Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich arrested for political corruption crime spree

Governor Blagojevich of Illinois was arrested on Tuesday on charges of political corruption. Blagojevich and John Harris, the governor's chief of staff, were charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery.

The FBI used wire taps to record Blagojevich's conversations. A transcript is included in the criminal complaint listed below.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald alleged that the governor wanted "tangible and up front" cash in return for appointing Obama's successor.

Fitzgerald accused Blagojevich of "appalling conduct" and said the governor "has taken us to a truly new low".

"He wasn't against a corrupt deal, he was against being stiffed in a corrupt deal," Fitzgerald added.

Charges listed in U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's statement:

CNN reports that Blagojevich is alleged to have discussed obtaining:

a substantial salary for himself at either a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions;

a spot for his wife on paid corporate boards, where he speculated she might garner as much as $150,000 a year;

promises of campaign funds -- including cash up front;

a Cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself.

Don't Miss (Courtesy of CNN and WLS TV)
WLS video: Gov. Blagojevich taken into custody
Transcript of Criminal Complaint Read the criminal complaint (PDF)

Background information on two other Illinois Governors arrested for corruption:

According to a AP Report: two former Illinois governors have gone to prison in the past 35 years on political corruption charges:

Otto Kerner, a Democrat who was governor from 1961 to 1968, served less than a year of a three-year sentence after his 1973 conviction on bribery, tax evasion and other counts. He was convicted of arranging favorable horse racing dates as governor in return for getting horse racing association stock at reduced prices. Kerner died in 1976.

George Ryan, a Republican who was governor from 1999 to 2003, was convicted of corruption in 2006 for steering state contracts and leases to political insiders while he was Illinois secretary of state and then governor. He is serving a 6 1/2-year prison term. In addition, William Stratton, governor from 1953-1961, was later indicted but then acquitted on charges of income tax evasion.

MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28139155/?GT1=43001

CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/12/09/illinois.govenor/index.html
ABC Political Punch Blogs: http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/12/questions-arise.html

A Picture of political corruption from an average citizen's perspective: Apeblog - http://letsgoape.com/blog/2007/10/09/a-picture-of-political-corruption/

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