Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been arrested on federal corruption charges related to his alleged efforts to sell his appointment of a successor for Barack Obama to the United States Senate. Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, are charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery in the Northern District of Illinois.
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement. “”The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering, 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 prosecutors charge that Blagojevich tried to arrange for a cushy job for himself and/or his wife in exchange for the appointment. They also charge him with unlawful solicitation of campaign funds. According to the complaint, they have tapes that allegedly show him observing “this a fucking valuable thing, you just don’t give it away for nothing.” This makes two governors in Illinois charged with corruption since his predecessor Republican George Ryan is serving time in federal prison and may soon be joined by Blagojevich. Soon, they will have to create a “Governor’s Row” in the federal pen to accommodate the steady flow of governor convicts.
Blagojevich has the lowest ratings ever recorded for an elected politician in nearly three decades of Chicago Tribune polling.
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