Gov. Hot Rod goes down! ... And on the way out manages to poop on an otherwise wondrous Obama-riffic election.
CHICAGO — Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois was arrested by federal authorities on Tuesday morning on corruption charges, including an allegation that he conspired to effectively sell President-elect Barack Obama’s seat in the United States Senate to the highest bidder.
Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat, called his sole authority to name Mr. Obama’s successor “golden,” and he sought to parlay it into a job as an ambassador or secretary of health and human services, or a high-paying position at a nonprofit or an organization connected to labor unions, prosecutors said in a 76-page affidavit by the United States Attorney’s office in the Northern District of Illinois.
He also suggested, the affidavit said, that in exchange for the Senate appointment, his wife could be placed on corporate boards where she might earn as much as $150,000 a year, and he tried to gain promises of money for his campaign fund.
If Mr. Blagojevich could not secure a deal to his liking, prosecutors said, he was willing to appoint himself.
“If I don’t get what I want and I’m not satisfied with it, then I’ll just take the Senate seat myself,” the governor said in recorded conversation, prosecutors said. (Source: New York Times)
Our bi-state neighbor Illinois has always been the City Mouse to Missouri's Country Mouse. Largely because Illinois is home to Chicago, the third largest city in the United States. We in St. Louis could have been Chicago about 100 years ago when we were the fourth largest city in the US, but we got all protectionist about some damn ferry boat traffic and the railroads expanded rapidly and the rest is history.
It's not that we don't have corruption in Missouri. Heavens to Murgatroid, we do! It's just, our drama always looks so hokey by comparison. For instance, our dorkwad, asshat, boy wonder governor, Matt "Little Boy" Blunt, cut state medical benefits for thousands of Missourians and got caught up in a very Bush-lite email records scandal. He chose not to run for re-election this year, realizing he was going to get owned by the Democratic competitor, former attorney general Jay Nixon. Either that, or there was another scandal under his bed. He wasn't very specific when he declared that he accomplished all he set out to do in a turbulent, effed up three years.
I don't know. It didn't matter. Nixon won anyway, calling his competition Nanny-Nanny-Blunt-Bush over and over.
Over in City Mouse country, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has a 76 page indictment that includes everything from shaking down the friggin' Chicago Tribune in a pay-for-play scheme/fire-your-reporters-because-I-hate-their-faces gambit with a little quid pro quo on the state helping out with the media company's sale of the Cubs ... to demanding between half-million to a million dollars in cash, plus an appointment or ambassadorship for President-Elect Barack Obama's vacated senate seat. You know? Because if he couldn't get some scratch he might as well appoint himself. Hint, hint. Wink, wink!
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. (Chicago Tribune)
CNN (among others) are speculating that potential senate appointee who may have balked and tattled on the already embattled Blagojevich was none other than Obama adviser and long-time family friend, Valerie Jarrett. She withdrew her name from consideration and took a job in the White House. And considering the fact the FBI has been working on Blagojevich's brand of Chicago-land politics for some time, this must have been the turd cherry on the shit sundae the federal government has been making in hopes will take down (another) Illinois governor.
But who's surprised that Blagojevich is being accused of this? Illinois has a hit streak going of douchy governors not matter what party they come from, with one presently serving a six year prison sentence. So far Obama is not getting beat up over this. And I'd actually consider him among the "victims" if the tale about Blagojevich trying to get Jarrett to cough up cash for the seat is true. But this will certainly be entertaining. Perhaps Blagojevich didn't want the Republican governor to be in prison alone ... or, this may explain why he was lobbying on former Gov. Ryan's behalf to get a pardon from President George W. Bush. Perhaps Hot Rod knew what was coming down the pike and needed some karma on his side.
Hot Rod's karma came up all kinds of fail though. All kinds.