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December 16th, 2008
01:00 PM ET

Blagojevich scandal: Illinois moving quick enough?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

We're now entering the second week since Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested by FBI agents who arrived at his home to take him into custody. Released on $4,500 bail, Blagojevich is charged with practicing pay for play politics including trying to sell President-elect Obama's vacant Senate seat. The evidence against him includes numerous federal wiretaps of his home and office.

Everyone from local leaders to the President-elect have called for Blagojevich to resign but he hasn't done so or given any indication he intends to. On the contrary, with an arrogance that is breathtaking, he goes to work each day as though nothing has happened. And pretty much nothing has happened.

An Illinois House panel met today to decide whether or not to impeach the Governor. But they adjourned almost as quickly as they convened and said they'll meet again on Wednesday when the Governor's lawyer can attend.

Even if impeachment goes forward, it could take weeks or months.

Yesterday the Illinois House of Representatives delayed revoking Blagojevich's power to name a replacement for Barack Obama's Senate seat. No explanation - they just didn't do it.

Here’s my question to you: Is Illinois moving quickly enough to deal with the Gov. Blagojevich scandal?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

December 10th, 2008
01:06 PM ET

What is it about Illinois and political corruption?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin, the Democrat from Illinois, called yesterday "a sad day for my state."

A sad day, sure, his state's governor was handcuffed and hauled off to appear before a federal judge. But in Illinois it's not like this has never happened before.

There's a pattern of corruption among governors in the "Prairie State." Counting Governor Blagojevich, four of the last seven governors elected in the state of Illinois have been arrested. Democrat Otto Kerner, who was Illinois's governor from 1961 to 1968, was convicted of taking bribes from the manager of two horse-racing tracks and spent some time in prison. Dan Walker, also a Democrat, who held the job from 1973 to 1977, served time after he left office for receiving improper loans. And Republican George Ryan, who served as governor from 1999 to 2003, was charged with accepting gifts in return for political favors and was sentenced to six years in prison in 2006.

Blagojevich, of course, was charged yesterday with among other things trying to sell President-elect Obama's senate seat.

A proud tradition, isn't it? And don't even start on the history of corruption in the city of Chicago. This is only a three-hour program.

Here's my question to you: When it comes to political corruption, what is it about Illinois?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Chicago Senate Seat
December 9th, 2008
01:44 PM ET

Gov. Blagojevich trying to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff were arrested by Federal authorities this morning on corruption charges. A 76-page complaint spells out numerous allegations against the Governor including trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat.

The evidence seems clear: conversations caught on tape thanks to wiretaps of the Governor's home and campaign office.

The depth of the corruption alleged in the complaint is breathtaking - even for Illinois. It includes Blagojevich allegedly instructing his chief of staff to tell the Tribune Company to fire members of the Chicago Tribune editorial board in exchange for assitance from the Illinois Finance Authority to sell the Cubs and the financing or sale of Wrigley Field.

Illinois political corruption is not new... Governor George Ryan is serving a six-year sentence for fraud and racketeering.

And former Governor Dan Walker was convicted, after leaving office, for bank fraud.

But this could be a new low. Under Illinois law it is up to the governor to name a replacement to fill Barack Obama's senate seat, but whether Blagojevich will still get to do that remains to be seen. The prosecutor in the case, Patrick Fitzgerald, says the governor retains that right despite today's arrest.

Here’s my question to you: Do you believe that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was trying to sell Barack Obama's senate seat?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST