* The US Attorney’s 11 o’clock press confernce will be carried live on CBS 2. Watch it here…
CLICK HERE FOR LIVE COVERAGE AT 11 O’CLOCK
* 10:11 AM - Not unexpected…
Statement from Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna:
“For the good of the state, and in the interest of the taxpayers, the Illinois Republican Party calls on Governor Blagojevich to resign his office effective immediately.
“If Governor Blagojevich does not resign his position, we urge the General Assembly to move swiftly with impeachment proceedings.
“Furthermore, Governor Blagojevich should not, under this cloud of extremely serious allegations, appoint a United States Senator.
“While there is a presumption of innocence, in these troubling economic times, the people’s work should be placed ahead of Governor Blagojevich’s legal troubles.”
* 10:15 AM - As noted below, Blagojevich allegedly tried to use a Wrigely Field deal to entice Tribune Co. owner Sam Zell to fire members of the editorial board. This is what Gov. Blagojevich told Tribune reporters yesterday afternoon…
“I think Sam Zell, as a shrewd businessman, is recognizing that he needs to cut his losses and reorganize and turn this into a business that will actually make money,” he said. “And, maybe some of those guys up in that editorial board need to be less, maybe they need to pontificate less about others and take a look in the mirror and see that maybe some of the stuff they’re about isn’t something people like.”
Blagojevich said he had sympathy for most workers at the Tribune who are feeling insecure about their jobs, but “I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the editorial board and some of those guys up at the top who like to pontificate about the people who are (trying) to get things done for people.”
“I’m confident that an astute businessman like Sam Zell is going to turn this around. And (I) offer a polite recommendation to him. One thing he might want to do is change that editorial policy and change that editorial board and put some people in there that actually care about the average ordinary working person,” he said.
* 10:21 AM - These guys are just brazen. From the US Attorney…
Another alleged example of a pay-to-play scheme was captured in separate telephone conversations that Blagojevich had with Fundraiser A on November 13 and Lobbyist 1 on December 3. Lobbyist 1 was reporting to Blagojevich about his efforts to collect a contribution from Contributor 1 and related that he “got in his face” to make it clear to Contributor 1 that a commitment to make a campaign contribution had to be done now, before there could be some skittishness over the timing of the contribution and Blagojevich signing a bill that would benefit Contributor 1. Blagojevich commented to Lobbyist 1 “good” and “good job.” The bill in question, which is awaiting Blagojevich ’s signature, is believed to be legislation that directs a percentage of casino revenue to the horse racing industry.
This is a target-rich environment folks. Stay patient.
* 10:26 AM - From the affidavit…
According to Individual A, ROD BLAGOJEVICH and Fundrasier A, who is the chairman of Friends of Blagojevich, are making a strong push to raise campaign funds before a new state ethics law goes into effect on January 1, 2009, that will prohibit any individual or entity with existing state contracts of more than $50,000 from contributing to entities like Friends of Blagojevich.
The chairman of Friends of Blagojevich is the governor’s brother.
* 10:28 AM - Those of us who said that Gov. Blagojevich was stalling the ethics bill so he could continue to raise money from state contractors appear to have been vindicated…
The charges focus, however, on events since October when the Government obtained information that Blagojevich and Fundraiser A, who is chairman of Friends of Blagojevich, were accelerating Blagojevich’s allegedly corrupt fund-raising activities to accumulate as much money as possible this year before a new state ethics law would severely curtail Blagojevich’s ability to raise money from individuals and entities that have existing contracts worth more than $50,000 with the State of Illinois. Agents learned that Blagojevich was seeking approximately $2.5 million in campaign contributions by the end of the year
*** 10:30 AM *** House GOP Leader Tom Cross is preparing to call on Blagojevich to resign. No statement yet from House Speaker Michael Madigan.
*** 10:31 AM *** Sources say that the governor’s office at the Thompson Center has been raided by the FBI.
* 10:44 AM - Impeachment info from the Illinois Constitution…
The Governor may convene the General Assembly or the Senate alone in special session by a proclamation stating the purpose of the session; and only business encompassed by such purpose, together with any impeachments or confirmation of appointments shall be transacted. Special sessions of the General Assembly may also be convened by joint proclamation of the presiding officers of both houses, issued as provided by law. […]
SECTION 14. IMPEACHMENT
The House of Representatives has the sole power to conduct legislative investigations to determine the existence of cause for impeachment and, by the vote of a majority of the members elected, to impeach Executive and Judicial officers. Impeachments shall be tried by the Senate. When sitting for that purpose, Senators shall be upon oath, or affirmation, to do justice according to law. If the Governor
is tried, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall preside. No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the Senators elected. Judgment shall not extend beyond removal from office and disqualification to hold any public office of this State. An impeached officer, whether convicted or acquitted, shall be liable to prosecution, trial, judgment and punishment according to law.
*** 10:46 AM *** Blagojevich and Harris will appear in court at 1:30 this afternoon. From the US Attorney…
Blagojevich and Harris will have their court appearance at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan in the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, 219 S. Dearborn St., Chicago. Magistrate Nolan will be using the 14th floor U.S. District Court courtroom of Judge George Lindberg – Courtroom 1425
*** 10:55 AM *** Cross and other House Republicans call for the instigation of impeachment proceedings…
Dear Speaker Madigan:
In light of the corruption charges filed against Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today, we call upon you to create a special bi-partisan committee for the purpose of investigating the grounds for impeachment. […]
We believe it is proper and warranted at this time for the Illinois House of Representatives to begin an investigation into the activities of the Executive Branch to determine grounds for impeachment. Such an investigation would provide the Governor a forum to either reassure legislators and the public that his office has followed the law or provide legislators with cause to move forward with impeachment hearings.
*** 11:00 AM *** Marc Ambinder believes “Senate Candidate 5” is Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr…
From the context, it’s probably Jesse Jackson. Jr.
Ambinder quoted this section…
“Later on December 4, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH spoke to Fundraiser A. ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated he was “elevating” Senate Candidate 5 on the list of candidates for the open Senate seat. ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated he might be able to cut a deal with Senate Candidate 5 that provided ROD BLAGOJEVICH with something
“tangible up front.” ROD BLAGOJEVICH noted he was going to meet with Senate Candidate 5 in the next few days.”
The only candidate with whom Blagojevich met within that period was Jesse Jackson, Jr.
I asked Jackson’s office for a response much earlier today because I had the same suspicions. No response yet.