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First, a disclaimer: Illinois Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has made it clear in a press conference going on at this moment, that the arrest of Rod Blagojevich does not implicate President-elect Barack Obama.
Illinois Governor Rob Blagojevich (D) was arrested today on federal corruption charges, specifically for conspiring to sell or trade Obama’s Illinois Senate seat. The Chicago Tribune post today provides links to extensive reports on Blagojevich’s background:
Updated at 8:57 a.m.: On the issue of the U.S. Senate selection, federal prosecutors alleged Blagojevich sought appointment as Secretary of Health and Human Services in the new Obama administration, or a lucrative job with a union in exchange for appointing a union-preferred candidate.
Blagojevich and Harris 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.
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
With Blagojevich’s arrest, we’ll be hearing about far more than selling a Senate seat: “The Board Games,” “Pay to Play,” and “The Illinois Combine” will become familiar and repugnant terminology . For an intense look at the key players, with Blagojevich and Tony Rezko, calling the shots, take some time to sit back and read Evelyn Pringle’s reporting on Chicago politics. Links to her series are at the bottom of this post.
On October 13, 2008, I reported Illinois Governor Rob Blagojevich was dumped by the Chicago “political mob” as their 2008 U.S. Presidential candidate, in favor of Barack Obama – this is the same “mob” which also help fund Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate campaign.
This report will show that the same political mob raising money to make Blagojevich president in 2008, also funded Obama’s election to the US senate in 2004…,
Blagojevich expected a healthy run for the Oval Office. Then Obama became a rising star and political winds shifted.
Remember Tony Rezko, the man tied to murky purchase of Barack Obama’s Chicago home, and the man Hillary Clinton referred to as Obama’s slum landlord? Rezko was found guilty on 16 federal charges of demanding kickbacks (influence peddling) and including money laundering, wire fraud, and extortion. He was a major contributor to Rob Blagojevich’s successful Illinois Governor race.
In 2002, Rezko backed Rod Blagojevich for Governor. Back on January 12, 2005, the Chicago Tribune reported that Blagojevich had collected more than $36.4 million in donations in four years. By comparison, it took former Governor Ryan, “once considered a powerful fundraiser, 30 years in public life to raise $40 million,” the report said.
Until Ryan left, Republicans held the governor’s office for nearly 30 years. Democrat Blagojevich took office in January 2003, and between then and when the same US attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald, intervened on May 20, 2004, a plan was put in place to bilk roughly $8 million from persons and firms seeking to do business with the state of Illinois.As discussed previously in this series, Governor Blagojevich was supposed to be the presidential candidate in 2008, not Obama.
The Illinois fingers of corruption reach deeper than can be imagined or learned of in MSM reporting – even reaching all the way to Iraq. Evelyn Pringle is a columnist for OpEd News and an investigative journalist focused n exposing corruption in government and corporate America. Read her reports and prepare to be astonished. Many of those names “paying to play” will be familiar:
Political Funding and Manuevering in the Time of Obama