Not even in office yet and already attached to a scandal…
Posted by necessarygrace on December 9, 2008
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff were arrested in Chicago Tuesday on two counts each of corruption charges relating to trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat.
“He has been arrested in the middle of what we can only describe as a political corruption crime spree,” Fitzgerald said in a news conference to announce the charges against the governor and his chief of staff. “This is a sad day for government. It’s a very sad day for Illinois government. Governor Blagojevich has taken us to a truly new low.”
The arrest is part of a three-year probe into the governor’s administration. The criminal complaint by the FBI says each man was arrested on two charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery.
Fitzgerald said federal authorities obtained permission to wiretap the governor secretly a month and a half ago, and the recordings yielded a variety of details on Blagojevich’s alleged wheeling and dealing.
He said the 76-page FBI affidavit alleges that Blagojevich was taped conspiring to sell or trade Obama’s vacated U.S. Senate seat for financial and other personal benefits for himself and his wife, including an annual salary of $250,000-$300,000 at a nonprofit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions.
The prosecutor alleged that Blagojevich is heard on tape demanding a corporate board seat for his wife worth as much as $150,000 a year; promises of campaign funds, including cash up front; and the post of secretary of health and human services or an ambassadorship for himself in the Obama administration.
Obama quickly distanced himself from the whole affair earlier today:
“I had no contact with the governor or his office and I was not aware of what was happening,” Obama said in Chicago
However, just two weeks ago, President-Elect Obama’s top advisor, David Axelrod said this:
So the question is… who’s telling the truth, Mr. Axelrod, or Mr. President-Elect?
[update: for more on the Obama/Blagojevich Relationship see Jake Tapper’s blog, Political Punch over at ABC.com . Is it too much to hope that the rest of the “mainstream” press will take this scandal seriously and make an effort to truly investigate, rather than spend all their time propping the new president up?]
[update 12/10: Looks like the Ministry of Truth (no doubt soon to be a cabnet level post in the new administration) has struck again… the video has been taken off of Youtube. However for the time being you can still view it on Fox News Chicago’s website. Countdown to Obama’s Truth Squad forcing them to pull the video in 3…2… For those who miss the chance to view it, here’s the gist, courtesy of Tapper’s Political Punch:
While insisting that the President-elect had not expressed a favorite to replace him, and his inclination was to avoid being a “kingmaker,” Axelrod said, “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.”
Of course now Axelrod and others close to Obama are saying that he “misspoke” and he takes it all back. Question: Would the press ever accept that kind of excuse from Bush? And since we know the answer to that question, Question 2: When is the press going to wake up and DO ITS JOB and actually INVESTIGATE this matter themselves?