Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Watch Fitzgerald press conference live *** Fresh comment thread *** Cross wants resignation, Madigan silent *** Thomspon Center raided *** Blagojevich & Harris to appear at 1:30 today *** Cross wants impeachment hearings *** Ambinder: Rep. Jackson is Senate Candidate 5 ***
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Watch Fitzgerald press conference live *** Fresh comment thread *** Cross wants resignation, Madigan silent *** Thomspon Center raided *** Blagojevich & Harris to appear at 1:30 today *** Cross wants impeachment hearings *** Ambinder: Rep. Jackson is Senate Candidate 5 ***

Tuesday, Dec 9, 2008 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The US Attorney’s 11 o’clock press confernce will be carried live on CBS 2. Watch it here…


* 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. […]

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.


  1. - Segatari - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:16 am:

    Last year’s “Get Packin’ Rod Blagojevich” song still fits perfectly here.

  2. - Pat collins - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:21 am:

    If Rod is in jail, who calls the legislature into session to impeach him?

    Special sessions of the General Assembly may also be convened by joint proclamation of the presiding officers of both houses,

    Looks like Sen. Jones picked a bad time not to be Senate Pres. Or did he?

  3. - Elliot Ness - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:22 am:

    No “Morning Shorts” this morning?

  4. - Vote Quimby! - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:23 am:

    If anything is apparent from this information, it is that Blago will not resign as governor. He can’t afford to–he will still get paid at least through the impeachment phase. The biggest question now is: who will Gov. Pat Quinn appoint to the Senate?

  5. - walter sobchak - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:24 am:

    I wonder at the potential criminal charges that may be coming for all those on the conference calls, all those making offers, the candidate who enlisted SEIU to cut a deal for her, for the emissaries, Sam Zell, the financial advisors, all the flies stuck by the taping on Blogjevich’s Senate replacement web. It is both an awful and good day for Illinois. The Winston & Strawn party tonight will be an interesting place to be.

  6. - GofGlenview - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:25 am:

    Happy Festivus. Or Merry Fitzamas. Another Christmas more Holiday Indictments. Got to love Fitzy’s style.

  7. - Ken in Aurora - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:27 am:

    I’m hoping for a Nick Nolte-esque booking photo.

  8. - Jake from Elwood - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:28 am:

    I believe that Rod is free to appoint himself as the US Senator despite these charges. Does anyone doubt that he may still go that route? He could be the next Ted Stevens. He might just appoint Patty.

  9. - Bill - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:29 am:

    As sorry as I am for Rod’s family I can’t help but be elated at the thought of John Harris arrested at his home and taken into federal custody.
    Not as smart and big time as you thought, buddy?

  10. - Heartless Libertarian - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:31 am:

    My thought was that he would appoint himself… he is the only one that would take it at this point… and is down? I can’t seem to get on.

  11. - The Doc - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:32 am:

    Perhaps out of desperation, it does appear that Blagojevich became increasingly brazen and sloppy over the last 2 months, as the charges announced are mostly of recent vintage.

    Interesting that his wife was also not taken into custody.

  12. - Deeda - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:33 am:

    This is Chicago Politics at its best. The ball will keep rolling with more arrests.

  13. - Don't Worry, Be Happy - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:33 am:

    Politico is reporting that Pat Quinn’s web site has crashed from all the traffic.

  14. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:36 am:

    The Governor’s site is down too.

  15. - Absentee Ballot - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:37 am:

    I could be mistaken, but I believe that Jones is still Senate President and hasn’t officially resigned yet. If so, what are the odds that he stalls on calling a special session to impeach?

    My two cents — Rod will NEVER resign

  16. - Knew it before term one - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:37 am:

    Has anyone else noticed that the State of Illinois website is down? Due to the FBI raid? Just too much traffic? Or are any of you able to access it?

  17. - Macbeth - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:39 am:

    So … wait — does this mean he’s not running for a third term?

    Wow. Reading that 78-page complaint is like something out of a David Mamet play — complete with Blagojevich’s wife yelling expletives into the phone about the Wrigley deal.

    I finished it a few minutes ago and felt icky. I’m saddened first of all — but then astonished. This guy knows he’s under scrutiny — and is talking about how much he can get from so-and-so and such-and-such? It’s also telling, of course, that he admits he doesn’t want to be governor. He can barely wait out the two years left.

    Wow. Please tell me that this is not representative of the people we’ve elected.

    I realize politics is rough — but this sickens me.

  18. - OneMan - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:39 am:

    If he appoints himself there is no way the US Seante seats him (they have the right to seat members).

    Anyone he appoints besides Bill is really tainted.

    If we want a second US Senator they have to impeach him.

    I would argue the charges reguarding the senate seat kind of force them to impeach and impeach them now.

  19. - Lake Voter - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:40 am:

    Does anyone else get the feeling that Senate candidate #5 is Cong. Jackson based on the timeline? If it is he could be toast.

  20. - BandCamp - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:40 am:

    All this makes me think of the moniker who posts here:

    Makes Ryan look like a Saint

    Argue if you can.

    His life is over. Fast forward 10 years:
    RB: “Would you like mayo and pickle on that burger?”

  21. - scoot - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:43 am:

    I would like to say, I have been waitng for this day since 2003!!!

  22. - Sam Zell - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:43 am:

    I am curious if the Tribune declaring bankruptcy has anything to do with this. I cant figure out how, but I wonder.

  23. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:44 am:

    Shades of Gary Hart, the philandering persidential candidate who dared the media to investigate him during his period of brazen dalliance.

  24. - Bass Man - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:45 am:

    I agree with Rich…this is only the beginning. Now I believe the inverse of the Pied Piper is gonna happen, where the rats of sweet hack-dom appointed with validation of 3-4″ thick brown envelopes will be looking for a new job. The various executive staffs of cabinet agencies will start writing their resignation letters to “spend time with family” or other such nonsense. Regular agency staff…hold off on sending any memo’s up the ladder…they’re not gonna be answered in a timely manner for a few months!

  25. - Old Shepherd - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:47 am:

    My heart breaks for Annie and Amy.

  26. - Secret Square - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:48 am:

    Obama would have nothing to lose and everything to gain by publicly calling upon Rod to resign so that the process of choosing his Senate successor is not tainted. Whether Rod listens to him, of course, is another story.

    It does seem that Blago was tired of being governor and was looking to leave his job anyway pretty soon. Does this mean he might be more readily convinced to resign after all?

  27. - jerry - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:48 am:

    So does this give us Governor-Elect Pat Quinn?

    It’s a beautiful day.

  28. - scoot - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:50 am:

    A very big Thank You! to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Illinois.

  29. - Anon - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:51 am:

    Look for an announcement that everyone gets free CTA rides from now on.

  30. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:51 am:

    How come it takes the feds to catch all this. Where is our attorney general - isn’t that part of her job?

  31. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:54 am:

    Ravings from shock:

    – The U.S. Senate will not accept Rod’s appointment of himself or anyone else.

    – The federales had to move quickly before he made an appointment. Thank God they did.

    – Kudos to Fox Chicago for staying with the story this morning. The nets and WGN went to their regular programming. Unbelievable.

    – Makings of an Insanity Defense: No one could be that stupid.

    – The next stupidest politician in Illinois? Senate Candidate 5.

    – Madigan and Cullerton have to move now for impeachment, not wait for the new GA. If they don’t, their motivations will be questioned.

    – Rod brought up Watergate yesterday? Surreal.

    – A talking head on Fox makes the point that Rod replaced Al Ronan, Rosty and George Ryan, running as a reformer. Laugh or cry?

    – Dan Walker is on Fox right now saying he’s “shocked that anyone would do such a thing.” Calls on him to resign. Super-surreal.

  32. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:57 am:

    Today of all days I can’t believe I am agreeing with Bill, but John Harris is one of the worst human beings I have ever met. On this blog, I have compared him to being Blago’s Roy Cohn. Illinois owes a great debt to Patrick Fitzgerald.

  33. - Oh my Bama - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:58 am:

    I take no personal joy in this mess. It’s a sad day for Illinois and we continue to be a political joke to the rest of the country. What a black stain to the many hard working and honest elected officials we have in Illinois.

  34. - ZC - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:59 am:

    Anonymous 10:51 - you need to follow current events more closely. Fitzgerald ASKED Lisa Madigan to stay out of this investigation. Look before you leap.

  35. - OneMan - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 10:59 am:

    Also I would argue he has to be out of office before the final bid package goes to the IOC otherwise it really harms the bid, perhaps faitaly.

  36. - Been There - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 11:00 am:

    I feel pretty stupid myself. Just yesterday I was talking about the sense it made if Rod appointed either Emil or someone else who could help him financilly with contributions. The stupid part was I said that they would be smart enough to just assume those contributions would happen and it couldn’t happen as a quid pro quo and probably over time, since all of his conversations were being taped. I can’t believe I was stupid enough to think they couldn’t be stupid enough.

  37. - John Bambenek - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 11:00 am:

    That’ll teach Rod for messing with Bank of America… what did it take, like 12 hours? :)

    Patti is implicated all over this, the deal is she gets house arrest and she can raise the kids and Blago resigns now, or they both go to the can and the kids go to foster care. Blago will be out today.

  38. - Levois - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 11:00 am:

    What a day this has become! I never thought I’d have seen the day for this!

  39. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 11:02 am:

    When can we expect that “joint proclamation” of Cullerton and MJM? It’s obvious the gov is not gonna call a Special session for his own impeachment. And the business of the state is at a critical time, with an empty US Senate seat, an incoming native son as President, “the largest federal public works program since the Interstate highway construction”, as well as a state capital bill hanging in the balance…this is no time to have a mortally wounded CEO at the helm.

  40. - shoeless jim - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 11:04 am:

    What was he thinking? [!!!]

  41. - OneMan - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 11:07 am:

    Jackson 5?

  42. - Santa Claus - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 11:07 am:

    Merry Christmas, Illinoisans. I decided to come early to your state this year.

  43. - 60657 - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 11:07 am:

    Valerie Jarrett removing herself from consideration for the Senate seat a few weeks ago looks _extremely_ prescient now, eh? Obama’s people had to know this was coming. Good on them to not play ball with Blago.

  44. - Gabriel S - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 11:10 am:

    Senate Candidate 5’s credentials.
    - “elevated” to the Senate seat(Jackson Jr., Danny Davis, Emil Jones, Jan Schakowsky)
    - male(drop Jan)
    - able to raise $500k(drop none)
    - met with the Governor(Jackson Jr.)

    Jackson Jr. should confirm he’s Senate Candidate 5 before the end of the day.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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