If the Governor Does It, That Means It Is Not Illegal

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, is sitting shiva at Chicago FBI headquarters with his chief of staff, charged with committing all sorts of wonderful crimes since, literally, the minute he took office. He even tried to make some scratch off the replacement for Barack Obama's Senate seat. From the criminal complaint, all emphasis mine:

Throughout the intercepted conversations, Blagojevich also allegedly spent significant time weighing the option of appointing himself to the open Senate seat and expressed a variety of reasons for doing so, including: frustration at being “stuck” as governor; a belief that he will be able to obtain greater resources if he is indicted as a sitting Senator as opposed to a sitting governor; a desire to remake his image in consideration of a possible run for President in 2016; avoiding impeachment by the Illinois legislature; making corporate contacts that would be of value to him after leaving public office; facilitating his wife’s employment as a lobbyist; and generating speaking fees should he decide to leave public office.

In the earliest intercepted conversation about the Senate seat described in the affidavit, Blagojevich told Deputy Governor A on November 3 that if he is not going to get anything of value for the open seat, then he will take it for himself: “if . . . they’re not going to offer anything of any value, then I might just take it.”  Later that day, speaking to Advisor A, Blagojevich said:  “I’m going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain.” He added later that the seat “is a [expletive] valuable thing, you just don’t give it away for nothing.”

Over the next couple of days – Election Day and the day after – Blagojevich was captured discussing with Deputy Governor A whether he could obtain a cabinet position, such as Secretary of Health and Human Services or the Department of Energy or various ambassadorships.  In a conversation with Harris on November 4, Blagojevich analogized his situation to that of a sports agent shopping a potential free agent to the highest bidder.  The day after the election, Harris allegedly suggested to Blagojevich that the President-elect could make him the head of a private foundation.

Between Blagojevich, Ted Stevens, and Wiliam Jefferson, this has been a pretty bad year for criminals in public office.

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  • some dude||

    Best part of the complaint:

    ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that the consultants (Advisor B and another consultant are believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to "suck it up" for two years and do nothing and give this "motherfucker [the President-elect] his senator. Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him."

  • Brian E||

    Just don't spend any time thinking about the possibility that Saint Obama could have known about this - or even engaged in a little pay-to-play himself. No sir, our Chicago politicians are pristine!

  • Jozef||

    Between Blagojevich, Ted Stevens, and Wiliam Jefferson, this has been a pretty bad year for criminals in public office.

    One senator out of 100, one governor out of 50 and one Congressman out of 440. That means that only 1%, 2% and 0.2%, respectively, of criminals got ousted. I consider that to be still pretty good odds for criminals in the government; definitely better than for the average person carrying a joint in his pocket.

  • ||

    Not that I necessarily think it's a bad thing as a matter of policy (in fact I'd love to see it be reciprocated), but what exactly is the Constitutional basis for making bribery of state officials a Federal offense?

  • cunnivore||

    What pisses me off about this is that Blago -- a self-declared Cubs fan -- appears to be responsible for the Tribune Co.'s sale of the team dragging out for so long. Originally they wanted to sell Wrigley Field to the state sports commission, so as to lower the price of the team, and he apparently blocked that because he wanted the Chicago Tribune to fire some writers who had been critical of him.

    Seriously, if half the stuff that's alleged by the feds is true, he makes George Ryan look like a saint.

  • ||

    This is the one area where I actually am happy to see the FBI doing its job. If they would just pull all resources from investigating drugs, gambling, prostitution, etc. and focus it on corrupt politicians, we would all be better off.

  • cunnivore||

    Andrew Craig,

    The Constitution requires the federal govt to guarantee each state a republican form of government. Corruption interferes with that, so they have the authority to prosecute it.

  • cunnivore||

    Jozef, are you saying Ron Paul and Jeff Flake are corrupt?

  • ||

    "Between Blagojevich, Ted Stevens, and Wiliam Jefferson, this has been a pretty bad year for criminals in public office."

    And between Blagojevich and George Ryan, Illinois has an awesome streak of criminal governors going. (And right before Ryan, several members of Jim Edgar's administration were convicted on bribery/political corruption charges, although he wasn't; if only they got him, Illinois would be three for three!)

  • highnumber||

    Brian E,

    If you read the criminal complaint, Obama & Co look pretty good. Their offer to Blago was Michael Corleone's offer to the Nevada senator: nothing.

  • EJM||

    The full Google News story cluster is here.

    P.S.: Weigel's posting again; I wonder what LoneWacko will do now.

  • ||

    Between Blagojevich, Ted Stevens, and Wiliam Jefferson, this has been a pretty bad year for criminals in public office

    Bad year? It's been a great year. More of them than usual got caught. Seeing as they are all corrupt, the more the FBI can get the better.

  • cunnivore||

    I wonder what effect this will have on Dick Durbin's campaign to get Bush to pardon George Ryan, the ex-governor who's currently rotting in prison on corruption charges for selling drivers licenses and such. It definitely makes Ryan look better!

  • cunnivore||

    Sparky, I for one am suspicious of anyone who voluntarily wants to live in Springfield for many years. No one lives there unless they were born there and haven't had an opportunity to leave, or are getting something in return.

  • ||

    Brian E,

    In a conversation with Harris on November 11, the charges state, Blagojevich said he knew that the President-elect wanted Senate Candidate 1 for the open seat but "they're not willing to give me anything except appreciation. [Expletive] them."

    Horse's mouth.

    So it's sort of like what you said, except exactly the opposite.

  • ||

    cunnivore-

    Ah, ok. I was just trying to figure out what power grant this would fall under, and couldn't come up with anything. I didn't even think of the guarantee clause.

  • ||

    At least he's honest about his corruption.

    Stuff like this is why I can't completely oppose the death penalty; I would sincerely like to see them fry this fucker, and put his singed, moldering carcass on display at the Illinois State Capitol, as an inspiration to the rest of the "public servants".

  • cunnivore||

    joe,

    The president of the United States offering "appreciation" for appointing the senator he wants is an entirely different thing from that little old lady offering "appreciation" if you carry her groceries to her car.

    For someone who hears whistle words coming out of Republican mouths pretty much nonstop, you sure have trouble reading between the lines when it's your copartisans doing the whistling.

  • ||

    This is good news for (us) Illinois gun nuts. One less gun-control guy in a position of power. I'm much happier with the position he is in at the moment. So, I bet, is Michael Madigan.

    Party at my house. See ya'll there.

  • robc||

    cunnivore,

    All politicians are corrupt, even the ones we like. Some are just more corrupt than others.

  • ||

    cunnivore,

    joe,

    The president of the United States offering "appreciation" for appointing the senator he wants is an entirely different thing from that little old lady offering "appreciation" if you carry her groceries to her car.


    Governor Blago, who seems to know a bit more about public corruption than you or I, seems to disagree. He first calls his expected payback "nothing," and then sneers as "appreciation" as being its equivalent.

  • robc||

    joe,

    The question is, does appreciation count as a bribe? In other circumstances, I could see the IRS claiming it has monetary value. :)

  • ||

    Well it's about damn time. And it couldn't have happened to a more deserving dickhead.

    I know I shouldn't be, but reading through some of the transcripts of his behavior, I was surprised at how brazen he was in his demands, even by politician standards. Dude didn't even use code or anything when talking about bribes and kickbacks.

    What did he think -- that there weren't gonna be taps? The guy has been under a corruption cloud since his 2nd year of his first term.

    This Fitzgerald fellow is getting more and more dreamy every day.

  • cunnivore||

    I should add that I don't think Obama did anything illegal, but saying he'd appreciate if the governor appointed the person he wanted is very tacky. A true statesman would have said it was none of his business and left it at that.

  • Jozef||

    Jozef, are you saying Ron Paul and Jeff Flake are corrupt?

    I'm saying that every politician is by definition a criminal, unless proved otherwise. (By my definition, I may add; you're free to think otherwise.)

  • ||

    cunniver,

    One of us is, indeed, letting his partisan perceptions cloud his understanding.

    And it's the guy who thinks that Blago thought he was going to get something from Obama for appointing his preferred candidate, despite Blago repeatedly saying exactly the opposite.

  • highnumber||

    Psst, joe!
    Shut yer yap. You're messing with their narrative.

  • ||

    robc | December 9, 2008, 11:59am | #

    joe,

    The question is, does appreciation count as a bribe?


    The indictment is full of examples of how Rod Blagojevich responded to bribes. His response tends not to include the phrase "Fuck him." Rather, that particular term seems to be reserved for those, like the Cubbies, who don't offer him what he wants in exchange for favorable treatment.

  • ||

    But, I do give Blogo points for calling Obama a "motherfucker". Obama did have no business trying to appoint a successor, especially if all he was offering was some appreciation. Appreciation isn't worth shit in today's market.

  • Inkstained Wretch||

    I'd just like to point out that the governor was a major proponent of drug reimportation from Canada and loved to bash pharmaceutical companies for their "greed". Well, he would know.

  • ||

    Meh. I don't even think it's tacky of Obama to offer an opinion on the selection. The President-as-de facto-leader-of-his-party is a fairly entrenched idea that's not going away any time soon.

  • cunnivore||

    joe,

    If I offer a DMV employee $1 to get an inspection sticker for my car without actually having an inspection done, and he replies that that's "nothing", does that mean I didn't try to bribe him?

    Again, I don't think Obama did anything illegal. This is just more garden-variety influence peddling, perfectly legal and perfectly consistent with the old-school politics that Obama was supposed to be changing.

  • robc||

    joe,

    I didnt ask if Blago considered it a bribe. It is clear he had no want of appreciation. He considered it equivalent to nothing. The question is whether an overzealous government hack considers it a bribe or not. You, me and Blago are on the same page. Considering some of the things the IRS might consider "income", all government officials arent.

  • robc||

    joe,

    Also, your lack of sense of humor is showing. I was making an IRS joke, not disagreeing with you.

  • ||

    Let's not ruin this with arguing over whether Obama was corrupt too. This arrest does not have me in the type of spirits that Spitzer being busted, and my personal pipe dream of Schumer being busted, would have me. But it's still pretty great.

  • ||

    The funny thing is, this Rezko/Illinois corruption investigation was supposed to be the proof that Obama was a corrupt Chicago politician.

    Now that the indictment contains nothing whatsoever about him, except the actual target of the investigation repeatedly expressing frustration that Obama won't play ball, I guess we'll be seeing everyone who made that charge throughout the campaign come to their senses and acknowledge their error.

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! Naw, just joshin'!

  • cunnivore||

    One of us is, indeed, letting his partisan perceptions cloud his understanding.

    I haven't voted Republican in eight years, thank you. Go ahead and continue projecting though, it's fun.

  • cunnivore||

    I guess Illinois governors have the same problem with bribery as the New York governors have with adultery (remember current Gov. Patterson's escapades at the Days Inn). I'll take adultery any day faced with that choice.

  • ||

    cunnivore,

    If I offer a DMV employee $1 to get an inspection sticker...you will be in a very different situation than Blago in his efforts to get something out of Obama.

    An accurate example would be, if a DMV employee complains to his crony that you weren't going to give him anything exchange for your sticker, except your appreciation.

    Show us your cards. We've got Blago repeatedly getting angry that Obama wouldn't play ball, but you're insisting that the word "appreciation" actually refers to some meaningful payback, and not the zip zero nada that Blago treats it as, because of...what, exactly?

    This is just more garden-variety influence peddling, perfectly legal and perfectly consistent with the old-school politics that Obama was supposed to be changing. Blago didn't seem to see it that way. Fitzgerald didn't seem to see it that way.

    Just to make it perfectly clear, the only thing even approaching evidence that Obama was involved in influence peddling is Blago expressing anger that wasn't able to sell his influence to Obama.

  • ||

    I haven't voted Republican in eight years, thank you.


    That's nice. It's also irrelevant. People without loyalty to one or the other party can fall victim to confirmation bias, too. In fact, it can make them even more susceptable to it, because they think they can't possibly be biased in their perceptions of party members, so they don't look for it.

  • ||

    Appreciation isn't worth shit in today's market.

    Its a depreciating asset.

  • cunnivore||

    joe,

    Nope. McCain supporters said I was doing "nothing" to oppose Obama, so by your logic I don't oppose Obama.

  • adrian||

    Some are saying candidate #5 who offered 500k for the seat could be jesse jackson jr. this could be an even better story soon.

  • cunnivore||

    Heck, they even said I was effectively voting FOR Obama! That's not just nothing, it's less than nothing!

  • Egosumabbas||

    I have inlaws in Springfield, and they've been clamoring for Blago's head on a platter for at least five years. Every single time I would come over there would be a new story about some truly awful thing Hot Rod had done. It usually fell in one of the following categories:

    1) Nepotism/Patronage
    2) Outright bribery
    3) Unfunded mandates to give Blago some positive press (free rides for senior citizens on CTA)
    3) Unworkable projects to give Blago some national exposure (drug reimportation form Canada)
    4) Total waste taxpayer money for personal gain (constant trips from Chicago to Springfield just for starters)
    5) Total avoidance of Springfield at all costs, making him basically inaccessible. (Governor's mansion unused, Springfield schools not "good enough" for his children)
    6) Exploitation of loopholes and badgering to ramrod his own decrees while ignoring the legislature.

  • Mike M.||

    A Chicago politician, a criminal? Say it isn't so!!

    Next I suppose they'll be telling me something really nuts, like some of that money Obama raised during his campaign wasn't really legal.

  • ||

    Its a depreciating asset.

    Heh. Indeed.

    True story: I'm in the Registry of Deeds, and one of the clerks calls to the Registrar, "The City Clerk's on the phone. She wants to know if you can..." do some paperwork ASAP.

    The Registrar rolls his eyes.

    "He says he'd really appreciate it."

    "That guy doesn't appreciate anything."

    joe: "Hey, he appreciated my house about 75% last year."

    Bah dum bum. Registry of Deeds humor. I'm gonna be rich!

  • sage||

    Just don't spend any time thinking about the possibility that Saint Obama could have known about this - or even engaged in a little pay-to-play himself. No sir, our Chicago politicians are pristine!

    Wouldn't dream of it. I saw on the news this morning that he's already got a 79% approval rating - and he hasn't even taken the Triple-O yet!

  • BDB||

    This is like their second Governor to do a perp walk in 20 years isn't it?

    What a shitty state government. I have problems with politicians here, but for some reason I don't see Tim Kaine doing a perp walk.

  • Don Siegelman||

    They got him just like they did me and Spitzer.

  • BDB||

    Obama is clean, but it seems Jesse Jackson Jr. may be implicated.

  • ||

    Alaska, Illinois...I'm sorry, Rhode Island, you're old news. Second tier.

    You want to get back on top? Two words: Governor Buddy. C'mon, you know you want to.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Between Blagojevich, Ted Stevens, and Wiliam Jefferson, this has been a pretty bad year for criminals in public office.

    Jesus Chrysler, Jefferson and Blagojevich make Stevens look like a high school kid forging a note from his parents to get back into class after Senior Ditch Day.

    Not that getting a free porch on your house should get a pass, it's just that there is such a thing as severity of the crime. It's why we have the death penalty for premeditated murderers and check kiters get probation.

  • ||

    You know what's a good way to tell corruption accusations that are legitimate, vs. those that are just partisan mudslinging?

    People working in good faith work very hard to distinguish between corrupt and honest acts, and corrupt and honest individuals.

    People who aren't work to blur those distinctions, "Don Seigelman."

  • ||

    Not that getting a free porch on your house should get a pass...

    How about an entire second story, with an estimated value of $200,000?

  • Abdul||

    This story raises a lot of questions. First, where will prospective buyers go to put in a bid on the soon to be vacant Illinois governor's office?

  • BDB||

    "Abdul | December 9, 2008, 12:51pm | #
    This story raises a lot of questions. First, where will prospective buyers go to put in a bid on the soon to be vacant Illinois governor's office?"

    I have a hard time believing the IL Lt. Gov. is innocent in this.

  • Don Siegelman||

    "Partisan mudslinging" sent me to prison?
    I thought BushCo set me up. Why hath thou forsaken me joe?

  • A Heartbeat Away||

    Obama is clean,

    Not to mention articulate!

  • cunnivore||

    I'm wondering what the going rate for Joe Biden's seat is. Delaware's not exactly Illinois, so I'm guessing in the neighborhood of a six pack and a grilled cheese sandwich.

  • Egosumabbas||

    "First, where will prospective buyers go to put in a bid on the soon to be vacant Illinois governor's office?"

    IT'S BEEN EMPTY THE WHOLE ENTIRE TIME!!!!

    He's never lived in the Governor's Mansion, he commuted from his Ravenswood mansion to Springfield on the public dime.

  • BDB||

    "cunnivore | December 9, 2008, 1:00pm | #
    I'm wondering what the going rate for Joe Biden's seat is."

    A six pack of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA and a two large pizzas from Grotto.

  • Russ 2000||

    Blagojevich said he knew that the President-elect wanted Senate Candidate 1 for the open seat but "they're not willing to give me anything except appreciation. [Expletive] them."

    IMO, Blago is correct in not merely doing the president-elect's bidding.

    He should be selecting someone who will look out for the state of Illinois and not merely look out for the president-elect. Instead, Blago wants someone who will look out for Blago. Wotta asshole.

  • ||

    Fortunately, like all residents of the Motor City, political corruption is completely unfamiliar to me.*

    What's it like?

    * Truth is, I really can't remember a corrupt Michigan governor in my lifetime. I do remember an honest mayor of Detroit, Dennis Archer, which puts us one ahead of Chicago and any incorporated burg in Jersey.

  • Egosumabbas||

    I don't think you guys fully appreciate Blagojavich's epic level of douchiness. The "license for bribe" is a quaint memory of a bygone era where a 20 dollar bill got you out of the DMV a bit faster. I almost don't mind that kind of corruption, if you don't believe in driver's licenses anyway. Think of it as a user fee. No, this was a colossal sucking dry of the public treasury. A bribe wasn't about greasing the wheels, it was about how quickly you could rob taxpayers of their wealth. The bigger the bribe, the bigger the public teet.

  • VM||

    tee hee

  • ||

    Later that day, speaking to Advisor A, Blagojevich said: "I'm going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain." He added later that the seat "is a [expletive] valuable thing, you just don't give it away for nothing."
    Hard for me to see this as anything but old fashioned logrolling (logrolling - legislators buying and selling their votes - or appointments - with your money for the purpose of re-election or election to higher office). By that standard, all representatives are guilty. But I do think its a bad thing, because it makes for ever expanding expenditures to finance the logrolling.

  • ||

    A six pack of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA and a two large pizzas from Grotto.

    Throw in a couple pounds of taffy and you got yerself a deal.

  • Egosumabbas||

    Logrolling? More like a motherf---ing log avalanche.

  • highnumber||

    I have a hard time believing the IL Lt. Gov. is innocent in this.

    Blago would never have let Pat Quinn anywhere near anything he valued.

  • ||

    Illinois gevernors of note:

    Dwight Herbert Green 1941 to 1949. Allegedly allowed mobster Al Capone to run free.

    William Grant Stratton 1953 to 1961. Indicted for tax evasion, acquitted.

    Daniel Walker 1973 to 1977. Convicted of "improprieties" during the Savings and Loan scandal in 1987 and served two years in federal prison.

    George Ryan 1999 to 2003. Indicted on 18 counts of federal racketeering charges in 2003 and convicted on all 18 counts.

    Blogo 2002 - 2008. Convicted for having a name no non-resident can pronounce and no resident can spell. I might have taken some liberties with the facts on this one.

    (true)Parts of this taken from:
    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/357871/illinois_governors_office_no_stranger.html?cat=75

  • BDB||

    Is Quinn corrupt too, High #?

  • ||

    Don Siegelman | December 9, 2008, 12:52pm | #

    "Partisan mudslinging" sent me to prison?

    No, you're purposely blurring actually corrupt - like Blago and Jefferson - with an honest political who was sent to prison in a corrupt prosecution.

    I didn't think it was that complicated, but like I said, some people purposely work to not understand things.

  • Adam West||

    Throw in a couple pounds of taffy and you got yerself a deal.



    I love this job more than I love taffy ... and I'm a man who enjoys his taffy.

  • Karl Rove||

    joe doesn't extend his Moonbat conspiracy theories to poor Rod Blagojevich. I got him just like I did Spitzer and Siegelman!

  • ||

    Fresno Dan,

    At various times, in exchange for the Senate appointment, Blagojevich discussed obtaining:
    < a substantial salary for himself at a either a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions;
    < placing 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; and
    < a cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself.
    Just last week, on December 4, Blagojevich allegedly told an advisor that he might "get some (money) up front, maybe" from Senate Candidate 5, if he named Senate Candidate 5 to the Senate seat, to insure that Senate Candidate 5 kept a promise about raising money for Blagojevich if he ran for re-election. In a recorded conversation on October 31, Blagojevich claimed he was approached by an associate of Senate Candidate 5 as follows: "We were approached 'pay to play.' That, you know, he'd raise 500 grand. An emissary came. Then the other guy would raise a million, if I made him (Senate Candidate 5) a Senator."


    This isn't "vote for my bill." This is about enriching himself.

  • cunnivore||

    If it weren't for Chicago's presence within its borders, I don't think Illinois government would be so corrupt.

    Of course, if it weren't for Chicago, Illinois would be Indiana, so it's a fair price to pay.

  • this guy||

    Cunivore - Blago doesn't live in Springfield, he lives in Ravenswood and commutes to Springfield in a private plane.

  • ||

    Karl Rove | December 9, 2008, 1:48pm | #

    joe doesn't extend his Moonbat conspiracy theories...


    My conspiracy theory? An appeals court found that there was sufficient merit to Siegelman's claim that his prosecution was corrupt to not only allow his case to go forward, but to order his immediate release from prison,

    "Karl."

    I got him just like I did Spitzer and Siegelman!

    Who said anything about Spitzer?

    You know, a wise man (an incredibly handsome wise man, who's hung like a horse) once wrote:

    People working in good faith work very hard to distinguish between corrupt and honest acts, and corrupt and honest individuals.

    People who aren't work to blur those distinctions

  • ||

    You know what's a good way to tell corruption accusations that are legitimate, vs. those that are just partisan mudslinging?

    People working in good faith work very hard to distinguish between corrupt and honest acts, and corrupt and honest individuals.



    joe, I would think that being willing to prosecute people from both parties would be one way to tell. Of course, the prosecutors in the Don Siegelman case did so as well, having prosecuted corrupt Republicans in Alabama as well. You have to believe that when they indicted and convicted Republican Governor Guy Hunt, that was okay, but that the same prosecutors can't be trusted about Gov. Siegelman. The lead US Attorney in the case, Louis Franklin, has served in Democratic administrations in Alabama as well as Republican. He's not a political appointee. The other lead attorney, Stephen P. Feaga, led the prosecution of Gov. Guy Hunt (R).

    Another way to tell is by looking at the local media, instead of outraged national partisans trying to defend "their side" without being on the ground. Again, in the Don Siegelman case the local papers (not Republican-supporting, as most AL papers, e.g., endorsed Obama) felt that Siegelman was corrupt; his defenders are mostly not Alabama-based and don't want to learn the facts either.

  • ||

    I'm wondering what the going rate for Joe Biden's seat is. Delaware's not exactly Illinois, so I'm guessing in the neighborhood of a six pack and a grilled cheese sandwich.



    They're appointing Biden's former chief of staff to keep the seat warm until Biden's son gets back from Iraq, at which point he'll yield the seat for the eldest son to inherit. Or at least that's the common speculation in Delaware. Beau Biden has ruled out accepting an appointment for now, at least until his tour of duty is over.

  • ||

    Here you go, "Karl."

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/27/house.siegelman/

    Think Blago is going to be released POST-CONVICTION by a federal judge? I guess he's a moonbat, too.

    John Thacker,

    Think Guy Hunt is going to be released from prison by a federal judge?

    ...but that the same prosecutors can't be trusted about Gov. Siegelman. Trust, but verify. You know, by looking at the facts of the case. Maybe we can set up a third branch of government that does that, maybe get them some nice black robes.

  • ||

    Do you have any idea how high the burden of proof is to get a convicted felon released from prison before his appeal is even heard, based on the strength of his claim?

  • punk7||

    ok, lets cut through the monumental bs here and get it right ... Blago is a corrupt bitch pol. He's been caught red-handed. And for once, I agree with joe ... Obama cannot be implicated in any of this nonsense. In fact, it seems to me as if he (or his team) rather intelligently distanced themselves from any impropriety here.

  • ||

    And for once, I agree with joe

    Me, too.

    And I think the prosecutor would have loved to let Blago continue to run, roping in more and more people on the bugs and wires, but realized that Blago might actually appoint a US Senator, and wasn't willing to pay that price just to snag some more scalps.

    Please, please, Santa Claus, bring me an indictment of JJ Jr. for Christmas.

  • ||

    Awwwwwwwww. I'm tearing up here. It's just like a holiday special:

    RC Dean learns the True Meaning of Fitzmas.

    God bless us, every one!

  • ||

    Part of why I know is that far too many of the articles about Siegelman are written by people not in or from Alabama, and include comments like "Republican-dominated" Alabama. That would be the state that still has a 3:2 edge in the state House and 2:1 in the Senate for Democrats, and elects its Lieutenant Governor separately and has only elected one Republican to that post. (Oddly enough, that was when Siegelman was governor.) Yes, Alabama absolutely votes Republican in presidential elections, but the state Democratic Party is quite strong. It's not a one-party Republican state at the state level, that's for sure.

    They may not have enough to make a solid enough case for conviction, which certainly happens. The appeals process and the trial are certainly appropriate; I certainly wasn't arguing for it not to go before judges. But certainly many people have made up their minds that the prosecution was corrupt without even investigating the details, just because they're partisans.

    Sen. Stevens' trial was nearly derailed due to prosecutor misbehavior as well. I don't think that makes him honest.

  • Egosumabbas||

    "Obama cannot be implicated in any of this nonsense."

    Perhaps not in relation to Hot Rod, but probably due to his friend Rezko. That may take a very long time though.

  • ||

    Can somebody explain to me what Obama is alleged to have done in regards to Rezko that is improper?

    The closest thing to a cogent accucation I've seen is that he didn't pay enough for an unbuildable strip of land he bought from him, and that was based on thinking that the per-square-foot value of an unbuildable piece of land is the same as a per-square-value of a buildable lot.

  • Egosumabbas||

  • Don Siegelman||

    Can somebody explain to me what Obama is alleged to have done in regards to Rezko that is improper?


    How 'bout "a pay-for-play scheme in which he exchanged official acts and influence for cash, property, and services"

    Worked on me.

  • Egosumabbas||

    Also, keep in mind, joe, that I posted a link form wikipedia that attempts strict neutrality, particularly with living persons. I'm sure there are a number of muckraking blogs that only scratch the surface of a number of their past seedy dealings.

  • ||

    Ego,

    I read the whole article. There is not a single accusation of an improper act by Obama in any of it.

    I ge the "go back a long way" part. They knew each other. They had some dealings together. I'm asking, what improper acts was Obama alleged to have performed?

    "Don Seigelmen,"

    How 'bout "a pay-for-play scheme in which he exchanged official acts and influence for cash, property, and services"

    That is a description of a type of crime. I'm asking, what actual acts is Barack Obama alleged to have performed that would make him guilty of that crime?

  • ||

    Rezko raised money for Obama - not an improper act by Obama.

    The Obama's bought a strip of land from the Rezkos. Not an improper act.

    I'm looking for "Obama ordered the police to stop investigating Rezko," or "Obama wrote a earmark into a bill that benefited Rezko but didn't actually accomplish a public purpose," or "Obama told one of Rezko's competitors he'd have him arrested if he bid a project Rezko wanted" or "Obama had Rezko replace his real birth certificate with a forgery."

    I've seen all sorts of accusations of favors Governor Blago did for Tony Rezko. All I've seen about Obama are statements that Rezko did things for him - raised money, donated to his campaign, sold him a strip of land.

    C'mon, there were all sorts of wacky accusations thrown around during this campaign. What is Obama alleged to have done on Rezko's behalf, that was wrong for him to do?

  • Egosumabbas||

    "I'm asking, what improper acts was Obama alleged to have performed?"

    Nice to see that partisanship has blinded you to the truth joe. NEWSFLASH: Obama is a corrupt politician! Rezko gave Obama lots of "donations" in exchange for some sweet government contracts. Let me break that down more simply for you: Rezko gave Obama money, so that Obama could steal money from me to give it to Rezko. Oh and there were some shady real-estate deals that they made together. EARTH TO JOE! DEMOCRATS ARE JUST AS CORRUPT AS REPUBLICANS!

  • ||

    Rezko gave Obama lots of "donations" in exchange for some sweet government contracts.

    OK, now we're getting somewhere. All you have to do to actually answer my question is find something Obama did that 1) was improper, or alleged to be improper and 2) benefitted Tony Rezko.

    Because so far, all you've got are these vague statements amounting to "He did bad stuff," without being able to name any bad stuff he did.

    Here, let me break it down for you:

    joe: What did Obama do wrong?

    Ego: He's a murderer?

    joe: OK, who is supposed to have murdered?

    Ego: He's a murderer, joe! He killed people!

    joe: OK, what people? When? What murders did he commit?

    Ego: Earth to joe, Barack Obama is corrupt! God, you're so partisan! DEMOCRATS blah blah blah...

    Let me make this real easy: Charles Manson ordered his followers to kill a bunch of people in Sharon Tate's house, and then ordered his followers to kill a bunch of people at the LaBianca home.

    Now, someone, anyone, replace that last part with something similar - a description of a specific act that Barack Obama performed.

    I'm not even asking you to prove that he performed it, and that it was improper. I'm saying, can someone please tell me what acts Barack Obama is supposed to have performed?

    Did he kidnap the Lindburgh baby? Take the Sunday Tribune from the front porch at 125 Jefferson Street in August 1997?

  • ||

    Rezko gave Obama lots of "donations" in exchange for some sweet government contracts. OK, what government contracts? What did Barack Obama do to get Rezko those government contracts?

    Oh and there were some shady real-estate deals that they made together. OK, what shady real estate deals? Can you name any?

    You seem to have very, very strong feelings that acts fitting these descriptions took place. It would be odd to have such strong feelings without having, at a minimum, an understanding of some action he actually took.

    Unless you're just assuming he must have committed acts fitting those descriptions, without anly actual knowledge of such acts, because something something something about Democrats and politicians.

  • ||

    I know there are Obama conspiracy people who read these threads. I've seen no end of people invoke the name "Rezko" during the campaign.

    I swear, I'm not even going to argue with you about whether the accusations are valid. I just want to know if anyone can tell me what they are.

  • Egosumabbas||

    Jesus Christ joe, did you read my wikipedia link that basically said all the improper dealings they had together in great detail?

    You're the one going ZOMG PROVE IT MR CONSPIRACY MAN after I had already posted a link.

    I believe they call this a "prebuttal".

    Here it is again in case you missed it.

  • Egosumabbas||

    Also joe, google is your friend (it was also quite easy to find on wikipedia). But I can understand why partisan loyalty has prevented you from doing your own due diligence.

  • ||

    Jesus Christ joe, did you read my wikipedia link that basically said all the improper dealings they had together in great detail?

    I read the whole thing. There are no statements about any acts Obama committed. Lots of statements about what Rezko did - donated money to Obama's campaign - but no "Obama did X" statements.

    I already knew they "had ties," in the form of the land sale, Rezko's donations, and the old case where Obama did legal work for a church that was in a partnership with Rezko, but people are making accusations that Obama did things that were improper. The wikipedia link doesn't describe anything Obama did.

    Since you have been unable to actually write a declarative statement on your own, but seem convinced that there is a charge in there, let me make it even easier for you. Here is the section of the wikipedia article you linked to.

    to Barack Obama
    In 1990, after Barack Obama was elected president of the Harvard Law Review, Rezmar Corp. offered him a job, which Obama turned down. Obama chose instead to accept a job with law firm Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland,[30] which primarily worked civil rights cases, but also represented Rezmar and helped the company get more than $43 million in government funding and whose former senior partner, Allison S. Davis, later went into business with Rezko and, in 2003, was appointed to Illinois State Board of Investment by Governor Blagojevich at Rezko's request.[7][31] On July 31, 1995 the first ever political contributions to Obama were $300 from a lawyer, a $5,000 loan from a car dealer, and $2,000 from two food companies owned by Rezko.[32] Starting in 2003, Rezko was one of the people on Obama's U.S. Senate campaign finance committee, which raised more than $14 million.[7] Rezko threw an early fundraiser for Obama, which Chicago Tribune reporter David Mendelland claims was instrumental in providing Obama with seed money for his U.S. Senate race.[1] Obama has since identified over $250,000 in campaign contributions to various Obama campaigns as coming from Rezko or close associates, and has claimed to have donated almost two thirds of that amount to unspecified nonprofit groups.[33][34]

    Also, in 2005 Obama purchased a new home in the Kenwood District of Chicago for $1.65 million (which was $300,000 below the asking price but represented the highest offer on the property) on the same day that Rezko's wife, Rita Rezko, purchased the adjoining empty lot from the same sellers for the full asking price.[35] Obama acknowledged bringing his interest in the property to Rezko's attention,[36] but denied any coordination of offers. According to Obama, while the properties had originally been a single property, the previous owners decided to sell the land as two separate lots, but made it a condition of the sales that they be closed on the same date. Obama also stated that the properties had been on the market for months, that his offer was the best of two bids, and that Ms. Rezko's bid was matched by another offer, also of $625,000, so that she could not have purchased the property for less.[37] Obama's description of the purchase was later confirmed by the previous owner of the house.[38]

    After it had been reported in 2006 that Rezko was under federal investigation for influence-peddling, Obama purchased a 10 foot (3.0 m) wide strip of Ms. Rezko's property for $104,500, $60,000 above the assessed value.[35][7] According to Chicago Sun-Times columnist, Mark Brown, "Rezko definitely did Obama a favor by selling him the 10-foot strip of land, making his own parcel less attractive for development."[39] Obama acknowledges that the exchange may have created the appearance of impropriety, and stated "I consider this a mistake on my part and I regret it."[37]

    On December 28, 2006, Ms. Rezko sold the property to a company owned by her husband's former business attorney. That sale of $575,000, combined with the earlier $104,500 sale to the Obamas, amounted to a net profit of $54,500 over her original purchase, less $14,000 for a fence along the property line and other expenses.[40][41] In October 2007, the new owners put the still vacant land up for sale again, this time for $1.5 million.[42]

    In June 2007, the Sun-Times published a story about letters Obama had written in 1997 to city and state officials in support of a low-income senior citizen development project headed by Rezko and partner Allison Davis. The project received more than $14 million in taxpayer funds, including $885,000 in development fees for Rezko and Davis. Of Obama's letters in support of the Cottage View Terrace apartments development, Obama spokesman Bill Burton said, "This wasn't done as a favor for anyone, it was done in the interests of the people in the community who have benefited from the project. I don't know that anyone specifically asked him to write this letter nine years ago. There was a consensus in the community about the positive impact the project would make and Obama supported it because it was going to help people in his district." Rezko's attorney responded that "Mr. Rezko never spoke with, nor sought a letter from, Senator Obama in connection with that project.[43]

    In the South Carolina Democratic Party presidential debate on January 21, 2008, Senator Hillary Clinton said that Obama had represented Rezko, who she referred to as a slum landlord.[44] Obama responded that he had never represented Rezko and had done only about five hours work, indirectly, for Rezko's firm.[citation needed] Within days of the debate, a photo of Rezko posing with Bill and Hillary Clinton surfaced. When asked about the photo Hillary Clinton commented "I probably have taken hundreds of thousands of pictures. I wouldn't know him if he walked in the door."[45]

    Now, all you have to do with cut and paste the part that explains something Obama did that is, allegedly, wrong.

  • Fitzmas Comes Early||

    It's beginning to look a lot like Fitzmas!

    From the number of his political pals headed to the pen, the Fresh Prince of Bill Ayers may soon regret those stocking stuffers he got from Tony Rezko.

    Personally, I'm hoping they arrest him during right during the Inauguration.

    "Mr. Obama, do you solemnly swear to... uh, I've just been handed a new script... let's see, let me start again... Mr. Obama, you have the right to remain silent..."

  • ||

    You're the one going ZOMG PROVE IT MR CONSPIRACY MAN after I had already posted a link.

    I don't even want you to prove anything to me. I want you to tell me what improper act he is alleged to have committed, and promised I won't argue with you about whether it was proper.

    Is that so hard?

    Here, it would look something like this:

    Barack Obama fed John Schmidt's baby to a dingo during a trip to Austrialia in 2004.

    Barack Obama leaned on a police commissioner to call off an investigation of Tony Rezko.

    Barack Obama personally flew and airplane into Mena Airport full of cocaine at the behest of Tony Rezko.

    C'mon, you can do it. Getting all pissy because you can't answer my question doesn't cut it.

  • joe is retarded ||

    For fuck's sake he can't even read his own posts.

    "There are no statements about any acts Obama committed."

    "In June 2007, the Sun-Times published a story about letters Obama had written in 1997 to city and state officials in support of a low-income senior citizen development project headed by Rezko and partner Allison Davis. The project received more than $14 million in taxpayer funds, including $885,000 in development fees for Rezko and Davis."

    That's called "influence-peddling" and it appears Obama received, in exchange, a bribe through the Rezko property deal.

  • Tip Of The Iceberg||

    Just wait until Fitz starts digging!

  • ||

    There you go! Somebody actually found something!

    Really, was that so hard?

    "Barack Obama wrote a letter to get a grant for a project Rezko was involved in."

    I'm going to keep my word, and not argue about the validity of the accusation that the letter was improper, or that there was any bribe in the land deal.

    These charges are about Barack Obama writing a letter for a public housing upgrade project. Thank you.

  • Egosumabbas||

    From the text you copy and pasted from the link I originally showed you:

    "...represented Rezmar and helped the company get more than $43 million in government funding ..."

    "...Obama has since identified over $250,000 in campaign contributions to various Obama campaigns as coming from Rezko or close associates..."

    Joe. You find NOTHING improper in this? Nothing at all? Or are you lying when you say you hate corporatism?

  • ||

    So, is that it? Is that right, that all of these accusation of "bribery" and "influence" peddling" are about a letter Barack Obama wrong in favor of a certain public-housing-improvement project?

  • ||

    "...represented Rezmar and helped the company get more than $43 million in government funding ..."

    "...Obama has since identified over $250,000 in campaign contributions to various Obama campaigns as coming from Rezko or close associates..."

    Neither of those are accusations of an improper act. Neither "helped so and so get a grant" nor "recieve campaign contributions" are accusations of an improper act being committed.

    Joe. You find NOTHING improper in this? Nothing at all?

    My question was about criminal acts, that the Rezko case was supposed to demonstrate. I think it's "improper" in a general sense that political campaigns are funded the way they are, with people who stand to gain materially providing funding for those political figures and parties that they think will help them.

    But no, receiving campaign donations like that is not, as I'm always told by Reason magazine on campaign finance threads, the same thing as bribery, and is not considered bribery without an explicit quid pro quo. There is not statement of a quid pro quo in that article.

    Now, to actually answer the question, what improper act did Obama perform, that Patrick Fitzgerald might indict him for? Writing the letter for the public housing deal - is that what you're accusing him of, that there was a quid pro quo, for him to write that letter in exchange for X dollars in campaign donations?

  • Egosumabbas||

    @joe

    Now you're splitting hairs between "legally" improper and "morally" improper. I'm quite confident that since we've established moral impropriety, legal impropriety will probably become evident eventually, as the two are usually coincidental. I'm not holding my breath in anticipation though.

    As an aside, I'm against campaign reform on constitutional grounds (freedom of speech). All things being equal, if other laws were also constitutional, you'd find very little bribery in the form campaign donations. It's rational and expected for special interest groups to throw money at politicians in expectation that congress will broadly interpret the commerce clause. Campaign finance reform is simply a bandaid on a gushing chest wound which will have unintended consequences--such as not being able to express political opinions out of fear of being fined.

  • Ah, Clem||

    The best part of this is that you know Blow-Dry Rod will start singing like a canary when it comes time for a plea-bargain. And in Illinois, god only knows what's going to come out of that. He knows where all the bodies are buried.

    Popcorn, anyone?

  • LGF Fan||

    I haven't been this excited since lipstick on a pig!

  • joe really is this stupid||

    "There you go! Somebody actually found something! Really, was that so hard?"

    Apparenrly it was too hard to read your own post. If you weren't a short-bus political hack desperately fellating Obama you might have brushed aside his sainted balls and seen your own words behind them.

    "these accusation of "bribery" and "influence" peddling" are about a letter Barack Obama wrong in favor of a certain public-housing-improvement project?"

    As a Democrat, you will no doubt be as shocked as Blago (whom Obama served as a top adviser to in 2002) to learn you can't pay a politician a bribe to write letters supporting a taxpayer-funded project you materially benefit from. See, the taxpayers have this crazy notion that it's THEIR money being spent.

    That's the first illegal act we know about. The investigation has only just begun. As ABC puts it...

    Questions Arise About the Obama/Blagojevich Relationship

  • VM||

    come to illinois.

    you'll see that your black and white, "they're connected" is, to quote our mayor (who doesn't have anything to do with blago, but they're connected), "that's silly. silly. it's silly".

    instead, take your zeal for prosecution, and look at the outgoing administration.

  • ||

    Now you're splitting hairs between "legally" improper and "morally" improper
    '
    Actually, no, I was merely asking what the accusations were. So what you're saying is that there aren't even any accusation of legal impropriety, and that all of the charges are about "moral" impropriety, and not actual crimes?

    OK, thanks! See, given the vagueness with which the Rezko-related charges have always been made, I didn't realize that. Now I do.

    I'm quite confident that since we've established moral impropriety Actually, the only thing you've established is that he wrote a letter. Whether there was anything improper about it, you haven't provided any evidence for.

    As a Democrat, you will no doubt be as shocked as Blago (whom Obama served as a top adviser to in 2002) to learn you can't pay a politician a bribe to write letters supporting a taxpayer-funded project you materially benefit from. As a literate human being, I am aware that nobody has provided even the slightest shred of evidence of a bribe being paid.

    VM, quite right. Unable to find any actual evidence of wrongdoing on Obama's behalf, we're going to be treated to months of vague hand-waving phrases like "they're connected" and "was in bed with" and "played ball" and lots of other groovy Sopranos-sounding terms that don't actually mean anything.

  • ||

    I'm quite confident that since we've established moral impropriety, legal impropriety will probably become evident eventually, as the two are usually coincidental. I'm not holding my breath in anticipation though.

    So, you think evidence of illegality will emerge, but you don't think it will?

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