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A tangled web, or an innocent gift? - Updated x6

Monday, Sep 11, 2006 - Posted by Rich Miller

[Comments are now closed on this post. Thanks for all the discussion! Go here instead.]

[This has been bumped up to the top because people want to talk about it so much.]

One of the keys to remember when reading Sunday’s Tribune story is that Rod Blagojevich had never reported any sort of gift from this family until the FBI started asking questions. Another key point is that Mrs. Ascaridis claims she didn’t even know that a large check had been written to the governor’s daughter.

The FBI is investigating allegations by the wife of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s former campaign treasurer that her state job may have come in return for a $1,500 personal check her husband wrote to one of Blagojevich’s children.

The inquiry is the first public indication that Blagojevich and his personal finances are under federal scrutiny as part of a sweeping criminal probe of political hiring in his administration.

The governor’s office released a statement Friday saying the check was a gift for his daughter’s 7th birthday from the governor’s best friend and any suggestion otherwise is “simply ludicrous.” […]

Beverly Ascaridis, who has already been identified in an internal state probe as receiving special treatment to get her job, confirmed federal agents interviewed her and her husband in recent weeks about the check. It was dated within two weeks after she began her $45,000-a-year job as a state parks administrator in August 2003, according to Ascaridis and sources familiar with the investigation.

Not specifically mentioned in the story is that Michael Ascaridis was paid $5,000 by the governor’s campaign fund in 2003, the same year the alleged birthday check was written. All told, the campaign fuund has paid Ascaridis $11,900, although $400 of that appears to be reimbursements.

It seems clear that Mrs. Ascaridis was clouted into her job.

Beverly Ascaridis’ name was among more than 1,000 job applicants identified by the inspector general’s report as being channeled through a special office that took hiring recommendations from the governor’s office, state lawmakers and Democratic county chairman, the newspaper reported.

Her job with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources first was located in Whiteside County, near the Iowa border and more than 100 miles from her Chicago home, the newspaper reported.

But the job was moved to DuPage County a little more than a month after Ascaridis took the post.

The inspector general found that officials were able to get around laws that give preference to veterans in hiring by filling jobs in counties with fewer veteran job applicants, then transferring the jobs elsewhere once they were given to a favored applicant.

Mrs. Ascaridis told the Tribune she didn’t even know where Whiteside County is.

Also not mentioned in the story is that Michael Ascaridis apparently got his own government job through political connections. Ascaridis’ name appears on Mayor Daley’s “clout list.” His sponsor is not listed.

The fact that Ascaridis works for the City of Chicago and is not some big bucks player makes that $1500 birthday gift to a little girl’s “college fund” all the more strange, and even more suspect when you remember that it wasn’t even reported on the governor’s statement of economic interests until after Blagojevich was interviewed by the FBI.

Here’s a reminder of some of the context.

Weeks after he was interviewed by federal agents last year as part of a corruption investigation, Gov. Rod Blagojevich filed a rare revision to one of his ethics disclosures to include more personal gifts.

The move raises parallels to changes made by Blagojevich’s predecessor, convicted felon George Ryan, who amended his ethics statements after being questioned by federal prosecutors.

“In light of where these federal investigations of the Blagojevich administration are, it goes beyond curious. It’s worrisome,” said Jay Stewart, executive director of the watchdog Better Government Association, who added the Blagojevich and Ryan situations are not completely analogous.

Ascaridis was also Blagojevich’s campaign treasurer when he was in Congress.

I’ll open comments on Monday, but you can post them now if you wish and they’ll appear tomorrow morning. Comments are now open.

Also, to those who say it’s no big deal, here’s a walk down memory lane to show how the feds can twist just about anything…

Collins ran through benefits he said flowed between Ryan and Warner during Ryan’s years as secretary of state and governor. He said Warner got $3 million worth of lobbying money and lease deals after Ryan steered contracts to him. Collins listed the loans, gifts, insurance adjustment and other benefits that flowed from Warner to Ryan and various Ryan family members in return.

It was “the community bank of Larry Warner for the Ryan family,” Collins said.

Collins said Warner paid the cost of a wedding band for one of Ryan’s daughters. The daughter, sitting in the front row, started to tear up as Collins talked about it. […]

Warner paid for the band as a gift to Ryan’s daughter, whom he cared about, the defense has said.

UPDATE: The governor will be at Holy Name Cathedral Monday morning for the 9-11 remembrance ceremony, so maybe reporters can get him to answer some questions about this.

UPDATE 2: Remember this?

The auction began with the sale of Tari Rogganbuck’s Rabbit Pen Trio. Fred and Jill Nessler, Larry and Ann Breon and Lyle and Cathy Flack purchased the Bonfield girl’s rabbits for $3,750 and then gave them to the governor’s seven year-old daughter, Amy.

As I recall, and as a friend reminded me, the governor refused the rabbits, saying it would be unethical for Amy to accept them.

UPDATE 3: The Daily Herald has more.

But on Saturday, [Mrs.] Ascaridis released a statement saying her comments had been mischaracterized, she had been misquoted, and that she believed the Blagojeviches are “good people.” […]

Michael Ascaridis released a statement through his lawyer, Democratic campaign donor Joseph A. Power, that contradicted the his wife’s anti-Blagojevich statements reported in the Tribune.

“My wife, Beverly, and I categorically deny that there was any quid pro quo regarding any gift to Amy and my wife’s job. To suggest otherwise is insulting to me, my wife, as well as Amy and Rod,” he said in a statement released Saturday.

If the Tribune has a tape, now would be a good time to release it.

UPDATE 4: From Eric Zorn’s site:

Statement from Abby Ottenhoff, spokeswoman for Blagojevich: The Governor and Mike Ascaridis have been best friends for over 40 years, beginning when the Governor was 8 years old. Because Mike and Beverly do not have children, they are particularly close to the Governor’s children. Mike and Beverly give gifts for birthdays, Christmas, and christenings to Amy and Annie. The Governor and First Lady take the Ascaridis’ out for dinner. The Governor regularly takes Mike to Cubs games, especially during the Cubs’ playoff run in 2003, when the Governor, Mike and Amy attended game after game together. When Mike and Beverly were married, the Governor and the First Lady gave them a check. In other words, their relationship is just like the relationship of close friends all across the world. Like a lot of parents, the Governor and the First Lady set up a mutual fund to help pay for college for their daughters – and that’s been dutifully reported. And yes, Beverly Ascaridis was qualified for her job, and by all accounts she’s done the job well.

Statement from Michael Ascardis (via Joseph Power): I have known Rod Blagojevich for over 40 years. We attended the same grammar school and Lane Tech High school along with his brother, Robert. Rod and Robert are my best friends. I do not have any children other than a grown stepson, so I treat Rod’s daughter, Amy, as my own. I had given Amy various gifts since she was born 10 years ago. I gave her a birthday gift for a college fund because of my relationship with Amy and a life long friendship with the Blagojevich family. I have also given gifts to Robert’s son, Alex, for his graduation from high school and college out of friendship. I graduated from DePaul University with a degree in finance and from Northeastern University with a degree in accounting. Although I do not have any children, I understand the importance of college funds for minors. My gifts to Amy throughout her life were done out of a lifelong friendship. My wife, Beverly, and I categorically deny that there was any quid pro quo regarding any gift to Amy and my wife’s job. To suggest otherwise is insulting to me (and), my wife as well as Amy and Rod.

Statement of Beverly Ascardis (Via Joseph Power): My husband and I have known the Blagojevich family for years. Our gift to Amy was not in any way connected to my job. We gave other gifts to Amy and Annie over the years for their birthdays, Christmas and other occasions. My husband Mike and the Governor are like brothers who could not have a closer relationship. If I have made any statements out of anger, I regret it. (This statement also contained a dispute over the accuracy of the Tribune story referenced above; that dispute is hashed out in the story itself)

UPDATE 5: Abby says she was qualified, but this is from the Tribune story:

[Mrs. Ascaridis] was identified as among more than two dozen applicants who were given a break when their failing grades were not recorded.

UPDATE 6: Notice this quote.

Like a lot of parents, the Governor and the First Lady set up a mutual fund to help pay for college for their daughters – and that’s been dutifully reported.

But was the check deposited into that account?

[Comments are now closed on this post. Go here instead.]

       

181 Comments
  1. - Anon - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 8:17 am:

    WOW, Can I get on their Christmas list.


  2. - Len O'Connor - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 9:45 am:

    Mike and Beverly Ascaridis have been with Rod from the start, worked on his campaigns etc. What I find interesting is Beverly quote
    “I don’t know what kind of witness I’ll make for them anyway,” she said. “I hate the man with every fiber of my being.”
    The people who know the Governor best all hate his guts.


  3. - NoGiftsPlease - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 10:05 am:

    How do her background qualifications compare with the knowledge and experience required for the job? I recommend hiring an “inspector” to compare resumes/background of people who were selected for state jobs vs. unselected applicants, especially in situations where questions are raised. This would prove to be very revealing.


  4. - Huh? - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 10:12 am:

    I found it interesting that Beverly Ascaridis said her life was ruined and then tried to retract the statement.


  5. - Ghost Buster - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 10:29 am:

    Just one question,how many more like this?


  6. - Observer - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 10:31 am:

    The Governor’s problem is that no one is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt any longer. He has squandered the good will and ethics fatigue that went along with his first victory. Blagojevich is now a mere cartoonish charicature of a corrupt Illinois politician. What a waste.


  7. - Wumpus - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 10:48 am:

    I need friends like these. Perhaps because I am not nealry as wealthy or powerful as these folks, I could never imagine someone giving my daughter a $1500 gift. With these details coming to light( allegations), it was very fitting that the daughters were forced to cry (pinched by Blago) at the state fair.


  8. - HoosierDaddy - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 11:07 am:

    Gifts to children in exchange for jobs… weird. Who ever could have thought of such a thing? *cough* (George Ryan) *cough*

    But how his children loved that little dog. They named him Checkers….


  9. - Hugh G. Rection - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 11:15 am:

    If she doesn’t know where Whiteside County is where did she work (and get paid?) until the job was transferred to DuPage?

    By the way has Hairdo filed and released his ‘05 tax returns yet?


  10. - Cassandra - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 11:35 am:

    Well, if the guv and Mr. Ascaridis are that tight, why would the guv make him pay $1500 for the job. Or did the guv give him a discount.

    Illinois Democrats certainly seem to be trying to sell whatever taxpayer assets they can during their turn at the trough. The lottery. The tollway. State jobs and contracts.

    Sell Illinois.


  11. - the ghost of others - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 11:47 am:

    Rich you know how the system works well enough to know this story has no legs, a guy who was the Gov.’s treasurer does not have to give 1500.00 to get his wife a job, let alone a guy who has known him for 40 years. What surprises me is that the job was so far down the ladder, her abilities must be limited.


  12. - Stan - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 11:58 am:

    What gets me most if that every time one of these types of situations is brought out into the open how this Gov always has an \”Absolutely Nothing Wrong Here” attitude. It is \”ludicrous,” \”outrageous,” “a result of weeding out corruption,” “a few bad apples,” “a simple oversight,” etc., etc. It is always, ALWAYS someone else’s fault. How many more excuses and spins can be put on in an attempt to cover up obvious problems in this Administration?

    Every week, literally every week something new is exposed. If these filter though, how many more problems are actually being suppressed? Why isn’t the Press pushing harder for answers? It seems like every article exposes something but then doesn’t follow though with detailed investigation, analysis or explanations. I do not even know if pay-to-play is illegal. Where is the investigations into what is legal and illegal? Comments and opinions from law professors or retired judges would be nice. The articles and news reports seem little more that blog postings on the Internet. They raise more questions but give no answers. Well I for one want move before I vote in November.


  13. - Justice - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 12:06 pm:

    What we see, me fears, is just the tip of the iceberg. The money game, as such relates to political contributions, reaches a higher lever of “ludicrous” each day under the Blogo squad. This $1,500 contribution husband and wife team must be related to Jim and Tammy Faye Baker, who as you recall air conditioned their dog house. Frankly, that was better use of money with a choice between that and giving $1,500 to Blogo under the pretense of giving it to his daughter. Filling jobs, then moving them is commonplace, under this administration, to circumvent both Rutan and Veterans Preference. When you screw the Veteran who willingly put themselves in harms way for us all, you have essentially spit on the flag and all it stands for. Blogo gives words like “avarice” and “rapacious” new meaning in their level of greed and plundering. In the Marine Corp, we called guys like him s**t-birds!! And by the way, maybe Rod can talk to Jim about what to do with your “time” while in prison!! THUMP, THUMP!!


  14. - B Hicks - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 12:55 pm:

    Big deal, $15,00. I’ve had bigger bar bills.


  15. - bassman - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 1:47 pm:

    Hmmm…a little tidbit for your sluething Rich, When Bev got the job with IDNR, not only did she NOT know where Whiteside County was, she didn’t even know where the PARKS were she was suppose to be assistant administrator for…curious eh?


  16. - Just Observing - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 2:18 pm:

    What’s all the hub-bub… isn’t it normal and healthy for a seven year old to receive a $1500 birthday present?


  17. - politicaljunkie - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 3:17 pm:

    Love to know the back story between Mr. & Mrs. A. on this one.


  18. - IrishPirate - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 5:01 pm:

    First, I am a democrat. Second, I will be voting for Governor soon Elect Topinka. Third, President Peraica, of the soon to be elected variety, will also be getting my vote.

    In four years I look forward to voting them out of office, but at the moment they are the better candidates to govern. It may not be a good campaign slogan but “less corrupt than the other guys” works for me.

    This $1500 “gift” check is going to resonate with the public and the feds. I have never given that much money to anyone as a gift and I imagine 90 percent of the voters will say the same. This stinks as much as Blago pretending to be a reformer. Sing you Elvis wannabee because the feds got your number.

    ARRRRRRRRRGH


  19. - bored now - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 5:23 pm:

    even if it was an innocent gift, it was inappropriate. who gives a child 1.5k in cash? geez.

    PAT QUINN FOR GOVERNOR! oh, yeah…


  20. - Disgusted - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 6:06 pm:

    Crooks, every last one of them. What a pathetic excuse for a government we have in this state.


  21. - state worker A - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 6:51 pm:

    Michael Ascaridis is an accountant for the city of Chicago. The statement called the suggestion that the check was anything but a gift from a friend “simply ludicrous.” Accountants make decent money, but not enough to justify giving $1,500.00 as a gift to someone that is not even a blood relative. I am curious to find out if he has any kids of his own and what gifts they receive for birthdays and Christmas’.

    In addition, who would want a simple doll after getting a $1,500.00 check? What gift did he get her on her 2004 birthday – you know you can’t give anything less because then you will look like a cheapskate. How much money did he give the other kid?

    Did Blagojevich read and pass his own ethics test or did one of his spokespeople do it for him. This smells like corruption and it looks like corruption!


  22. - Little Egypt - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 8:40 pm:

    I can’t wait to read these comments on Monday and see what kind of Topinka/GRyan spin GoverNOT Hairdo’s people can put on this story. They will be posting here in masses. Read the article carefully people. It’s ludicrous to think that this woman believes she got her job without influence (where is Whiteside County?), that she didn’t know her husband had written a $1,500 check to a 7 year old, and to quote her comment from the State Journal-Register, “I don’t know what kind of witness I’ll make for them, anyway,” she said. “I hate the man with every fiber of my being.” Elvis would be smart to keep his mouth shut about this one instead of digging his grave deeper than it already is.


  23. - zatoichi - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 9:25 pm:

    I remember all the times my parent’s friends put $1,500 in a college account for me when I was a kid. It happened at least ZERO times.

    The best part of the story, as written in the Trib’s Midwest edition, is on page one. “Beverly Ascaridis expressed animosity for the governor but did not elaborate”. She describes how she went to the Feds who ordered her to stay quiet. “I don’t know what kind of witness I’ll make for them anyway,” she said. “I hate the man with every fiber of my being.” Later on page 15, the Gov’s Office response: “Their families are extremely close”. Ah……..Ok, if you say so. If I gave $1,500 to someone my wife hates and I don’t tell her, but she finds it later, a freaking chill would set up perment residence at our house. So Mike A made $11,700 working for Rod’s campaign. Well, that explains everything. As Jackie Gleason used to say “How sweet it is!”. The BS machine will be working overtime on this one. This’ll be good.


  24. - The not so invisible hand - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 9:35 pm:

    Hey, Rich, I fixed these a bit, can you substitute?

    Am I the only one who finds it interesting that Joe Power, who tenaciously worked to hound Ryan out of office and into prison, paving the way for Blagojevich’s election, is now apparently acting as part of Blago’s plumbers squad to try and clean up and squelch these allegations? I am sure his personal and firm’s significant contributions to Blagojevich also have nothing to do with him miraculously stepping in to represent these individuals. Already sounds like there may be ethical conflicts here from Power’s active role and relationship with Blagojevich (served on Gov’s transition committee) relative to his “clients” interests in the ongoing FBI/grand jury investigation. Also would seem from the statements of the “clients” that there are conflicting interests between them, which also raises ethical questions about joint representation. Curious that he has spent his career and made his fortune on civil law and personal injury cases, suddenly decides to develop a criminal practice and represent individuals in an active criminal grand jury investigation.

    Equally curious, is how these folks decided Joe Power was the attorney they needed to see and ultimately employ. I am pretty sure he is not listed in the yellow pages as specializing in criminal defense work. Wonder whether “someone” talked to Power first, before he suddenly made his appearance as counsel after the Tribune’s early editions hit the streets.


  25. - Cal Skinner - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 10:13 pm:

    Has anyone heard of an 8-year old getting a $1,500 check for a birthday present from a non-relative?


  26. - Gregor Samsa - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 10:29 pm:

    Holy smokes! First the baby girl is a human shield, now the 7 year old daughter is a money laundry for pop’s graft and hiring kickbacks. This is father of the year material, no question. Watch Monday, he’ll say he wasn’t at the birthday party, or came late (like he does to all his events) and didn’t know about the check until later. Yet nobody filed paperwork on it for a year until the FBI points it out to him???

    It’s like he’s DARING us citizens to put him away. I am livid at the utter ARROGANCE of this guy.

    This is the guy who is breaking, on a regular basis, one of the first laws he signed in his first week on the job. You gotta declare ALL the gifts above, what fifty dollars, is it? It’s a question on that ethics test he just made all the state workers take.

    This is not some esoteric and complicated issue like the fuzzy budget math, where you can bedazzle an uninformed public with BS and platitudes, this is easy for any Joe Lunchbucket Voter to understand: a connected guy bought his unqualified wife a $40K-plus state job, in exchange for only a $1,500 “birthday present” to a 7-year-old daughter of the Governor. Not only did he buy the job for cheap, but they moved it all the way across the state and prevented one of our returning Gulf Veterans from the chance of getting that job, a guy that put his life on the line, risked orphaning his own sons or daughters for us. Should that vet protest to the civil service commission, the governor’s friend and babysitter sits on that board and will rule on the issue.

    I don’t know what disgusts me more, the fact he’s doing this, or the fact that like Ryan, he apparently can be bought for such a bargain-basement price. His campaign signs use the slogan “getting things done for people”, it just never specified that there is a price list for that.

    I’ll tell you this: forget the “Judy polkas with George” thing, we now have the Milorad Mazurka playing loud and clear, with the knobs turned up to eleven!

    Rod, come Monday I want you to stand before the cameras with your hand on a bible and SWEAR before the Almighty that this is all untrue. Be sure the lighting rods to the building are connected, first.

    You are SO toast, come the debates, you miserable LIAR.


  27. - No nickname today - Sunday, Sep 10, 06 @ 10:49 pm:

    A $1,500 check for a 7-year-old’s birthday? Something smells funny or is iy familiar?


  28. - Criminal Enterprise Called Illinois - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 3:27 am:

    What’s the deal with Beverly “hating” Rod…this is one of the weirder shennanigans in the brewhaha known as the Governor’s life. After the decimation of DNR and the hardships faced by its skeletal crew of workers and the state parks being minimally maintained - this babe gets a $45,000/year job that they conveniently move for her a month later? Most state workers can’t even get transfers to other offices, let alone counties. If that in itself isn’t indictable material, I don’t know what is! More outrageousness from Mr. Clean and Crew. This Governor is going to burn, win or not in November.


  29. - Bill - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 6:55 am:

    Little E,
    One of the reasons Rod will win is because while you guys spend all day Sunday on the blogs slamming him, Rod’s supporters were in the precincts all day solidifying his support. It is the ground game which is going to win this election, not blogging.
    Judy doesn’t have one.
    By the way, the gift went into Amy’s college fund. I’m sure that that can be verified. I think it was really nice of the life long family friends to give it to her.


  30. - Rich Miller - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 6:57 am:

    Bill, I asked for verification of just that point yesterday and I have yet to hear back from the governor’s office and the goverrnor’s campaign.


  31. - Disgusted - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 7:05 am:

    I hope the reporters in Chicago line up at Holy Name to catch him on the fly. Let’s see if he lies on the church steps. Not only is he a crook, he flaunts it to our faces. Nice job, Milarod.


  32. - OneMan - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 7:10 am:

    Why do I suspect that the Gov will end up being late to the service at Holy Name then perhaps exit a side enterance.


  33. - Anonymous - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 7:11 am:

    So she kicked-backed 4% of her salary to her Padrone, via the daughter. In the old days it was 5%. Now that’s reform!


  34. - OneMan - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 7:12 am:

    If it turns out I am right on that BTW you can send the 1,500 checks for my kids college fund to Rich and he can get them to me. FYI, I have two kids and I will accept $750 each.


  35. - Shallow Pharnyx - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 7:38 am:

    Bill,
    Unfortunately, Blago probably will be re-elected (look at Illinois history- Ryan), that does not change the fact that he is what he is - unethical. So what if the money was placed in Amy’s “college fund”? It does not change the fact that the circumstances surrounding the “deposit” bear further investigation. If I remember the e test, it is the appearance of the situation, not just the content. This just shows more bad judgment on Blago’s part if it really was a deposit to Amy’s account. With friends and family like Blago has, he doesn’t need enemies.


  36. - the Other Anonymous - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 7:42 am:

    I’m also a bit flumoxed at the thought of a seven year old getting a $1,500 check for a birthday present from someone who is not a relative — heck, even from a relative, it’s excessive.

    If the money went into a college fund, that’s even worse. The Governor’s kids are certainly going to have the opportunity to go to the college of their choice. Any money in a college fund will simply relieve the Blagojevich’s from making tuition payments in the future. In other words, the birthday gift in this case will directly benefit the parents much more so than the child.


  37. - Bill - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 7:49 am:

    Well, the gift was made in 2003 before the e test was instituted. When Rod was advised that the gift should be declared he promptly did so in an ammended statement. I don’t think that because a parent is in public life, his or her children should have to bear the brunt of public scrutiny. The press and the public should leave them out of it…and I don’t think that Rod is selling state jobs for gifts to his kids college funds.
    A lot of people probably don’t get it but Rod is a moral and ethical person who truly wants to do the right thing. When he finds out about a situation which may be conflicted or an alledged wrong doing by staff or supporters he take action to rectify the situation.


  38. - Rich Miller - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 7:52 am:

    Bill, he didn’t amend his form until this year.


  39. - leigh - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 8:05 am:

    Bill are you related to Blago, or do you just hold a high position in his administration? You must know him personally because noone who knows him only from his public view would ever consider him moral or ethical. What is it that the public is missing? I mean that with sincerity. Is it his own spokespersons that make him look so bad?


  40. - Shallow Pharnyx - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 8:06 am:

    I’d have to debate you on Blago being moral and ethical. Maybe empathetic for his AllKids and preschool for all initiatives but moral and ethical suggest integrity, in which he his highly lacking. Don’t take my word for it- ask the Ethicist if it is okay to be the “big boss” and engage in any sort of money transaction that is not at arm’s length. Besides, a moral person in Blago’s position would not continually blame others for the failings of his administration. At some point, suck it up and say the BUCK STOPS HERE.


  41. - Roy Slade - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 8:12 am:

    I am very close to my Godson, and gave him birthday presents, high school graduation presents, as well as a $100 for his college graduation. His parents thought the $100 was too much! This confirms that I am don’t have enough money to be “friends” with the Blagos.


  42. - DOWNSTATE - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 8:25 am:

    Argue the fine points of this but the fact is the Feds are using this to chum the waters for bigger fish.Who wants to bet they get a big shark soon.All Blago has to do to clear this up is show the press a deposit for 1500 to his daughters fund.


  43. - Concerned Voter - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 8:26 am:

    Wow, my daughter turns 7 pretty soon, I better get an accountant to handle all those big birthday checks we should be expecting.

    I have a new state slogan for Illinois, “Pay to play, it’s the Illinois way!” Could substitute Blago for Illinois and he can use it for his campaign slogan.

    Now anyone who wants to say he’s just doing what Ryan and his predecessors did, well Blago’s the one who said it would not be business as usual.


  44. - Little Egypt - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 8:29 am:

    Bill, you are way beyond delusional. Your comments have become irresponsible, absurd, unbelievable, foolish, laughable, loony, and, most of all, bizarre. You may think your posts are on the mark and helping out your boy Elvis but quite frankly you are doing him more harm than good. About a two month time out in the naughty chair is in order for you.


  45. - Little Egypt - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 8:32 am:

    And please, Patty, no more letters to the editor about how badly the press treated your family on the first day of the State Fair. You are in as deep as your hubby and shame on you for allowing your daughters to be placed in the public eye as you are doing. Neither of you are in line for parent of the year.


  46. - Still Anon - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 8:40 am:

    Think of the T-Shirts! “My husband paid $1500 and all I got was this crummy job”


  47. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 8:43 am:

    Let’s not forget that he “had to be reminded” by the FBI.


  48. - Bill - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 9:09 am:

    Leigh,
    No,I am not related to Rod and I don’t work for the state or the campaign. I am just a common blogger who is tired of all the name calling and abuse Rod and Patti and the children take daily on this and some other blogs. As the governor pulls further ahead in the race I expect the attacks to get worse and if Rich is willing I’ll continue to blog and defend the governor when I feel like it. I won’t charge the Gov’s camapign and the last thing I would want is a state job. As you can tell from Little E’s last post when they run out of attacks on Rod they will then start on me.Anything but debate Topinka’s so called spending plan which promises billions of dollars in new spending all dependent on gambling revenue schemes that are dubious at best.
    The conservatives are in a fix, they can’t support Judy’s social or fiscal agenda, don’t want to waste their votes on Whitney even though he wants to let them carry their concealed weapons, so what’s left but to trash Rod?


  49. - Driver - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 9:09 am:

    “CHICAGO (AP) - The Illinois Federation of Teachers on Friday endorsed Gov. Rod Blagojevich for re-election in November, citing his record on education and labor issues.”

    Don’t ya think those headlines outweigh a little ole $1500 gift to some needy child??


  50. - Larry Mullholland - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 9:22 am:

    This can all be explained away by detailing all the gifts to Amy or the other child in the past.

    7 years old x $1,500 = $10,500 An excellent start to the college fund! So Bill, or any other person, please confirm that similar gifts went to them in the past …then the story can be spun.

    It is very sad, I have young children. I have been in the public (local) spotlight. I would have never ever considered picking up my child to use as a shield during a heated questions answer session from reporters & I could not even imagine USING my children to receive cash payoffs…a new low

    And the Governor’s Claim that he is “Best Friends like a brother” … Mrs Ascardis hates her husband’s best friend…interesting that the people who could know the Governor well…his father in law &his pretend brother’s wife all hate him…very telling about the Rod the individual. The Governor has no clothes.

    Another interesting point, how can the governor claim he forgot a $1,500 check on his ethics disclosure….it seems very clear what happened here…


  51. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 9:28 am:

    Rich -

    Great piece in CapitolFax today. It doesn’t matter to me whether there was any “quid pro quo” in this case.

    Blagojevich’s actions don’t pass the smell test, let alone the ethics test.


  52. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 9:38 am:

    Driver -

    Was the IFT story published anywhere besides Pontiac?

    Because this was the front page, two-inch, above the fold headline in the Sunday Tribune:

    “Feds probe gift to governor”

    Sure, Rod can put millions behind ads touting his endorsement, but I think its pretty clear which is having a bigger impact at this point.


  53. - Goodbye Napoleon - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 9:42 am:

    I don’t believe this was quid pro quo, but I agree with many other commenters that $1,500 gift to a 7 year old seems very inappropriate. Best friend or not, even if it was his brother, it still seems strange to me. If it was my best friend I’d be like “gee, thanks but can’t you just buy her an IPod maybe?”

    The Governor’s downfall won’t be his official actions or his politics, it will be his personal dirty laundry that will have turned most voters away from him: Mell / father-in-law feud and strange large cash gift to daugther.

    I am disappointed for sure.
    GN


  54. - Ahem - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 9:43 am:

    “I hate the man with every fiber of my being.”

    Sounds to me like there’s more to this story….


  55. - Meow - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 9:58 am:

    Thanks for your efforts, Bill. You are right too, Let let them spend their time blogging. They can do that Rod wins Nov. 7th, too.


  56. - steve schnorf - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 10:03 am:

    I think I agree with the previous comment that lifelong friends of a Governor who worked a significant role in his campaign don’t have to buy their wives jobs.


  57. - HoosierDaddy - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 10:08 am:

    Ahem– Didn’t Monica say something like that…?


  58. - Anonymous - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 10:15 am:

    Hoosier’s getting close…


  59. - Rich Miller - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 10:18 am:

    OK, that’s enough. Move on.


  60. - chinman - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 10:35 am:

    Steve,
    Until this weekend I would have agreed with you. What it says to me is that Rod is so embedded in the chicago machine culture that even his good friends know they have to kick something upstairs no matter what the favor is to keep the favor book square. Steve, I have a good deal of respect for your opinions, but this glass is half empty. I had a pretty serious injury once and was laid up for about 6 months with no cable and got hooked on a soap oprera. No longer do I watch it. When I catch a glimpse of it I can easily get back to speed for however outrageous the plot it is consistent. State govt in il was that way until blago came along and shook things up. Now there is no order. it is out of control. What I had viewed as absolutes are no more. Things have truly changed. I hope someone with talent and foresight is making notes about the shifts that are taking place. Crime is downsizing and it seems from my perspective that if we were all smart there would be a players strike but instead it is all to similiar to every other industry; the sheep/workers get killed. Look at the lobbyist list from 10 years ago and look at it today. Same people running everything and more of it. It is an indicator. Do you all follow? everybody pays all the time is the rule of prison protection, apparently they/cini and kelly really are thugs.


  61. - Buck Flagojevich - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 10:35 am:

    My God. That is the oldest gimmick in the book. It is also the most transparent. “It’s for the kid.” Yeah. And that 12 year old bottle of Scotch is for her too. What a bunch of Putz’s.


  62. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 10:39 am:

    Steve - I hope you’d also agree that it’s not appropriate for a sitting governor to accept a large cash gift from the spouse of someone who was just fast-tracked for a high-paying state job.

    My bet is that Ascaradis had just attended a recent fundraiser for the Gov but didn’t want to show up on his D-2’s in violation of the Governor’s pledge not to accept contributions from state employees. The $1,500 “gift” was just his way of saying “I love you Man!”

    I’d love to know who the check was made payable to.

    Hats off to the wife though for doing the right thing and contacting the feds. It sounds like she was pretty naive about what was really going on behind the scenes here, and her husband should be sick inside about the situation he and Rod have created for her. With his wife facing ghost-payrolling charges, Ascaradis’s loyalties are really going to be put to the test.


  63. - leigh - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 10:46 am:

    Any one who I perceived as being responsible for dragging me into a federal investigation is one I would hate with every fiber of my being. The comment sounds like a pretty normal response to me.


  64. - Buck Flagojevich - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 10:48 am:

    YDD. I don’t know if it is you or me, but over these past few months I have agreed with more and more of your posts. It seems as if there is becoming a common ground among people who follow politics in Illinois.(except for 2 or 3 on this blog) It also makes me wonder how many of the 48% who say they support the Gov are lying to the pollsters.


  65. - The Ship He Is A Sinking - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 10:50 am:

    It seems that the governor has found a very ingenious method for laundering his ill gotten gains. This is not the first time he has amended his financial statements only after speaking with the Feds. In every case if he had not been questioned concerning these finances we would have never been the wiser.

    It’s funny how the entire time Ryan was being investigated some Democrats were calling for his head prior to anything being proved. Now that it is the governor that is being investigated these same Democrats are defending him saying ‘nothing has been proved yet’. Ultimately truth will prevail but we may be in the second term of the governor before he is indicted as it seems some are more interested in getting him re-elected for their own purposes then doing what’s right.


  66. - Low Down and Dirty - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 10:56 am:

    Bill.

    Do you know that Elvis (the dead one, not the Gov) didn’t even write and wasn’t the first artist to perform “Hound Dog”? I guess both Elvis’ are phonies.

    Jailhouse Rock buddy.


  67. - Little Egypt - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 10:56 am:

    Bill, the reason I slammed you is because at 6:55 a.m. you said to me “One of the reasons Rod will win is because while you guys spend all day Sunday on the blogs slamming him, Rod’s supporters were in the precincts all day…” That’s well and good. However, if you lay off the personal, snide remarks to me and other bloggers, we shall give you the same respect. You stated almost factly that the $1,500 check went into a college fund. Where’s the proof of that? Where exactly is the verification stating this went into Elvis’ daughter’s college fund?

    As for Elvis’ appearance this morning at a church, if that place has an underground tunnel and a back door to a parking lot where his vehicle is parked, the press WILL NOT have access to him today.

    People if you can put politics aside and leave out the names, just read this article about a check for $1,500 to a 7 year old on her birthday which is now being “assumed” for college, and it smacks against your common sense. If you’re a republican or independent, you certainly are not going to vote for a man who has all but been officially indicted by the Feds. Why would you want to vote for this very same person just because you are a democrat? It makes no difference what party a crook is.


  68. - One Man Can Make A Difference - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 10:57 am:

    Well, Well, Well, the Governor’s own friend’s wife is a WHISTLEBLOWER. A timely one at that.

    From the looks of it, as he appeared on news stations this morning, our Governor didn’t get much sleep last night and was barely make his speech.

    I wonder if that is indictive of guilt or innocense.

    Guess we’ll wait and see. Of course, I won’t judge!


  69. - PlayK8 - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 11:01 am:

    I think Rod has abandoned Elvis and is now doing is Jake impersonation from the Blues Brothers. Remember the sewer scene with Carrie Fisher?
    Rod:[Falling to his knees before the masses]
    Oh please don’t kill us. Please, please don’t kill us. You know I love ya baby, I wouldn’t leave ya. It wasn’t my fault.
    Constituents: You miserable slug. You think you can talk you’re way out of this? You betrayed us.
    Rod: No, I didn’t. Honest. I ran outta gas. I had a flat tire. I didn’t have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn’t come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from outta town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake, a terrible flood, locust’s. It wasn’t my fault!! I swear to God!!
    Constituents: Oh Rod, Rod, honey.

    [Rod embraces them in a passionate kiss, then Rod drops them in the mud.]


  70. - Buck Flagojevich - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 11:04 am:

    One more for YDD. Great observation on the Ghost Payroller angle. Could that be another door with skeletons behind it for Blago and crew?


  71. - Walking Wounded - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 11:06 am:

    I’d forgotten about the rabbits being given as a gift to Amy. The Governor probably refused to accept them because rabbits are a lot harder to cash than a check.


  72. - Bill - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 11:21 am:

    Low Down,
    Many performers(and politicians) do not write their own materials. That doesn’t make them phonies. It is one thing to heap insults on the Governor but when you start on the real Elvis …well that is just unacceptable!

    Don’t Be Cruel…


  73. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 11:28 am:

    Buck - No one who wants to see the reputation of government cleaned up more than me. Christie Parsons’ column this weekend hit the nail on the head. There are alot of selfless, dedicated public servants out there laboring hard every day under the shadow of a handful of self-righteous, self-serving, ignoble knaves.

    The cumulative effect of all of these public corruption stories is to undermine people’s faith in government and our democratic process. Government is suppose to be us, but it feels increasingly like something that is happening to us.

    The lasting legacy of Sept. 11th should have been to wipe that slate clean, remind us that we’re all in this together, and give us the chance to chart a new course. It did - for one day, but since then those handful of knaves — on both sides of the aisle — have managed to reinfect the American psyche.


  74. - NoneOfTheAbove - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 11:37 am:

    Is this it? I think everyone expected Topinka’s people to rig up better “investigations” than this in the closing days.


  75. - Wheres the leadership??? - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 11:44 am:

    And to think all I would get for my birthday from my parents was $50 and a new pack of tighty whities!!! (Nothing from friends of parents)

    THe question is….what have they given Amy in the past?


  76. - DOWNSTATE - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 11:44 am:

    Sure sounds like they think they have problems in several areas since they are lawyering-up.Lots of things to prove or disprove.What day did she draw her first days pay from IDNR?Who saw her at the Whiteside County Park if that is where she drew her first pay.If no on saw her then she was a ghost payroller and I believe that is against the law.Who gave her the go ahead to not show up for work.This fits in very nicely to the RICO investigation that is ongoing.The feds don’t want to do this one like Ryan.It has been an ongoing criminal conspiracy involving several people.RICO will get you a lot longer sentence than what Ryan was charged with and if I was these people I would hire the best.How many more do you think is ready to walk and talk?


  77. - Bill Baar - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 11:47 am:

    It seems as if there is becoming a common ground among people who follow politics in Illinois.(except for 2 or 3 on this blog) It also makes me wonder how many of the 48% who say they support the Gov are lying to the pollsters.

    no kidding…someone really needs to explain this one…


  78. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 11:49 am:

    Rich - Thanks for the reminder about the bunnies. I guess in the governor’s mind, accepting gifts is ethical as long as nobody finds out about it.


  79. - chinman - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 11:57 am:

    One more thing, I understand large gifts between families involved in politics. It is not unusual to give and recieve big gifts in his world. However it has been my experience that rich folks; and these folks aren’t; give big gifts on special occasions such as birth, graduations, weddings etc… not birthday #7.
    It is my opinion that they/us atty will wait until after the election to release anything to rough. Election tampering is taken kind as a big deal. Quinnman are you ready?


  80. - Ashur Odishoo - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 12:04 pm:

    It is Blagojevich against the world. And at this time, Blago has enough money to keep a slight lead. This phenomenom amazes me to no end. From all the negative press, and animosity from those close to him and within his own party, I would think the residents of Illinois are just about to storm Springfield with their pitchforks, but if this apathy persists, then the voters deserve what they get.

    Ashur Odishoo
    Candidate
    State Representative 11th District


  81. - Little Egypt - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 12:09 pm:

    Rich, I’m betting the Feds have already contacted the Tribune for the tape.


  82. - Bubs - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 12:13 pm:

    This is not the first time I have heard stories - quite admittedly unconfirmed, but from good sources - of Blago seeking to enrich himself, usually at the relatively small time level of $1-5K.

    But hey, at least this one involved private funds. Rich, has anyone taken a good look at Blago’s house in Chicago?


  83. - NoneOfTheAbove - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 12:14 pm:

    But how is this legally any different from things that Topinka has done, like giving a job in the Treasurer’s Office to the wife of U.S. Congressman Bobby Rush right after the 2002 election. Bobby Rush had endorsed and helped Topinka in that election. Lots of other examples.

    I know it’s fun to play pretend. But Topinka’s no better on any of these issues.


  84. - Rich Miller - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 12:18 pm:

    NOTA, the illegality, if any, might center on whether it was or was not a protected civil service job. I do not believe that Rush’s wife got a protected job. There’s a big difference there. Also, I don’t know whether just giving her a state job is what is being looked at here. That could have been done legitimately.

    Bubs, I’m not sure what you mean about his house. Might you elaborate a bit?


  85. - Concerned Voter - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 12:22 pm:

    Now let’s all remember, it’s those lower level people in cms that took it upon themselves to change test scores, hire people improperly, and pass over veterans, none of those orders came from the governor’s office ;-) I’d love to see a list of those that did get jobs, and see where those names are on his donor’s list.

    To me, this is just a little step closer connecting the gov’s office with the hiring mess.


  86. - Patient Advocate - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 12:33 pm:

    Driver — yes the IFT was really proud of endorsing Rod, which explains why they sent out the press release at 5:15 PM last Friday. They are hoping their own members don’t notice.


  87. - DeepFriedOnAStick - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 1:02 pm:

    Hey Rich,
    Any word on whether Hairdo found an underground tunnel to leave the cathedral this morning?


  88. - Any Day Now - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 1:05 pm:

    For the love of God, feds, get those indictments out now! It’s not election tampering to take out a criminal.

    He’s daring/begging us all to take him down. I am getting my Paper Lace 45 ready to play and everything.


  89. - Madame Defarge - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 1:19 pm:

    I am quite sure the check was deposited into his daughters account, then an administrative fee was assesed, and then the fund was swept as it is not needed for at least 10 years.


  90. - Driver - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 1:22 pm:

    Driver — yes the IFT was really proud of endorsing Rod, which explains why they sent out the press release at 5:15 PM last Friday. They are hoping their own members don’t notice.
    ————————————————-
    The vast majority of IFT members support the democrat party regardless if it is a guy like blag…and I figured they released the endorsement on friday to take some heat away from the “birthday child payoff” that the IFT no doubt knew was coming out in the paper.


  91. - OneMan - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 1:23 pm:

    If you want to cover a bad story with a good one, you release after, not before.


  92. - a friend - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 1:47 pm:

    wow. this is sure a field day for all the blago haters. I agree with those on the blog brave enough to break from pack and point out how ludicrous it is that the lifelong best friend of the gov would have to do anything but simply ASK that his wife get a position at the state — and the payoff is 1,500 for a low level, low paying one at that? what silliness. and, so what if this guy isn’t a relative? it’s not as if this guy is some random campaign contributor. they’ve been friends for like 40 years.

    it’s also my understanding that an individual does not have to claim a gift on their tax return if it’s under 10k. I think rich or someone else raised that issue ealier.


  93. - Downtown - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 1:52 pm:

    OK, you are Governor or whatever for 4 years. What is so hard about saying, “I want to thank you for the sentiment, but as you will understand, I can’t accept a gift.”??? It isn’t like an elected official in IL. is really in need of ANYTHING.


  94. - 4% - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 2:10 pm:

    Bill & Schnorf don’t have to give $1,500 to the Governor or his kid….

    They just provide $1,500 of in-kind blogging services on his behalf….

    It’s embarassing guys.

    If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck…


  95. - What? - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 2:15 pm:

    A friend, since when is a $45,000 a low level, low paying job? I know plenty of folks with advanced degrees who don’t make that much.

    He may not have paid to get her the job, but she still was part of the crew who skirted the hiring procedures and doesn’t even know where her job was located.

    Whatever they say now about how much they luv the gov, that snake’s (read, hate with every fiber of my being) out of the can, good luck putting that back in.


  96. - Little Egypt - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 2:17 pm:

    GoverNOT Hairdo ought to be given a warning that he took his ethics test too fast.


  97. - Bill - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 2:52 pm:

    4%,
    Isn’t it unethical to blog on state time..or are you taking a personal day?


  98. - Bubs - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 3:00 pm:

    Are Blago’s recent assertions of outrage on this check are the unveiling of his new media strategy?

    Strategy 1 was to act like he was leading the charge on the federal investigations. That has been shredded by the media, and has now outlived its usefulness, but the message was firmly planted in the Collective Voter-Mind.

    Now it is Strategy 2, which is “Blago - Victim of Overzealous Prosecutors and Press Enemies,” which is just as laughable, but he only cares about the Collective Voter-Mind, not what a small percentage of reflective folks and reporters might think. It makes me wonder if him showing up with the daughter to what he knew would be a hot round of questioning was very deliberate.

    Can’t wait for No. 3 - “I was betrayed by close friends and aides who broke the law without my knowledge.”

    A part of me hopes we never see No. 4, but another thinks we just might: “I deny these charges entirely, and look forward to being vindicated in court.”

    Say, does any of this stuff sound familiar??????

    BARF!!!


  99. - taxmandan - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 3:09 pm:

    a friend:
    The annual gift exclusion is $12,000 for 2006 and $11,000 for 2005.

    Bribes and kickbacks of course, are fully taxable.


  100. - Slugo - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 3:14 pm:

    Madame Defarge,
    your post is by far is the funniest….laugh-out- loud cleverest quip I read today. Thanks, I need all the cheering up I can get as I fear that Rod Blagojevich will get another four years to run this state into the depths of heck.


  101. - 4% - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 3:33 pm:

    Bill -

    Unfortunately - you’re WRONG again -

    I am not a state worker - just a private sector employee who has seen my industry gouged repeatedly by this Governor.

    Gov. Rod said he would create jobs - we just didn’t know they would be in WI, IA, IN and other states.


  102. - 4% - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 3:35 pm:

    Bill -

    And its Filan who uses state time (oops, I mean personal time) to campaign.


  103. - Rich Miller - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 3:38 pm:

    Bill, I’ve seen your IP address.


  104. - Bill - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 3:43 pm:

    Rich,
    As you know I am not a state employee.


  105. - Buck Flagojevich - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 3:47 pm:

    taxmandan,

    Is the gift exclusion for anybody you give money to, or is it just an exclusion for family members receiving money? For example, a rich Daddy gives each family member the maximum allowable $ amount per year to lessen the death tax or avoid the death tax threshold on his remaining estate when the old man croaks.


  106. - Bill - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 3:48 pm:

    4%,
    Sorry, I thought that your name referred to the generous raise that the Gov. granted state eployees last December.
    Anyway, did you see the report that this past April(the last month for which figures are available) Illinois had over 140,000 new jobs created, the most in the nation. Illinois and the Governor were congratulated by none other than our estemed President, Goerge W. Bush.


  107. - Anthony - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 3:57 pm:

    “Michael Ascaridis released a statement through his lawyer, Democratic campaign donor Joseph A. Power”
    Am I correct that this is the same Joe Power who brought down Governor Ryan ? Why is Mike Ascaridis hiring a big shot lawyer like him?


  108. - Rich Miller - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 4:01 pm:

    Bill, as you know, taxpayers are at least involved with your Internet connection.


  109. - Marvelous Wonderful - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 4:04 pm:

    Bill -
    Good, then maybe W can appear in Rod’s next televison ad.


  110. - one of the 35 - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 4:05 pm:

    I agree with Slugo. Madame Defarge said so much with so few words. She is obviously quite aware of the “fund sweep” practice going on in executive agencies.


  111. - anon #5695 - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 4:10 pm:

    Rich-speaking of Filan’s timesheet, it might be worth your while to see if he was on vacation last Thursday. As Reeagan said, “trust but verify.”


  112. - Bill - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 4:15 pm:

    Touche!


  113. - a friend - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 4:19 pm:

    taxmandan..

    oh, how clever you are. bravo. however, the feds need a bit more to go on than snarky rhetoric.


  114. - Rich Miller - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 4:21 pm:

    :)


  115. - steve schnorf - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 4:27 pm:

    Folks, get real.

    If the allegation was made that some people within the Administration were manipulating and subverting the personnel process for political or personal ends, and this case looks like another example of it, I would say, “Looks like it to me , too. Business as usual.”

    But, the allegation here is that supposedly a long-time close friend and key campaign worker for the Governor paid him $1500 (indirectly) for a job for his wife and for that $1500 the Governor directed his staff to manipulate the personnel system so she would get the job. I think that’s such a silly suggestion it isn’t worth commenting on any more.


  116. - NumbersGuy - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 4:30 pm:

    Friend, taxmandan was not being snarky. At least not accidentally. ;) Both the detailed Federal Tax Code and the IRS Forms that most of us use when filling out our own returns say very clearly that bribes are to be included in “Other Income” on Line 33 or something like that of the Form 1040.

    AS far as the gift tax exclusion, there is no family member requirement. If Rich wants to give Bill $11,000 for Christmas, it’s perfectly legal.

    Just a guess, but ol’ Numbers thinks the Federales don’t need any help from us right now.


  117. - steve schnorf - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 4:36 pm:

    Oh, and gifts are not taxable to the recipient.


  118. - Anonymous - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 4:44 pm:

    Mr. Schnorf, it appears that the money wasn’t to “get a job” but rather a thank you for the job..


  119. - just a guy - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 4:55 pm:

    I’m curious…does any one know the date of this check in comparison to the date of the daugther’s birthday? Are they anyway close in proximity?


  120. - Bill - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 4:56 pm:

    Is it that impossible that the guy was just trying to be nice to a little girl that he has been close for her whole life?


  121. - OneMan - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 5:08 pm:

    No Bill it is not impossible. But it is a bit different. A gift to a child of that much? Do you have kids Bill? Do your friends give gifts to one of your children of that much, right around the time your wife is involved with employement with your buddies employer.

    It is not that impossible, just unlikely. Sort of like if a kid says ‘My dog ate my homework’ it is posible, but you are still going to look into it.

    You have to admit, even if it is all on the up and up the timing was a bit bone headed to say the least.

    OneMan


  122. - Focus People, Focus - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 5:14 pm:

    Kids,

    It will not be the gift that is the issue; the check triggered Mrs. A to go to the feds; they now have statements as to how she got the job, how it was reassigned, and that she never went to Whiteside or even knew where it was; THAT is the issue the G is/will be looking at.


  123. - Bill - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 5:16 pm:

    OK, OneMan, maybe you have a point about the bone headedness. It certainly would not the first instance of that but I still believe that the Governor is an honest man who tries to do the right thing. When he becomes aware of a problem he takes steps to rectify it.
    No. Nobody ever gave my kids $1500 for a gift but then again they really didn’t need it…neither does the Governor’s family.


  124. - Focus People, Focus - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 5:20 pm:

    My comments stand all the more so after update #4; no disrespect to Abby, but that is a classic non-answer. As far as the comments about her job performance go, ask the people at DNR about her performance and see what they say. I’ll give you a hint, it doesn’t match up.


  125. - tell me another - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 5:43 pm:

    Way to shut that barn door, Abby. If only the horse hadn’t already left. How do you sleep at night knowing you’re in with these crooks?


  126. - level headed - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 6:10 pm:

    was the job rutan exempt? I have not heard that anywhere…just wondering…if its exempt it doesn’t matter how she got the job…


  127. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 6:32 pm:

    Focus, People, Focus is right, the legal questions will most likely focus on the job placement, not the check.

    However, I do have some follow-up questions for the Three Musketeers:

    Abby: Was the check deposited in the mutual fund? Why didn’t the Governor report the gift for over three years? How could she have done the job well if it was in Whiteside County for a month, and she doesn’t even know where it is? You provided a laundry lit of gift exchanges, what was the next largest gift, after the 15-hundo?

    Mike: What were the other gifts you gave Amy, and what were their approximate values? You mention gifts to the Governor’s nephew, were they cash? What was the value of those gifts? Did you receive any invitations or solicitations from the Blagojevich campaign in 2003? Were you invited to, or did you attend, any events? If you attended any events, what was the ticket price for those events, and did you pay it?

    Bev - You now use the words “our” and “we,” but your early statements indicated that you had no idea that your husband had given $1500 to the Blagojevich’s until much later. When did your story change? Is it usual for your husband to make expenditures of that size without talking to you? What, exactly, was the process whereby you got your job?


  128. - Little Egypt - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 6:47 pm:

    Good goin’ YDD. Your questions hit ‘em in their testicular whatever. Does anyone not think for a minute that the Feds are monitoring this blog today? It’s not always the crime that will get ya - it’s the coverup. Interesting that GoverNOT Hairdo has not made a direct statement, or has he and I missed it. He’s had everyone else out there in front of him though. Oh, I can’t wait for the debates.


  129. - Bill - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 6:49 pm:

    Ydd,
    The answer from all of the musketeers should be that it is a family matter, has nothing to do with the camapign, and is none of your business. I think that that is what Abbey and Power were nicely trying to say in their statement. They probably also told the guy to muzzle his big mouthed wife.


  130. - Bill - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 6:52 pm:

    Little E,
    If the feds have to get info by monitoring this blog then the Gov has nothing to worry about.


  131. - state worker A - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 6:52 pm:

    I also have lifelong friends, however, I know what they like and what they dislike. I take the time and effort to buy them a gift for birthdays and Christmas. I get their kids a savings bond (if they are saving for college - $25.00) or gift card to their favorite store. I would never give my friend or their kids $1500.00. The governor should realize how inappropriate that appears especially when he made all the state employees take that (STUPID AND WORTHLESS) ethics exam. I think he needs to redo his exam.


  132. - Anonymous - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 6:56 pm:

    Bill,

    You try the ‘family matter’ defense in front of a jury and see how far it gets you. Try Oxford, WI.

    Do you really feel compelled to toss your credibility out the window with Rod’s, ‘Bill’?


  133. - So Blue Democrat - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 7:02 pm:

    The issue is that the DNR job was listed in Whiteside County, and the lady didn’t even know where Whiteside County was located.

    I am a lifelong Democrat and will not vote for the current Governor again. I believed him that he would reform state government. In fact, there needs to be a major overhaul of the civil service system in Illinois. It is very diffficult to hire bright individuals at the present time (in the past at least you had a 50% chance). First level supervisors do not have time to train staff any more due to other responsibilities due to the reduced staffing levels in state government. It is also very difficult to eliminate dead wood in the system. I am doing everything to get out of state government. It is on the verge of a major meltdown.


  134. - GetAGrip - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 7:03 pm:

    Well thank goodness for Abbey, I feel much better now that the first statements have been retracted and that nothing improper was done. It’s wonderful we have a Governor that is so ethical and has cleaned-up government since that evil Goerge Ryan was in office. I just wish everybody would quit questioning his motives. Just believe in him people… He is the real deal, a real asset to the State.

    See ya in 5 Rod.

    Your freinds(Scoundrals) that are State Employed.


  135. - Bill - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 7:03 pm:

    Anon,
    This is a blog, not court. There is no jury. There are no charges. What happened is that the Trib talked to a disgruntled spouse who made unsubstaniated charges against the Gov which she now regrets. The Trib in all of their unbiased glory made headline news out of it so that they could ignore their candidate’s floundering in the latest polls while the Gov picked up important endorsements.
    My credibility will recover in about 56 days on Nov. 7.


  136. - GetAGrip - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 7:07 pm:

    Gee Bill, It would seem a lot of the Governors so called close freinds and family keep saying things then retract them… I keep seeing your attempts to defend him, but they are getting weaker by the day.


  137. - Buck Flagojevich - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 7:12 pm:

    UPDATE 6: Notice this quote.
    “Like a lot of parents, the Governor and the First Lady set up a mutual fund to help pay for college for their daughters – and that’s been dutifully reported.”

    Hmmm. Did Rod and Patti create (set up) a mutual fund or did they invest in a mutual fund? There is a wee bit of a difference in that language. To “set up” (create) a mutual fund is a big money endeavor, hmmmm. Plus it needs to be managed, regular reporting to the Feds, etc. To “invest” in a mutual fund is another completely different thing. Geez, they must be shook up a Blago central. They can’t even get their terminology correct. And they do the state’s budget? Oy!


  138. - Budget Watcher - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 7:18 pm:

    The $1500 appears to be a thank you to the Governor for intervening for a friend. Hey, if the governor can’t get his friend’s wife a job, what’s the point in being governor? My guess is the governor said to his staff, “find a job for her, and don’t tell me how you do it.” So they did, the friend showed his gratitude by signing over the first paycheck, and no one thought twice about it until now.

    As previous posters have said, the real problem lies in the method of securing the job by circumventing hiring laws, not the rather awkward gift exchange and double-talk from the Ascaridis duo. There’s probably a story there too, but it’s probably a story best left alone.


  139. - Buck Flagojevich - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 7:20 pm:

    Bill.

    That woman sure made up an elaborate unsubstantiated charge against the Gov. It also looks like she did her homework to make it look like it really may have happened the way she first said it did. I wonder how/why she chose Whiteside County out of all the counties in Illinois?


  140. - NumbersGuy - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 7:24 pm:

    Bill, I beg to differ with you. This is more than a family matter for a public official.

    The statement of economic interest was legislated for a legitimate public policy reason. The people of Illinois deserve to know when their public officials and employees are receiving income in addition to their public salary. When a Governor reports a change to his economic interest statement years after the fact in the wake of an interview by Federal investigators, questions are bound to arise.

    In assesing the suitability for office of any Governor, the people are entitled to prompt and direct answers to fair and reasonable questions.

    Setting aside the hiring half of this issue, the Governor could have settled this on Friday with a copy of the confirmation document from the mutual fund showing that the family used the check to purchase shares for the college fund or some equivalent transaction. (e.g. deposited the check, wrote another to the mutual fund)

    Instead, the people received a brushoff from the flacks, closing with the “absolutely ludicrous” tagline.

    To the extent no such document has been provided, or any documentation at all for that matter, the validity of the statements, and of the Governor’s own veracity become even more questionable.

    Bill, I’m curious if your 18th century position on the status of women “muzzle his big-mouthed wife” is the official position of the Blagojevich campaign? The two are usually in sync.

    If so, perhaps the 70,000+ female members of the IEA might want to know that before they follow the IFT down the Blagojevich road to..to..wherever.


  141. - times r a changin - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 7:38 pm:

    whats the over/under on gov elvis getting indicted I’ll set the line at oct20th


  142. - NumbersGuy - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 7:41 pm:

    Bill, it’s a good thing this is a blog, not a court. The CapFax Kangaroo Court appears to have found your client guilty as charged by approx. 100 to 6.


  143. - Bill - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 7:50 pm:

    Numbers,
    Only you would take the time to count up the score.


  144. - Bill - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 7:54 pm:

    …and I only speak for myself,not the Blago campaign. It is absolutely ludicrous to think otherwise.


  145. - OneMan - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 8:18 pm:

    Now kids, I may disagree with Bill but I don’t think he is a Blago shill. He does make a point, there is a chance that this may be nothing. Also if the only post are Rod is a boob it would be rather dull thread.

    But it might be nothing but some bad judgement in timing and forgeting to report it may have been a simple mistake. Unlikely, but it may be.

    This part of Abby’s statement makes no sense to me.

    When Mike and Beverly were married, the Governor and the First Lady gave them a check.

    Since they gave them a check instead of a food processor as a wedding gift that explains a $1,500 cash gift to a child? What?

    As we saw with George, like it or not, kids are not part of what needs to be looked at when it comes to misconduct.


  146. - ILPundit - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 8:19 pm:

    It’s hardly encouraging for Blagojevich supporters that it took nearly 24 hours for the Governor, his best friend, and his best friends wife to get on the same page with their stories….


  147. - Gregor - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 8:20 pm:

    You know, they could have put the dirty money in one of those Topinka “Bright Start” college funds….


  148. - DeepFriedOnAStick - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 8:26 pm:

    Poor, Poor Bill.


  149. - Fearless Freep - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 8:28 pm:

    For those who support Blago on this, ask yourselves: When is the last time you gave your best friend’s kid $1,500 for his/her birthday?

    My wife and I know other couples whom we consider “good friends” too. And when its their kids’ birthday, we buy them a toy or a gift card or something. We don’t give them a check for $1,500.


  150. - Lou Nova - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 8:38 pm:

    Well I think the Governor is a stand up guy !


  151. - larry - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 8:44 pm:

    Stand up indeed! Please stand up and put your hands behind your back….


  152. - NumbersGuy - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 8:45 pm:

    Bill, I’ll take the 7:50 as props, friend.

    Touche at 7:54.

    Numbers


  153. - disgusted - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 8:52 pm:

    when is the general (polling) public going to wake up and realize vanity smurf blago is lying to us…the taxpayers on a regular basis? it seems the administration has to backtrack on everything they say once people start looking into the obvious misconduct.

    is patrick going to stop the madness before the election or do we have to endure the lies for four more years? i don’t think judy is much better but maybe she will behave as governor because the us attorney has made it clear politicians in illinois will pay for their corruption. i agree…times are changing in illinois politics.


  154. - Still Anon - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 8:55 pm:

    Whether $1500 is a lot or a little depends on how you look at it - a WHOLE lot for a kid’s birthday present, but embarassingly little as the sum for which someone with the rank of governor would sell his office. Getting busted for that sum would be just plain humiliating!


  155. - OneMan - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 9:02 pm:

    Seriously you are going to have to spin this differently than they are friends and this is normal. Because $1,500 gifts to someones kids from a buddy of theirs is NOT NORMAL as the father of two children I wish it was, but it isn’t. At the very least the timing of the gifts relative to her job has to be one of the dumbest political moves I have ever seen.

    It is sort of like a Social Conservative Republican who was seen coming out of strip club saying he just had to use the rest room, it is plausible but not really believable.


  156. - A check for what.... - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 9:03 pm:

    Alright, issues aside. Buying jobs… Inappropriate gifts… albeit mega generous…family matter, etc. etc. What wife/husband finds a suspicious check…calls the feds… THEN decides she might want to ask the spouse and the ‘lawyer?’ Let’s talk basics…c’mon married people out there… oh, gee, honey the tribune called today… oh, it was nothing important…

    What lies beneath the turbid waters that may soon churn to the surface….


  157. - wondering - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 9:26 pm:

    Rich - Did the gov take, I mean pass his ethics test?


  158. - TEDDY - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 9:34 pm:

    LIES ALL LIES
    ROD IS THE BEST GOVERNOR SINCE ABE LINCOLN
    STOPS THE LIES
    PRESCHOOL HEALTH CARE


  159. - Anonymous - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 9:35 pm:

    hooray for 9:03; you get it. BA went directly to the feds. why? what prompted the public airing of this issue to start with? how did a simple city worker happen to lawyer up with Joseph Power? why? is this a new issue or part of an ongoing one? think.


  160. - leigh - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 9:41 pm:

    Does anybody think the Gov’s spokesperson does anything but make him look dumber?


  161. - Just the facts - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 9:46 pm:

    Schnorf @ 4:27 - so this is different than Larry Warner paying for the band at George’s daughter’s wedding?

    Read Rich’s Capital Fax of today again. He makes a good point about what the feds do, and should do (in my estimation), about this kind of stuff.


  162. - Rex - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 9:58 pm:

    Let’s try this spin - Mrs. Ascaridis said she had been misquoted. Instead of saying “I hate the Governor with every fiber of my being,” she meant to say “she should have eaten more fiber in her beef.” Poor Mrs. Ascaridis.


  163. - larry - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 10:13 pm:

    Yeah!… She was misquoted. Thats the ticket.

    Reminds me of the time I asked the hot girl for a dance, when she rudly refused my offer, I said “No, no, you misunderstood me, I said, You Look FAT in Those Pants”


  164. - cynically anonymous - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 10:15 pm:

    This administration seems to have a habit of putting people in jobs that belong in one county and then moving the job to wherever the person needs it to be (i know it happened at dhs). Actually, this administration seems to do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, just because it can. And I was a little surprised to see the IFT endorsement (buried as it was) because none of my friends who teach are particularly enamored of the wonderful things the gov has done for them. Rich Whitney would probably win if he had changed his name to “none of the above”.


  165. - Martha Mitchell - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 10:17 pm:

    Remember how the feds got Al Capone? It wasn’t racketeering, murder, numbers, illegal hooch hauling or making sure that jobs got filled by “somebody that somebody sent.” It was for tax evasion! So a little thing like this check affair could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

    I was right about Nixon and Rich Mell is right about his so-called son-in-law.


  166. - Just Saying - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 10:32 pm:

    I just couldn’t let this one go…

    “The answer from all of the musketeers should be that it is a family matter, has nothing to do with the camapign, and is none of your business. I think that that is what Abbey and Power were nicely trying to say in their statement. They probably also told the guy to muzzle his big mouthed wife.”

    Ahem… The governor is SO worried about his family privacy that he used a state agency to pursue a grudge against his father-in-law, blamed his wife for refusing to take a pay cut, blamed his own daughter for not moving to Springfield, inserted his other child into the first press availability he had with the Springfield press corps in eons, put the babysitter on the civil service commission and now accepted a $1,500 check to his daughter’s “college fund” from his campaign treasurer?

    I don’t think the press is the one dragging the governor’s family into the nasty world of politics. No. That would be the governor himself.


  167. - the ole precinct captain - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 10:40 pm:

    Madame Defarge forgot to add that the treasurer refused to transfer the funds and now all are in court. One of the funniest comments I have read in awhile. I think that deserves a free lunch.


  168. - Anon - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 10:48 pm:

    I think Bill is probably right about one thing - that it is probably right that the Guy gave the kid a gift b/c they had known the family a long time. May seem like a lot to most of us, but hey, if she can collect then more power to her.

    I think that the bigger part of the story is the job for Mrs. A. I don’t think it had anything to do with the check. If it did that is pretty pathetic and stuipid. While I don’t put it past this Gov to do something so stupid, I doubt that this was quid pro quo - at least in terms of the check for the girl.

    I think this story fits in with the bigger hiring issue with this Governor. It is clear to me that the hiring rules were manipulated to get this family friend a job. She admits she never worked in Whiteside County, which is where the job was “located” when she got it. I think there is some major explaining to do here.

    And don’t give me that “bad apples” crap. This kind of stuff does not get done unless somebody is ordered to do so. Somebody high up in the Governor’s office (yes I said Governor’s office, not CMS) screwed up BIG TIME.

    While it may have been “open season” after so many years of Republican rule, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about hiring. You cannot fire and hire on a wholesale basis anybody you want to. A decision called Rutan got rid of that little legacy in this state.

    I hope people recognize the incompetence (at a minimum) or lawbreaking callousness (at a maximum) of this administration prior to the election. It would be gravy if the feds came out with indictments before then, but I think that has as much chance of happening as pigs flying.

    People need to think before they vote. If they do, the Governor can say goodbye to being Governor.


  169. - larry - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 10:50 pm:

    TO Just Saying, you left out the fact that Blago amended his disclosure to include a gift from the baby sitter as well. Not sure yet if that after her appointment to the Civil Service Commission ot if gift was $1,500 also….BTW didn’t G Ryan accept gifts from low level employees?


  170. Pingback Reverse Spin » Questions piling up for Rod - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 11:10 pm:

    […] Everybody has questions for Rod Blagojevich and the $1,500 check written to his seven-year-old daughter for her “college fund” from the husband of a woman who just was hired by the state. Rich Miller has questions and reader activity over here, and ditto Eric Zorn over here. Nationally, the laughter is barely stifled. Zorn sums up why answers are needed. It looks like a malodorous example of business as usual from the earnest mop-top who campaigned four years ago as a reformer. […]


  171. - the ole precinct captain - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 11:16 pm:

    After surfing the Tribune and reading the latest poll the party is over, the spending of the Blago campaign continues, the captains hit the streets, and Topinka has no money or an organization which leads to a victory by the governor. We all know a lot can happen and has but it is beginning to point in the right direction for the Gov. We will all see and continue to post.


  172. - NoneOfTheAbove - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 11:17 pm:

    Didn’t Jim Edgar get a free computer for his home from MSI that was worth a lot more than $1,500? If he paid for it, it was only after it became an issue. Funny how after all the, not just investigations, but actually indictments during his administration, he’s considered Mr. Clean. Meanwhile some bitter state workers on here want to lynch Blago. Let’s face it, it’s all about who’s better for state workers, and nothing about outrage over corruption.


  173. - the Other Anonymous - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 11:33 pm:

    Regarding update #5 — did the Blagojevich family deposit the check in the college fund.

    If the money went into the college fund, I think the Governor and his wife get the same benefit. I mean, the college fund reduces the amount of money the Blagojevich family will pay out of pocket for college expenses in the future. Such a gift certainly wasn’t made to please Blagojevich’s daughter; I don’t know of any seven-year who gets excited about a college fund.

    No, the gift was clearly intended to impress or give tribute to the Governor. I tend to agree that Ms. Ascaridis did not “pay” to get her job. But it’s equally clear that the check was some sort of “thank you” for the Governor’s help.

    I’ll leave it to a judge and jury to decide if this violates the law. But it certainly opens a window into how Blagojevich — or at least those close to him — views his position.

    It’s almost like bringing a lavish birthday gift to Tony Soprano’s daughter; it doesn’t directly get you anything, but it shows the appropriate tribute to the boss.


  174. - eec - Monday, Sep 11, 06 @ 11:52 pm:

    exactly. now how else could you show tribute to the boss? what other family member could you ‘assist’? how? would there be a way to check it? how? think.


  175. - Buck Flagojevich - Tuesday, Sep 12, 06 @ 12:41 am:

    NoneOfTheAbove, You are definitely barking up the wrong tree. I was with the state from Thompson through Blagojevich. The crap that has gone on since Blago took office cannot be matched by anything that happened prior. Yes, GRyan was just sentenced to prison for his misdeeds while being an elected official, but his term as Governor was positively humanitarian compared to what Blago and his merry band of miscreants have orchestrated. It’s a wonder this state can still manage to function with how badly this administration has crippled service delivering agencies. The big reason why it is messed up? Because Rod gets a kick seeing his name plastered everywhere. The government in Illinois grinds to a halt until a blessing is sent from the Governor’s office to proceed with an action. Whether it be new letterhead or money for the poor, nothing moves until it gets the blesing. What a vain, primping little boy Rod is.


  176. - Buck Flagojevich - Tuesday, Sep 12, 06 @ 1:00 am:

    From what I recall, and from looking through a State Telephone directory, there was no DNR Office in DuPage County a couple years back. Did I miss this facility or was there an office opened in DuPage while Rod was busy downsizing DNR everywhere else in the state?


  177. - annon. in central illinois - Tuesday, Sep 12, 06 @ 6:34 am:

    Pretty bad using the child as a “conduit” to run funds, campaign $$, illegal or otherwise. Who in the hell hands over a check for $1,500.00 to a small child, who’s dad happens to be governor & wa-la a “state job”. If the concern was the kids education buy a savings bond or open up an account in her name…..at pass book rate it might amount to something when she’s ready for school. Why doesn’t someone really point this “stuff” out or it’s 4 more of this guy & his tribe !!!!


  178. - GetAGrip - Tuesday, Sep 12, 06 @ 6:41 am:

    Not to worry, the Governor can stand in a soy bean field and talk about how ethanol is the answer to pay for AllKIds, IsaveRX and that all gifts from employees or those about to be employed should make the checks out Amy Blago.


  179. - I know noTHINK! - Tuesday, Sep 12, 06 @ 8:03 am:

    Here’s the skinny. Ascaridis’ PSA job posted in Whiteside county as part-time. No vets on list there I would bet. She started in the position August 1, 2003. One month later, the job is geographically transferred to DuPage County and changed to full-time, all with her in it. Rutan-exempt or not, this one still covered by vets’ preference. DuPage County was/is probably full of PSA veteran candidates. Even if there was a vet in Whiteside, he/she may not have been interested in part-time work, Now when was that check written and when was the rabbit statement made?

    Interestingly as a follow-up, gov’s office top lawyer puts out memo to Paul Campbell (CMS “Director”) in July 2006 saying no more transferring people until they complete two years of service. Isn’t that weird since CMS is statutorily charged with administering personnel? Anyway, it’s all a little too late; apparently horse was already out of the gate.

    Wonder which underling will go under the bus for this one? Will be real hard to throw the DNR personnel operative under; she cohabitates with a gov office deputy chief.

    If these things come out one at a time, we’re going to be reading for years. Real stand up operation.


  180. - Randolph Reader - Tuesday, Sep 12, 06 @ 9:01 am:

    I believe State Representative Dan Reitz has a wife employed at DNR and sons employed at other state agencies. Is DNR one of the agenices where the Governor’s office dumps political hires? Can we say Sam Flood! Taxpayers need lists of relatives and close associates of our ELECTED OFFICIALS who have been hired under the Blagojevich administration.


  181. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 12, 06 @ 9:10 am:

    As much as I’d like to hit 200 comments on a post, I’m gonna close this one. Go here instead. Thanks!


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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