#1 Blagojevich, chief of staff, arrested on federal charges12-09-2008, 10:25 AM
CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday on charges of conspiring to get financial benefits through his authority to appoint a U.S. senator to fill the vacancy left by Barack Obama's election as president.
According to a federal criminal complaint, Blagojevich also was charged with illegally threatening to withhold state assistance to Tribune Co., the owner of the Chicago Tribune, in the sale of Wrigley Field. In return for state assistance, Blagojevich allegedly wanted members of the paper's editorial board who had been critical of him fired.
Blagojevich also was charged with using his authority as governor in an attempt to squeeze out campaign contributions.
Blagojevich's chief of staff, John Harris, also was arrested.
A 76-page FBI affidavit said the 51-year-old Democratic governor was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps over the last month conspiring to sell or trade the vacant Senate seat for personal benefits for himself and his wife, Patti. Federal agents were in Blagojevich's office in the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago on Tuesday morning....
Last edited by bijou; 12-09-2008 at 04:04 PM.
12-09-2008, 10:35 AM
That's pretty funny.
12-09-2008, 10:47 AM
The corruptness of democrats never ceases to amaze. We got 4 years of obama related corruption coming.
"I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction." -Barack Hussein Obama
12-09-2008, 11:21 AM
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- May 2008
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12-09-2008, 11:50 AM
As a resident of Illinois and a former state government employee during the Blagojevich administration, I can't even begin to describe how happy I am over this news. Illinois residents have been waiting for this for a long time and Christmas has come early!
I'm doing the happy dance all over the house today! :D
12-09-2008, 11:59 AM
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- Nov 2008
- NE Indiana
What a surprise. Somebody in Chicago grew a pair.
My father-in-law was a Chicago alderman in the 40s and 50s and nothing much has changed in terms of corruption. But indictments are new. Bravo!:)
12-09-2008, 12:00 PM
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- Aug 2005
RAW DATA: Press Release on Blagojevich Arrest
The news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office following the arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
ILLINOIS GOV. ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH AND HIS CHIEF OF STAFF
JOHN HARRIS ARRESTED ON FEDERAL CORRUPTION CHARGES
Blagojevich and aide allegedly conspired to sell U.S. Senate appointment, engaged in pay-to-play schemes and threatened to withhold state assistance to Tribune Company for Wrigley Field to induce purge of newspaper editorial writers
CHICAGO - Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and his Chief of Staff, John Harris, were arrested today by FBI agents on federal corruption charges alleging that they and others are engaging in ongoing criminal activity: conspiring to obtain personal financial benefits for Blagojevich by leveraging his sole authority to appoint a United States Senator; threatening to withhold substantial state assistance to the Tribune Company in connection with the sale of Wrigley Field to induce the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members sharply critical of Blagojevich; and to obtain campaign contributions in exchange for official actions - both historically and now in a push before a new state ethics law takes effect January 1, 2009.
Blagojevich, 51, and Harris, 46, both of Chicago, were each charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery. They were charged in a two-count criminal complaint that was sworn out on Sunday and unsealed today following their arrests, which occurred without incident, announced Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Both men were expected to appear later today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
A 76-page FBI affidavit alleges that Blagojevich was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps during the last month conspiring to sell or trade Illinois U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama for financial and other personal benefits for himself and his wife. At various times, in exchange for the Senate appointment, Blagojevich discussed obtaining:
* a substantial salary for himself at a either a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions;
* placing his wife on paid corporate boards where he speculated she might garner as much as $150,000 a year;
* promises of campaign funds - including cash up front; and
* a cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself.
Just last week, on December 4, Blagojevich allegedly told an advisor that he might get some (money) up front, maybe from Senate Candidate 5, if he named Senate Candidate 5 to the Senate seat, to insure that Senate Candidate 5 kept a promise about raising money for Blagojevich if he ran for re-election. In a recorded conversation on October 31, Blagojevich claimed he was approached by an associate of Senate Candidate 5 as follows: We were approached pay to play. That, you know, hed raise 500 grand. An emissary came. Then the other guy would raise a million, if I made him (Senate Candidate 5) a Senator.
On November 7, while talking on the phone about the Senate seat with Harris and an advisor, Blagojevich said he needed to consider his family and that he is financially hurting, the affidavit states. Harris allegedly said that they were considering what would help the financial security of the Blagojevich family and what will keep Blagojevich politically viable. Blagojevich stated, I want to make money, adding later that he is interested in making $250,000 to $300,000 a year, the complaint alleges.
On November 10, in a lengthy telephone call with numerous advisors that included discussion about Blagojevich obtaining a lucrative job with a union-affiliated organization in exchange for appointing a particular Senate Candidate whom he believed was favored by the President-elect and which is described in more detail below, Blagojevich and others discussed various ways Blagojevich could monetize the relationships he has made as governor to make money after leaving that office. The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering, Mr. Fitzgerald said. 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. The citizens of Illinois deserve public officials who act solely in the publics interest, without putting a price tag on government appointments, contracts and decisions, he added.
12-09-2008, 12:15 PM
The stuff about the Tribune and trying to sell the vacant senate seat is really bad. Then, there's the fact that he was stupid enough to talk about it on the phone, a mistake that a seasoned politician should know better than to make.
I wish the feds would arrest Kwame Kilpatrick for some kind of corruption charges on the day he's released from the Wayne County Jail for his pled-down charges from the perjury conviction.
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