Chicago is the place where the saying “Vote early and vote often” was born. It referred to how many deceased former residents miraculously cast ballots in elections.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that Gov. Rod Blagojevich (pronounced: bluh-GOY-o-vich) was being targeted by prosecutors for possible corruption charges and that might interfere with his replacement of Senator Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate.
The Governor was being investigated for, among other things, trying to secure financial aid to help Tribune Communications sell the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field. Tribune filed for bankruptcy yesterday.
Well, not only was Blagojevich charged in that deal, there are suggestions he was soliciting bribes to name a replacement for Obama in the U.S. Senate. There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing on the part of the President-elect. In fact, the two men are not allies and have often been in conflict
"The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement. "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 indictment alleges Blagojevich wanted certain editorial writers at the “Tribune” fired.
Lest you think this is a partisan sweep, remember that Republican prosecutor Fitzgerald investigated the White House and prosecuted former Chief of Staff Scooter Libby.
Blagojevich, a Democrat, once held the U.S. House seat from Chicago that for many years had been held by Dan Rostenkowski, before Rostenkowski himself was sent to prison for corruption. Illinois has a bigger history of corrupt politicos than most states, with former Republican Gov. George Ryan also spending time in prison.
The big question now is whether Blagojevich will appoint Obama’s successor anyway. Several current Members of Congress, including Jesse Jackson, Jr., want the job. Bill Daley, brother and son of two legendary Chicago Mayors, has also been mentioned.
It’s all just “Chicago politics!”
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