Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (above) and his chief of staff were arrested yesterday as a result of a federal corruption probe where Blagojevich is believed to have sought financial advantages in exchange for Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate Seat.
"I had no contact with the governor or his office and so we were not, I was not aware of what was happening."-- President-elect Barack Obama during yesterday's press conference when asked about what contacts he had had with Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich regarding his U.S Senate replacement
"I know he's talked to the governor and there are a whole range of names many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them."-- Obama's senior campaign advisor David Axelrod on November 28, 2008, during an interview on Fox News Chicago. Axelrod now claims he "misspoke" during the interview and there were no contacts between Obama and Blagojevich regarding the issue of Obama's Senate replacement.
"If it isn't the most corrupt state in the United States, it's certainly one hell of a competitor."-- FBI's Chicago office special agent Robert Grant on the Blagojevich probe
Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, were arrested Tuesday for what U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald called a "political corruption crime spree" that included attempts to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
Blagojevich and Harris were named in a federal criminal complaint that alleged a wide-ranging criminal conspiracy aimed at providing financial benefits to the governor, his political fund and to his wife, First Lady Patricia Blagojevich.
Blagojevich was taken into federal custody by FBI agents at his North Side home Tuesday morning—one day shy of his 52nd birthday.
The arrests dealt a tumultuous blow to Illinois government, at once raising questions about the leadership of the state and the fate of the open Senate seat—which the governor alone has the power to fill under the state law.
The allegations against Blagojevich provide a sharp contrast to a Democratic governor who campaigned for office promising reforms in the wake of disgraced, scandal-tainted Republican chief executive George Ryan. The complaint against Blagojevich comes little more than two years after Ryan was sentenced to 61/2 years in prison on federal corruption charges.
Earlier this year, Obama's chief campaign strategist David "Dr. Frankenstein" Axelrod said that his boss and Illinois Governor Blagojevich had been talking about the senate seat replacement.
Yesterday Axelrod changed his story and claims that he "mispoke" regarding "direct" contacts between Obama and Blagojevich about the Illinois Senate vacancy. Uh-huh. Sure.
This thing with Blagojevich stinks and there is a waft of it around the "Office of the President-elect." Moribund mainstream media types are bending over backwards to exonerate Obama instead of "letting the facts come out." It's Clinton all over again, only Black this time.
We are sure to hear the predictable criticism of the "guilt by association" charges. But when someone consistently associates with the guilty (radical/racist preachers, indicted slumlords, unrepentant domestic terrorists, and corrupt governors), you've got to wonder about his claims of innocence.