutors alleged Blagojevich and Harris, along with others, obtained and sought to gain financial benefits for the governor, members of his family and his campaign fund in exchange for appointments to state boards and commissions, state jobs and state contracts.

"The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement.

"They allege that Blagojevich put a 'for sale' sign on the naming of a United States senator; involved himself personally in pay-to-play schemes with the urgency of a salesman meeting his annual sales target; and corruptly used his office in an effort to trample editorial voices of criticism."

-- Jeff Coen and Rick Pearson

 

194 Comments

Well, let's see. Now I know what I want for Christmas: the senate seat!

One former governor in jail and the current one on his way. Way to go Illinois, we sure can pick 'em!

George Wilhelmsen on December 9, 2008 9:10 AM

It's about time.

Thanks to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's hard work in driving this to it's conclusion.

However, this is our own fault. We, the people, elected Blagojevich when there was enough evidence that he was bad news and was corrupt.

The Tribune and Sun Times pointed out:
- Questionable donations to Blagojevich's children;
- Odd real estate transactions with his wife;
- Rezko - Rezko - Rezko

The writing was clear. Why didn't we, the people, listen?

Unless we the people change how we vote and hold our elected officials accountable to doing things right, and break away from the payola mentality where politicians reward certain groups to curry votes, we will be likely to see this happen again.

Tom O'Toole on December 9, 2008 9:10 AM

Now it is there turn. Business as usual.

TaintedJustice on December 9, 2008 9:11 AM

Who doesn't think that this action is politically-motivated? I'm surprised that news outlets consistently fail to connect the dots with respect to the Bush Administration's politicization of the DoJ and actions against Democratic leaders.

I just want to understand how much political motivation came into play within the FBI. Not that I'm a fan of the governor but the timing is awfully coincidental. I dont' trust the FBI or the governor's cronies.

I can only hope that president-elect Obama will not America into a corrupt nation, as many of his political allies have done to the state of Illinois.

What an embarrassment to our state. The moment of pride for senator-turned-president is now sour.

votethebumsout on December 9, 2008 9:12 AM

It's about time. Shame on you Chicago for allowing this to go on until it came to him screwing with federal offices. The rest of Illinois would like to ditch all the Chicago corrupt politics. It is staggering the depth of corruption that goes on in this state, and it all STARTS and ENDS in Chicago!

Its about time. Blago is typical of an arrogant pol sitting in a position of power. There will be alot of nervous politicians in Illinois today.

Can the voters start to understand that change is needed? Howabout a recall?

John Q. Public on December 9, 2008 9:14 AM

Hee hee!
It's about time!

Good -- it's about time this corrupt and incompetent governor gets arrested. I hope the people of Illinois are rid of him soon!

"Who wants to be a Illinois Gov." will sweep the nation in this new reality t.v. series scheduled for the fall...this is two in a row now for our state that will be behind bars...makes you wonder how many "smarter" crooks are out there in office right now...

Mike Grady on December 9, 2008 9:16 AM

Now THAT is , "change you can believe in"! Don't stop there Fitz! Root out all the corruption, just like you did with Dick Cheney, er I mean Scooter.

what a winner this guy is. what is it with chicago anyhow? is there something in the water that unduly impacts politicians?? good lord. what a blight on politics this nimrod is......i'm sure president-elect obama is thrilled. god only knows how the lunatic fringe right will play this.

Good Riddance! Does this mean that those $15,000 signs can finally come down? Hurray!!! First Obama is elected Pres, and now Rod is out. A Chicagoan's dream.

Stunning news but not surprising. That Blagojevich was seeking appointment to a Federal cabinet post would imply this reaches all the way to the president elect.

I am hard-pressed to think politics within the FBI is not also involved here. The timing and methods by which they obtained tape recordings speaks volumes.

About freakin' time.

Maybe Blago and Ryan can share a cell.

New state motto... Welcome to Illinois, we love to indict our governors!

Lincoln Park Mom on December 9, 2008 9:20 AM

Delicious........

No mention of the governor's political affiliations; guess that means he's a democrat..(may be common knowledge in Illinois but unknown elsewhere)

WOW...two arrested governors in a row. That must be some kind of a record. I hope they both rot!

Northwest Sider Jim on December 9, 2008 9:22 AM

It's now obvious that giving a minimal prison sentence to ex-Governor George Ryan had a zero deterrent effect on his successor, Rod Blagojevich. If Mr. Ryan hadn't been given such a gift by the sentencing judge, perhaps Governor Blagojevich might have feared prison and considered putting the citizens of Illinois before enriching himself in the style of George Ryan.

Marcherie Davis on December 9, 2008 9:23 AM

This is a prime example of some politicians believing that they are just the highest of the high. Some of them, like Blagojevich, think that they are so above everything and everyone that he put 'for sale' signs on any service or assistance that he can offer on behalf of the state for his own benefit, and not get caught. The audacity of him. The only reason he got re elected was because no one wanted Judy Topinka. In retrospect, I would have taken the Easter bunny over Blagojevich. I just really think he thought that he would get away with everything. The sad part is that he might have been able to get away completely or almost unscathed, but he was entirely too arrogant about everything. He didn't even stop to think about it when the vast majority of city and state officials were getting busted for corruption and scandal, a governor with sense would have calmed down anything that resembled what everyone else was doing to get arrested, but no, not big bad Blagojevich. He continued to try to get as much as he could get from people while giving up state capital, contracts and jobs that he would have to give up anyway. He is precisely where he deserves to be, on his way to being with his buddies in federal prision.

Robert Granville Lee on December 9, 2008 9:24 AM

Viewing this from afar, from Detroit, Michigan. We are still envious of your magnificent City. In Detroit, we have the Crooks and our City doesn't work. You have the Crooks and yours, the City, does work. What a trade off.
Best reason in the world to Visit Chicago!!!!!,,,fun and Family.
Bob Lee
Bloomfield Hills. Mi. 48301

This is a tragic day for the citizens of Illinois. With the history of the Governors of this state participating in such dishonorable manners, it is a sad day for Illinois politics and I am sure that President-elect Obama is disheartened by such news.
Govenor Bladojevich came out so vocally against George Ryan and his issues but in turn has found himself at the center of a career-ending scandal.
This state is already in a financial crisis as well as many other issues and we need honorable and law-abiding politicians to ensure our rights are preserved and protected instead of using their powers for political and personal gains. We as the public need representation, which should have been his goal instead of self-gratification. I feel bad for his family during this trying time and hope that they will not suffer as a result of his poor judgement.

Hugo Bohrfladt on December 9, 2008 9:25 AM

so how soon can we get those blogovitch signs off the tollway pay stations?

I know what Rod is thinking as he sits in the cell next to rezkO: "Where is Dick Durbin when I need him?"

Happy birthday, Rod. Here's a nice orange suit. Try it on and see how you like it.

It is about time that the corruption in Illinois is put at the forefront. For too long, the downstate citizens of Illinois have dealt with a Governor who put their opinions on the back burner. For too long, all Illinois residents have had to deal knowing that the man running our state government would be following the last one, straight to prison. At least now, the evidence is beginning to show itself. I hope he is sentenced to many years in prison. He deserves it.

jeff bonomo on December 9, 2008 9:27 AM

Is this part of the Bush regime attacking Democrats? It is a sad day when that thought would cross my mind when there is potential criminal activity on the part of an elected official. Our government has turned into a sewer unfortunately.

C'mon. Face the facts here. Zell is screwed. You don't need to worry about him anymore. He's all over this indictment, and you haven't mentioned it yet.

Search for "Tribune Owner" and "Tribune Financial Adviser". Zell was making an agreement with Blagojevich. Get to the heart of it, man!

Nice job Boy Gov! I hope you had a chance to grab your hair care products before you got hauled off. Could you get any dumber...Even Rod knew that the feds were watching...

Bill Wright on December 9, 2008 9:30 AM

For crying out loud! Do you guys absolutely BEG to be accused of media bias? They actually have a web site out there playing a game called "Name That Party!"

And you are number one right now on the playlist.

I won. Even though I live in North Carolina and have never lived in your state, I was able to say that the Guv Blagojevich is...A Democrat!

It wasn't hard. No mention of party affiliation was in in the story. That's a dead giveaway.

But I defended you! Yes I did! I told people that the reason you guys don't mention the Guv's party affiliation in your news story is because it isn't an integral part of the story. It is only appropriate to mention party affiliation when it is a Republican, since it JUST ISN'T NEWS WHEN A DEM OFFICIAL HAS BEEN ARRESTED FOR CORRUPTION. Only when it's a Republican. If the official that is being arrested is a Democrat...well that's just sort of assumed.

It would be sort of like saying that the "liquid water" in the Chicago River was dyed green for St. Patrick's Day.

Come to thnk of it, it may not be that obvious that the water in the Chicago River is liquid.

Bill Wright
A comment from Flyover Country, USA

Golden Hornet on December 9, 2008 9:32 AM

Politics as usual in Illinois. How can someone so stupid get to be governor?

Tim In Illinois on December 9, 2008 9:32 AM

Why am I not surprised. Illinois has been corrupt for how many years now? I am sick and tired of spending my hard earned dollars on politicians who don't give a damn about the people. How much deeper does this corruption go? These people have such big egos that they don't think they will ever get caught. Congrats to Mr. Fitzpatrick and his office for his investigation and arrest.

...and the tradition continues...

This is a great day for the State of Illinois.

THERE IS A GOD

It's about time they arrested the crook! I bet more will be arrested. I wonder who gets to pick the new Senator now.

Pat Gleason on December 9, 2008 9:37 AM

It's about time...
Happy Birthday Rod, hope you have a good lawyer.

Check out spending by human services, public health, and corrections departments to Ashunti Resedential Management Services - 200K + per year

Visit www.ashuntirms.org


What has Rod done to the Illinois public school system?
My nine year old son came home yesterday and announced that there will be no more field trips. The entire Kaneland school district is in a real pickle. Kaneland is one of the largest (square milelage) if not the largest in Illinois yet I've heard we have recieved a minute fraction of our usual transportation budget this year. Kaneland citizens just recently passed a huge tax referendum to build an additional middle school and to upgrade the existing one. Now there's talk of sending all the kids to the new school next year and closing the existing one. What is going on? Is there a spending freeze for Illinois schools? Just a concerned parent.

Joan (Wagner) Seilheumer on December 9, 2008 9:38 AM

If the People of Illinois would of voted Jim Ryan from Elmhurst,Illinois for Governor there would never of been questions of criminal activities!!!!
Jim Ryan is what Illinois used to stand for. Jim Ryan has Integrity, Honesty, and what it took to get the Governors' job done right. It has been our great loss that ONCE AGAIN we vote people into office without really hearing who's honest for the job. Jim Ryan (who has never been) related to George Ryan, has a good and honest track record. Ryan & his family has suffered great loss. But, the people of Illinois have suffered also by not electing the RIGHT MAN.

It's about time!! It's an embarrassment to live in the state of Illinois. The corruption is absolutely ridiculous. He can share a cell with Ryan.

I wonder if Mr. Obama's peeps had anything to do with this?

Kathy Wissmiller on December 9, 2008 9:43 AM

Maybe he and Ryan can a cell together...politics is becoming so sad and sickening...with the state of the economy and people out of jobs...these jerks think they can do whatever they want! glad to see our judicial system is finally working the way it should!
My husband and I both work for non-profit agency who assist children and adults with disabilities...Blago cut funding for both our agencies..one so bad we had to close two programs that served families with children with varying disabilities....I hope he rots in jail!

Paul Krystal on December 9, 2008 9:44 AM

Has there been any comment from Obama or his staff? After all it's still his senate seat.

Our school just cut all field trips, teacher workshops and "extras" because our district is trying to save a $. Thanks to Blagojevich our students "no child left behind" are suffering. It's about time:)

its about time ythey arrest ggov Blagojevich.we the people of illinois feel he hasnt done a good job as govenor of illinois.he dodges questions ask to him! i like know if he been paid off by people like REsko and others like him!

It is customary to report the political party of an official who is being mentioned in a news story (usually, a simple (D) or (R) after the first mention of the official's name is sufficient). Is there any reason why the Chicago Tribune omits this information completely from its story?

Maybe he can request a cell next to George Ryan. How did this clown ever get re-elected. The voters of Illinois should be ashamed of ourselves.

it's about time!!

Thom Wilder on December 9, 2008 9:51 AM

How much can you get in exchange for Senate seat these days? Apparently, 30 years.

While not surprised of these revelations, I'm shocked at the arrogance and stupidity behind them. After being under investigation for months, he's being nailed for stuff he did and said in the last six weeks.

Crooks.....all of 'em. Another fine example set for the community by a public officer.....nice!

Down State is celebrating today..!

Stephen Pangborn on December 9, 2008 9:54 AM

Did Rod Blagojevich belong to a political party? I read three articles on Fox news, CBS and your story. Only your story even mentioned his party affiliation and it took you 16 paragraphs to finally mention it. I wonder how long it would take if he were a republican. Probably would have been in the headline.

You got him chicago Ill POLITICS YAY.

cody stahl on December 9, 2008 9:58 AM

way to go Blagojevich

Anne Ghislandi Mikrut on December 9, 2008 10:02 AM

Every citizen of Illinois should personally thank U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and his entire staff at the US Attorney's Office for their unwavering resolve to rid our state of government corruption. I for one am truly grateful.

Perhaps something will be done about the appalling state of Illinois politics. The current governor has been an embarrassment since even before he was elected.
How arrogant of him to conduct himself in such a dishonest fashion. He and his cronies deserve whatever lies ahead for them.

BeenWaitingForever on December 9, 2008 10:06 AM

It is about time. I think everyone has known he is dirty for pretty much his entire term. Adios Blago...say hi to Ryan for me.

The Chicago Tribune has always been a fearless newspaper in a fearless town. So glad to see that your parent company's financial troubles have not slowed you down...how can yet another generation think that they can get away wih anything!

FINALLY!

Surprise, surprise, surprise, NOT.

You just have to love this. I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas present. Thanks Santa

Surprise! Surprise! ANOTHER one of our politicians in IL is corrupt. What a shocker. Scares you to think how many HAVEN'T been caught yet, doesn't it? IMPEACH HIm!

Scott Frillman on December 9, 2008 10:15 AM

WHO IS RUNNING THE STATE OF ILLINOIS!?!?! WHO IS ACTING GOV!!!!

Carrying on a proud tradition in Illinois politics. What a refreshing change it will be to have this on a Federal level starting January 20th, 2009.

And this joker is the one who requires me, a state employee, to take a yearly ethics test. tsk tsk.

I work for the state and supervise about forty or so people each of whom are required to take a half hour long ethics test. On that waste of time (that burns up over 20 man-hours) we are re-informed each year that gifts over $75 are a violation of the law. Did Rod sell that senate seat and toll the road opportunities for less than $75 ?? If so, he's in the clear.

A.R.Swanson on December 9, 2008 10:29 AM

I LOVE it.This makes 2 in a row.We must hold the record for ex-govs & govs going to the joint.

James A. Clark on December 9, 2008 10:29 AM

Well............... there you go. There's the dirty THUG politics mentioned so often during the presidential campaign that comes out of Chicago. It must make ghost such as Al Capone and the old Mayor Daly pretty proud. Someone will blame President Bush for this now.

Ted - Uptown on December 9, 2008 10:30 AM

The governor is innocent until he is proven guilty, we all know. But, I am happy Fitzgerald is on the case because he has proven he is not a "pay-to-play" government official. If the allegations prove to be true, Blagojevich will have destroyed a promising career by a bright young man who seemed to have raised himself well above his humble beginnings only to be consumed by greed and disrespect of the rule of law.

It has been said many times, that the Public deserves the government it elects. How this Governor was elected to the first term is a good question, but having been elected to the second term is absurd!

December 2012: President Obama, having lost his bid for re-election, commutes the sentence of convicted former governor Blagojevich.

Just another day in the life - living in a Blue state.

Now that we are on the road to get the "ill" out of Illnois, let's work on getting the "crook" out of Cook County.

I couldn't help but notice the "Win a Trip to the Inauguration" Sweepstakes on your web site. How much do I have to contribute to "Friends of Blagojevich" to win?

Former Chicagoan on December 9, 2008 3:54 PM

After reading the transcript I am surprised that his wife Patti not arrested along with him. She should have been taken in along with him. Typical Illinois politics. What an embarassment for Barak Obama.

Do they offer his kind of haircut in prison?

This is all about justice. The Governor broke the law and now he's being held accountable for his crimes. This has nothing to do with Republican versus Democrat... is has everything to do with Right versus Wrong. The Governor has been corrupt for a very long time... we're just now starting to clean up his mess. The timing was swift because the Governor was going to "sell" a Senate seat. Quite frankly, he should have been taken in long ago.

We, the voters, put him in office... again! (Couldn't the Republicans come up with someone... anyone... other than Judy Barr Topinka?) But I'm getting tired of having to choose between the lesser of two evils when it comes to elected officials. In 2004, it was Bush versus Kerry... we would have lost either way. We need reform in Illinois so good people can serve. We screwed it up again last month when we voted down a constitutional convention. When will we learn?

What about Mayor Daly and his cronies? He is just as corrupt. How does he keep getting reelected? I don't have a clue.


Hilarious! I mean, sad & disgraceful! I'm sure the whole state of Illinois is not surprised. What a joke.

There are just too many issues out there relating to Obama either directly or indirectly...the business of his citizenship that the Supreme Court will not touch, the facts behind O's aquiring the house and land in Chicago, the relationships with the pastor and the terrorist. Where was the dirive by press during the pre-election relating to these issues and others?

With the number of indicted governors growing by the day in Illinois, you have to wonder about the political system in Springfield. There must be systemic issues at work here to allow such extreme corruption to continue. Let's look at the laws for how contracts are awarded, and how other perks are distributed.

Listen up people, IT DOESN'T MATTER THE PARTY AFFILIATION!!!! They all cheat, lie and steal!!!!

Richie Jr, come on down, your the next contestant on the "The Politican Is Crooked"

The only disappointment in the seeping complaint was that it did not include Todd Stroger and the Cook County board. There is a lot more to do!

Has Dick Durbin asked for a pardon for Blago yet??? He is just as corrupt. Notice how quickly he tries to distance himself!! If Blago did something good today Durbin would have told us how closely they have worked together! Just another scumbag.

Fed kinda wiped that self righteous smart aleck smirk off of his face.

Rockford Greg on December 9, 2008 4:17 PM

Its no surprise. Once again, Gangster-era Chicago surfaces. Why can't ANYONE in Illinois from any place OTHER THAN CHICAGO take control, and actually, maybe, do some good. And for the record, I didn't vote for this hump. Good riddance.

There you are, another Obama henchmen. Looks like there will be more to come. Let's line them up in the inauguration as special GUESTS OF HONOR. What a way to start the Obama presidency. I am sure there are a lot of smart people in Illinois. Only that being smart doesn't mean you are wise. Look what you are getting into. Wake up Illinois people. Still can't understand why dick durban is still in office. Anyway, you better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, i am telling you why, OBAMA is coming to town to pardon each one of his friends. Or would he?

The media helped this guy get elected. Judy Barr Tropinka mentioned the feds were investigating Public Official A who was Blago. No mention of this by the media. Fitzgerald said IL is the most corrupt state in the country. Mayor Daley is also under investigation for the Truck scandal. They even seized his computers. When will we hear Daley's arrested or did he use his influance to get the investigation dropped? Daley needs to go then Stroger. Obama is loading his staff with Chicago people. Nobody from IL should be president!!

Now that we don't have to be embarassed to be from America we still have to be embarassed about being from Chicago. Well, it is the WINDY city afterall.

Hopefully the tax payers don't foot the legal bills for this guy.

Tim Norris on December 9, 2008 5:45 PM

Gee... Perhaps the Trib/Cubs could ban the soon to be former Governor from ever attending a Cubs game for life? What a silly foolish man he seems to be.

Nice hair on Rod.

He is a total embarrassment and should be put away for a long time.
The Daley's knew how to do it right - he's a crazy amateur. JAIL... for 30 years is what that idiot deserves.

Daley and the city govt have been under federal investigation for almost as long as Blago. When will the other shoe drop? With Daley and Blago behind bars and Stroger losing re-election (nobody would seriously vote for that fool again would they?) this state could be a decent place to live and work again.

We can only hope.

Unlike many others especially the Media who are having a field day with all the extra coverage and dirt they can come up with I find it sad and who's to say the one's asking for the Governor to step down aren't just as corrupt.Look at D.Durbin what a phoney is he just wanted to let George Ryan out,what does that tell you.

the timing is awfully coincidental. I dont' trust the FBI or the governor's cronies.

I agree Joe; the timing that struck me was the Trib hitting rock bottom and this 'expose' breaking. I wonder who was blackmailing who...

What is more laughable is the long line of 'shocked' politicians, all of whom would gladly buy the governorship if they could - Pat Quinn (either a user or a liar), Lisa Madigan (Daddy couldn't buy you that slot, huh?), etc..

I am sure that the musical chairs surrounding Obama taking office has had NOOOO discussions of this nature, right? Richie never deals like this, I am sure...

As blago would say WHAT WAS HE THINKING. I voted for Judy Topinka.

B. H. Obama on December 9, 2008 6:14 PM

Duh uh That's not the Blagojevich I knew........

The people of illinois are corrupt, this is what it takes to have a corrupt government.

Chicago is where it starts, and this is where it has to end.

Well this is interesting. And would be much more interesting if they had let this play out and see what other kind of fish they could catch...
Why did they stop it NOW?

Janie Williams on December 9, 2008 6:27 PM

I think Sarah Palin would have a hay day coming down here and cleaning up the pond scum of politicians we have in Illinois. She did it for Alaska, and I'm sure no one wanted her in Washington, 3/4 of them would have to go, maybe more! Too many there to clean up, would take two terms! I'm so tired of crooked politicians coming out of Illinois, ...uh oh and then look at what we are giving Washinginton..... sorry Washington DC, sorry USA, nice knowing you. God help us!

This doesn't surprise me. It's Chicago politics. While the Feds are at it, why don't they do us another favor and get rid of Todd Stroger as well?

HalibutStance on December 9, 2008 9:01 PM

For years before I finally left Chicago in early '05 I wondered "where is all the money that they're bleeding us for in this state going?" While this situation might not be the direct answer to my former question, it does demonstrate the mentality of those in the Illinois Combine. Youse guys can wonder what the FBI's motivation was for bringing down this house, but it's pretty obvious when you're on the outside looking in - the whole Combine is rotten to the core.

And Janie ... puh-leeze! Sarah Palin? Grow up; get a grip; get a LIFE.

Opinionator on December 9, 2008 9:03 PM

You guys make New York and New Jersey look good.

That's hard to do.

Thanks. I guess.


How can any state ellect consecutive Governors who will be sent to jail? It would seem that some of the fault must lie with the political parties that produce such candidates. I do not believe the political parties are blameless in this process. There is no way that these crooks rise to the top of their state political parties without being detected. This is a sad day for democracy.

Got out and worried on December 9, 2008 9:40 PM

I left IL because I couldn't survive went to another state earned less and lived better. IL is so corrupt and its not only Chicago its all the politicians and the people of this great country just elected one of them to run it. Great now there's no where to go, get ready lets see how bad IL politicians can screw up on a national level.

This "governor" is an idiot. He has no sense of decency, no sense of shame. He feuds with his father-in-law in the media. All he did there was make his family look extremely disfunctional. Who wants a governor from a disfunctional family? He plays games with the general assmbly like thay are building blocks, wasting our money in doing so by calling useless emergency sessions. He battles with the leaders of the general assmbly in public. Any smart politician would know that is political suicide. And on top of it all, at an extremely critical time in his administration, when he is under investigation...when one of his political cronies (Tony Reszco) is singing; at a time when his old chief of staff is singing, he blantantly and foolishly does this. He deserves whatever he gets. I call him Rod "Bunglevich" or Rod "Blowhardovich". He is an embarrassment.

All politians are corrupt, they tell you they do right once in do the opposite is a game for them. Very few can make good on their promises.Or leave a legacy behind.

I remember in New Jersey there was a popular contest for a new State motto. The Winner: "Some of our officials have not been indicted!"

Jim Polichak on December 10, 2008 12:48 PM

One of the first posts on this topic was from John saying "One former governor in jail and the current one on his way. Way to go Illinois, we sure can pick 'em!".
This is a very big mistake that most people make.
WE DO NOT PICK THEM inmost instances.
By the time anyone gets to become a candidate for "high office" he has most likely sold his soul to the party bosses; otherwise he would not have gotten the nod for that office.
Maybe Senator Obama is an exception, just maybe.
Eisenhower was because he made his name in the War.
Teddy Roosevelt was because he was made VP to get him out of the bosses way.
Abraham Lincoln was because the Republican Party was too new at the time of his election.
In reality, most politicians are beholden to the Party by the time they get to run for a congressional seat.
Obama might be an exception because he was given the nod to run against an incumbent who eventually was forced to drop out. Had the Party felt the race would have been easier to win they would have given the nomination to someone more in tune with themselves.
Rod Blagojevich maybe?

It's not just the Democrates. Judy Topinka was the best the Republicans could do? And who could forget the canidate they brought in from the East coast to run against Obama for the Senate.

Well, I dont see what the hub bub is about. It sounds like Blagojevich is just doing what every other politician does. I really cant see anything 'wrong' or 'out of the norm' myself.
Therefore all this buzz must be media bs or blackmail.

Read the 76 page FBI affidavit compiled by David Cain, the special agent for the FBI who investigated this guy if you really want to learn about the corruption and greed at the core of our political system. It is sad to think the system that was designed for the good and protection of the people has sunk to the level we see today. How can someone be as ignorant as Blago to know he is under investigation yet carry on his criminal activities and think he will get away with it. This Guy needs to pack his bags and get outta town now. What a disgrace.

Emmanuel, OBAMA, Rezko, Wright, Blagojevich, Jackson Jr., Senate Candidate 5, OBAMA, Farrakahn, Ryan, Mell....

All of these individuals are scumbag criminals on the take. They could'nt care less about the country or their constituents. They ONLY WANT POWER. And the most criminal idiot of them all just bought the Presidency. Where do you think Blago got the idea?

Now for the first time in MY life I am embarrassed to be an American. Why can't we keep the scum in Chicago in Illinois by other means than jail (which is where the President Elect is headed)?

It happens everywhere, in as Vegas, half our county commissioners went to jail.

Welcome to the club.

The American political climate, which had been so optimistic of late, has started to get ugly again. Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has likely seen his last payday for a while, along with his chief of staff, John Harris. The FBI on federal corruption charges arrested both on Tuesday morning. This would be the start again of bad image of government officials. Normally, a person in such a high position getting busted for something that big is shocking enough, but it gets worse in that he is the second governor if Illinois in a row to get arrested on federal criminal charges. His predecessor, George Ryan, was arrested a few years ago, on corruption charges as well. Oh! What’s happening to these people? Blagojevich haven’t learning yet from the mistake of the former governor- George Ryan. Blagojevich evidently assumed that he was King of Illinois and did Barack Obama recently vacate trying to literally sell the Senate seat. According to Illinois law, the governor determines who fills the seat, and Blagojevich figured that it was a quick way to make a buck or two. Well, it would be an understatement to say he got a little greedy. The FBI compiled a 76-page indictment against Harris and Blagojevich. He was caught on wiretap last month, and the FBI waited to get even more evidence against him, which they did. He claims that everything he did and said was legal. Residents of the state of Illinois will just have to wait and see. The climate in DC appears to be hopeful for now, but darker clouds are on the horizon for Blagojevich and his buddy, Harris. It's likely they’ve seen their last paydays in office. Click to read more on Blagojevich courtesy of Personal Money Store's Payday Loan News.

Blagojevich is Scum. I can’t believe he’s going to fight this. He has no honor. As if the Illinois government is going to be able to function smoothly with him there. He should just step down and I hope he gets convicted and goes to jail for a long time. Rod Blagojevich is such an arrogant, self-serving, unethical person. He claims he wants to serve the people of Illinois? Then fine, serve it by doing what they request: STEP-DOWN! His career is over. No one will trust him ever. I can't wait for him to claim he's innocent, make statements and then have all these witnesses that are involved tell the truth and show him to be the liar that he is. These others are gonna sing like canaries and Blagojevich will get what he deserves. We need to clean up these government officials and politics in general!

Blago is great comedy at this time! The defiance and the hairstyle are priceless!!! If the Illinois State Democrat Party was brighter it would push this guy out by the end of the year to trim its losses for 2010. I'm afraid the longer he stays in office, the more skeletons we'll see coming out of the office.

While this man is obviously not fit to remain in any public office, does anyone find it to be a strange coincidence that the case agains Blagojovic was made public the day after he threatened Bank of America with no long receiving Illinois' business? It seems that if the FBI and the prosecutor had waited just a little longer this would have been a total slam dunk.

I think Illinois voters have finally surpassed Taxachusettes. Didn't think it possible. I think those two states should have a little test before the vote. For example: Did you know that Barney Frank allowed his boyfriend to run a gay brothel out of his home in DC which is paid for by the tax payers? Or I thought the best was the question posed to the Obama voter what she thought of his VP pick and she thought Sarah Palin was a wonderful choice. We get what we deserve.. A pox on your filthy corrupt state!!

This is indeed ironic as our current governer ran on a platform of no longer allowing pay to play schemes. what a mess in illinios politics. we have 3 of the last 7 governers indicted and now it will be 4 for 8. wow a 50% chance of being a blatantly corrupt politician in illinios. the amazing thing is these are only the blatant ones, i wonder how many of them that havent been caught yet have skeletons in thier own closet? it seems we have a better chance of finding life on mars then finding an honest politician.


perhaps now we will finally understand in elections that character matters.

Live from Illinois . . . It's Saturday Night Live

Dan Detroit on January 1, 2009 1:56 PM

The post describing Blagojevich as the "Chicago Governor" may be technically erroneous, but in reality, "Chicago Politics" is "Illinois Politics". With one governor in prison and the next apparently on his way, it is chilling to realize that, after all, Barack Obama is just another politician out of Chicago.

Daria Ramsey on January 9, 2009 3:40 PM

“Illinois has to be embarrassed by all this.”

HA! As if Illinois, the land of the voting dead and her residents has any shame! Heck, one of their resident attorneys from Chicago votes in MY Texas election by mail. Shameless!!

I hope he is jail for a VERY long time. Anybody this stupid deserves to be there. What a crook.

sonya noye on February 3, 2009 9:06 PM

Those of us who fail to remember the past risk the sad and regretful chance of repeating it! Was it not to long ago and a few thousand lives lost, that we were warned of Saddam(you know who i mean)storing weapons of mass destruction. Many of us believed it after coming from what we considered credible and well informed reliable resources. Who knew?

Its sad news every where we just cant seem to get away

bedroom furniture on March 12, 2009 9:43 AM

Daley and the city govt have been under federal investigation for almost as long as Blago. When will the other shoe drop? With Daley and Blago behind bars and Stroger losing re-election (nobody would seriously vote for that fool again would they?) this state could be a decent place to live and work again.

Gold Price Blog on March 22, 2009 6:56 PM

Why am I not surprised. Illinois has been corrupt for how many years now? I am sick and tired of spending my hard earned dollars on politicians who don't give a damn about the people. How much deeper does this corruption go? These people have such big egos that they don't think they will ever get caught. Congrats to Mr. Fitzpatrick and his office for his investigation and arrest.

Converter to M4R on March 22, 2009 10:14 PM

Gotta he deserved.

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Well, I dont see what the hub bub is about. It sounds like Blagojevich is just doing what every other politician does. I really cant see anything 'wrong' or 'out of the norm' myself.
Therefore all this buzz must be media bs or blackmail.
dan,
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it's really amazing it went on like this and the situation wasn't resolved sooner.

Gloria Polo on May 5, 2009 3:47 AM

Wow, seems like a moment of embarrassment. I guess we will just wait and see if Obama takes the right path when compared to his political allies.


HA! As if Illinois, the land of the voting dead and her residents has any shame! Heck, one of their resident attorneys from Chicago votes in MY Texas election by mail. Shameless!!

Its sad news every where we just cant seem to get away.

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her residents has any shame! Heck, one of their resident attorneys from Chicago votes in MY Texas election by mail. Shameless!!

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I wonder what he will be sentenced to.
-Jack

futurich on June 2, 2009 11:38 AM

poor blagojevich... finally gets what he's been deserving...

club penguin on June 4, 2009 2:01 AM

It's an embarrassment to live in the state of Illinois. The corruption is absolutely ridiculous. He can share a cell with Ryan.
It's about time....

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wonder what he will be sentenced to.

Live from Illinois . . . It's Saturday Night Live

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This is a tragic day for the citizens of Illinois. With the history of the Governors of this state participating in such dishonorable manners, it is a sad day for Illinois politics and I am sure that President-elect Obama is disheartened by such news.

payday loan lender on June 23, 2009 8:44 PM

Chicago has been a corrupt city for quite some time and it's a good thing this Governor was replaced. More things should be done to clean up Chicago given the fact that they are in the running to become the Olympic 2016 host.

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Did this guy ever get thrown in the slammer? If not, what is the holdup?

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It seems like a lot of governors of big states are showing signs of corruption and poor ethical choices. I really hope justice is served here.

Free Grants on July 8, 2009 10:33 AM

Yes that's true, it always happens when new government comes and started to identifies previous government corrupt.

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Well, I dont see what the hub bub is about. It sounds like Blagojevich is just doing what every other politician does. I really cant see anything 'wrong' or 'out of the norm' myself.

Police Officer Skills on July 14, 2009 10:29 PM

What are you, clueless mr harry potter? You think every politician tries to sell the senate seats? Go back to school noob...

That Blagojevich was seeking appointment to a Federal cabinet post would imply this reaches all the way to the president elect.

The people have such big egos that they don't think they will ever get caught. Congrats to Mr. Fitzpatrick and his office for his investigation and arrest.
Regards,
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It's an embarrassment to live in the state of Illinois. The corruption is absolutely ridiculous. He can share a cell with Ryan.

Blagojevich should not do that, or, at least, he should do it more secretly. Just kidding. It's absolutely wrong.

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It sounds like Blagojevich is just doing what every other politician does. I really cant see anything 'wrong' or 'out of the norm' myself.

Free Government Grants on August 7, 2009 6:37 PM

I think Illinois voters have finally surpassed Taxachusettes.

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Blagojevich is so slimy. Australian Flags

Desi Games on August 14, 2009 2:11 AM

Is there any update on this issue ? Havent heard on this for long.

deeper voice on August 16, 2009 11:51 AM

The people have such big egos that they don't think they will ever get caught. Congrats to Mr. Fitzpatrick and his office for his investigation and arrest.

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I hope he is jail for a VERY long time.
wonder what he will be sentenced to.

Well done, Congrats to Mr. Fitzpatrick for investigation and arrest.

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bad breath on August 22, 2009 3:46 AM

It was about time... although Blagojevich is still a small fish that thrown into the net by his own mates. Mr. Fitzpatrick should go after bigger fish. those are the root of evil

it always happens when new government comes and started to identifies previous government corrupt.

Victor Tidwell on August 24, 2009 5:43 AM

Maintaining law and order is very important hence corruption is to be removed and certain steps has to be taken.
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Well done, Congrats to Mr. Fitzpatrick for investigation and arrest.

Blagojevich was foolish to think he could get away with this, when his state was obviously in the political spotlight. Just goes to show how easily greed can cloud rational thought.

Voucher Codes on August 31, 2009 1:23 AM

It was about time... although Blagojevich is still a small fish that thrown into the net by his own mates. Mr. Fitzpatrick should go after bigger fish. those are the root of evil

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I just really think he thought that he would get away with everything. The sad part is that he might have been able to get away completely or almost unscathed, but he was entirely too arrogant about everything.

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This doesn't surprise me. It's Chicago politics.

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I hope he is jail for a VERY long time. Anybody this stupid deserves to be there. What a crook.

Well, i sincerly hope he is going to pay for this. He discredited the whole political system by doing what he did.

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Earn cash online on September 16, 2009 1:02 PM

I think he got exactly what he had coming for him. While I was visiting Chicago back when this was the hot topic I actually ran into people who printed business cards and flyers about the situation and were handing them out on the streets.

Scott

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I hope he is jail for a VERY long time. Anybody this stupid deserves to be there. What a crook.


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It seems like a lot of governors of big states are showing signs of corruption and poor ethical choices. I really hope justice is served here.

panic attack relief on September 19, 2009 6:21 PM

I just want to understand how much political motivation came into play within the FBI. Not that I'm a fan of the governor but the timing is awfully coincidental. I dont' trust the FBI or the governor's cronies.

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You guys can wonder what the FBI's motivation was for bringing down this house, but it's pretty obvious when you're on the outside looking in - the whole Combine is rotten to the core.

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oh well, i think thats what when we are not being monitored..

Everybody gets what he deserves. Earlier or later everything returns whatevever we do. That's why we should carefully look at himself what we do and what we think.

Why is this guy not in jail. It seems like he is on every show talking like there is nothing wrong. He committed a crime and nothing has been done.

Why these guys do sins?
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It's a very nasty games they played. But he should not think that he would got away with this. Download Games This is indeed ironic as our current governer ran on a platform of no longer allowing pay to play schemes.

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I remember hearing about this. What crap - "pay-to-play politics" - couldn't have said it better. One story like this after another it seems like these days. free money for bills

This guy is awesome, just typical of what goes on! Keep saying, NOT GUILTY.

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Wow this is crazy, I just heard this story, poltics is vital to our lifestyle but it does attract power and money hnger people. In some ways I'm not surprised at the staggering level of corruption.

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The governor is innocent until he is proven guilty, we all know. But, I am happy Fitzgerald is on the case because he has proven he is not a "pay-to-play" government official. If the allegations prove to be true, Blagojevich will have destroyed a promising career by a bright young man who seemed to have raised himself well above his humble beginnings only to be consumed by greed and disrespect of the rule of law.

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The American political climate, which had been so optimistic of late, has started to get ugly again. Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has likely seen his last payday for a while, along with his chief of staff, John Harris. The FBI on federal corruption charges arrested both on Tuesday morning. This would be the start again of bad image of government officials. Normally, a person in such a high position getting busted for something that big is shocking enough.

thanks!

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I agree with one of the previous comments.
I am not that much into politics, for obvious reasons..I am trying to reduce my headaches, but the timing here does seem a bit fishy.
you seriously have to question whether there was any 'motivation' or political benefit behind this arrest

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Blagojevich is hanging on to his political career and who are the real losers here if not his constituents. I for one despair for the future of future candidated for this party.

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I am not that much into politics, for obvious reasons..I am trying to reduce my headaches, but the timing here does seem a bit fishy.

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will he be released ?

f the allegations prove to be true, Blagojevich will have destroyed a promising career by a bright young man who seemed to have raised himself well above his humble beginnings only to be consumed by greed and disrespect of the rule of law.

You reap what you sew.
I'm glad to see someone like him get what he deserves

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At the end of the day, the conduct we have before us is appalling," said Fitzgerald, showing little of his characteristic restraint in detailing the government's charges.

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I think this entire Blagojevich thing was over blown. The guy has all legal authority to 'sell' the seat if he wants to. Just because it's a bit unorthodox doesn't mean he should have been arrested for it.

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The defiance and the hairstyle are priceless!!! If the Illinois State Democrat Party was brighter it would push this guy out by the end of the year to trim its losses for 2010. I'm afraid the longer he stays in office, the more skeletons we'll see coming out of the office.

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It's an embarrassment to live in the state of Illinois. The corruption is absolutely ridiculous. He can share a cell with Ryan.
It's about time....

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The American political climate, which had been so optimistic of late, has started to get ugly again. Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has likely seen his, last payday for a while, along with his chief of staff, John Harris. The FBI on federal corruption charges arrested both on Tuesday morning. This would be the start again of bad image of government officials. Normally, a person in such a high position getting busted for something that big is shocking enough.

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These others are gonna sing like canaries and Blagojevich will get what he deserves. We need to clean up these government officials and politics in general!

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This doesn't surprise me. It's Chicago politics. While the Feds are at it, why don't they do us another favor and get rid of Todd Stroger as well?

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I think all people who are in politics are dirty to some shape form or fashion.

I wonder how much others in chicago politics knew about Blago's deals.
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Why isn't this man in PRISON YET!!??!!

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