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December 9, 2008

What's the guideline calculation for a Governor selling a Senate seat?

I often joke that politicians and criminals will always make sure I have a job and that business gets good when politicians are the criminals.  If that joke has a basis in reality, business just got real good in light of this stunning news out of Illinois:

Federal agents arrested Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and a senior aide on corruption charges, accusing the Democratic governor of trying to sell the Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.  Mr. Blagojevich, 51 years old, and chief of staff John Harris, 46, are each charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery.

According to a 76-page two-count indictment unsealed by prosecutors in Chicago on Tuesday, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents allegedly heard the governor on wiretaps attempting to trade or sell the Senate seat being vacated by Mr. Obama when he becomes president next month.

In exchange for the Illinois seat, federal agents say Mr. Blagojevich is heard seeking a number of arrangements, including a salary for himself at an organization affiliated with labor unions, a cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself, cash or campaign funds, and placing his wife Patti on paid corporate boards.

During a Dec. 4 wiretapped conversation, Mr. Blagojevich allegedly told an adviser he would "get some [money] upfront, maybe" from one candidate for the Senate seat.

Wowsa!  The lengthy FBI affidavit outlining the charges against Governor Blagojevich is available at this link.  I suppose law students thinking about career paths should be encouraged to learn that the market for representing corrupt politicians is unlikely to dry up anytime soon.

Who would have thought that former Governor George Ryan could start claiming in his clemency arguments that was the least corrupt Illinois chief executive in recent memory?

December 9, 2008 at 10:58 AM | Permalink


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Now who needs a Pardon?

Posted by: BS | Dec 9, 2008 11:02:33 AM

You've gotta give him this: Even contemplating such an act requires Big Brass Balls.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Dec 9, 2008 12:01:35 PM

Quite a few people here in Illinois are saying they are not at all surprised by all of this. I guess I am just not in tune. But it reminds me of a quip that a public administration professor made in my undergraduate days. "If we keep arresting high ranking administration officials we will attain true prison reform. Indeed, it is really the only way. We just need a higher class of criminals!"

Posted by: P.S. Ruckman, Jr. | Dec 9, 2008 12:07:24 PM

He seemed so likable during the 7th Inning Stretch this past season. Go Cubs!

Posted by: Stanley Feldman | Dec 9, 2008 12:35:03 PM

And don't forget the stupidity enhancement that surely applies because he already knew he was being investigated for other corruption allegations. I forget where in the guidelines it is, but I know its there.

Posted by: A. Nony. Mous | Dec 9, 2008 12:46:04 PM

Let's deal with some more important issues... Monday's Press Conference.

"Should the state members of the Electoral College cast their votes for Mr. Obama in the face of such overwhelming evidence, and without verification of Mr. Obama's eligibility, they would be committing treason to the Constitution," said Schulz. ug

Posted by: ug | Dec 9, 2008 8:34:43 PM

This makes corporate fraud cases look like small potatoes. Jeff Skilling should be asked to do 100,000 jumping jacks then set free.

Posted by: | Dec 10, 2008 3:46:48 PM

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