SPRINGFIELD--Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan today said impeachment proceedings will begin immediately against Gov. Rod Blagojevich after allegations he used his office to try to sell the vacant U.S. Senate seat of Barack Obama.

Madigan, a veteran Southwest Side Chicago lawmaker and head of the Democratic Party of Illinois, announced the move against the state's first Democratic governor in more than a quarter-century at a news conference at the state Capitol.

"It is my intention to appoint a special committee to begin immediately an investigation into the governor's conduct in office and to undertake the preparatory work that is a prerequisite to an impeachment proceeding in the Illinois House," Madigan said.

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