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More on the governor’s “mystery debt”

Wednesday, Aug 2, 2006

The AP ran a pretty standard story on the subject.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s re-election campaign wouldn’t say Tuesday whether its huge legal bills during the first half of the year stem from criminal investigations of the administration’s hiring practices.

New documents show the law firm Winston & Strawn billed the campaign more than $687,000. At this point in the campaign four years ago, Blagojevich’s legal bills amounted to just $2,748.

Campaign spokesman Sheila Nix said the firm’s work includes routine election law, handling nuisance lawsuits and reviewing state hiring procedures to make sure they comply with the law.

Nix would not discuss whether it also includes responding to a federal probe of Blagojevich hiring practices or the similar state investigation recently shelved at the request of federal prosecutors.

The Tribune reminded us that before the governor’s campaign clammed up, it did discuss the fees back in February.

In February, when the campaign reported spending about $40,000 in legal fees, campaign aides acknowledged that the money in part covered legal work for the federal and state probes.

But the campaign now is not discussing the legal work, and on Tuesday, the governor’s office would not comment on whether Winston & Strawn was performing any legal services for the governor, his state agencies or his employees regarding the investigations.

Here’s a great quote:

“The money was spent to make sure we were doing everything right,” Nix said. “I’m not going into any more detail than that.”

The Daily Herald leads with the Ryan stuff.

Four years ago, Rod Blagojevich won the governor’s race with a strategy that largely relied on connecting his Republican rival to scandal-plagued Gov. George Ryan.

It now appears Blagojevich’s current Republican rival is trying to turn the tables on the Chicago Democrat, although possibly at her own peril.

But turns it back on Topinka.

The situation illustrates the political problems Topinka and almost any other Republican has in trying to play the “Ryan card” for political gain. Ryan, the former speaker of the Illinois House, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and one-term governor, was immensely popular within many political circles and helped numerous candidates before being tainted by scandal late in his tenure.

“That’s so hypocritical. She has so many connections to George Ryan,” said Blagojevich spokeswoman Sheila Nix.

And OneMan calculates that to spend $722,000 since December at $500 an hour works out to…

…on average about 206 partner hours a month or 6.8 hours a day for each day of a 31 day month.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

8 Comments
  1. - Walking Wounded - Wednesday, Aug 2, 06 @ 8:23 am:

    Well, I guess the theme of both candidates’ campaigns is “Who would we have to blame if it wasn’t for George Ryan.” I swear Ryan gets more press now than he did prior to his conviction.


  2. - Blackberry - Wednesday, Aug 2, 06 @ 8:53 am:

    Man, Sheila Nix is one shrill mouth piece…you can almost hear her foaming at the mouth!


  3. - Pat Collins - Wednesday, Aug 2, 06 @ 9:07 am:

    on average about 206 partner hours a month or 6.8 hours a day for each day of a 31 day month.

    Well, there are undoubtedly travel and other expenses there also. Still, a boat load of money.


  4. - Anon. - Wednesday, Aug 2, 06 @ 9:11 am:

    Rumor has it…..IDOT was directed to send all their original signed contracts to a law firm in Chicago around three weeks ago. From what I was told, they were sent to Winston and Strawn. Can anyone confirm this information and explain why a department would have to do this?


  5. - Madame Defarge - Wednesday, Aug 2, 06 @ 9:37 am:

    knitting indicates “Power washing guy” may have been signing more than just his own name to some contracts.


  6. - Anon. - Wednesday, Aug 2, 06 @ 11:53 am:

    Madame Defarge 9:37 - that explains why IDOT coordinated signature cards last year for signature authority for contracts.


  7. - anon - Wednesday, Aug 2, 06 @ 3:12 pm:

    One would think that if any of this were legal bills accrued for state business/legal troubles, it wouldn’t have been listed on his D2s. Am I right in assuming that this is all for personal/campaign related legal bills/trouble. If so, that’s an outrageous amount of money, especially without any court time.


  8. - Snidely Whiplash - Wednesday, Aug 2, 06 @ 9:46 pm:

    That amount of fees in such a short period of time can only mean an indictment is on the way … perhaps it’s research, interviewing witnesses, etc. with regard to a grand jury investigation? It’s POSSIBLE that it was paid for by the campaign fund in order that it’s nature wouldn’t have to be disclosed, i.e., they didn’t want the public to know that a grand jury was empaneled to issue an indictment against “Public Official A.”


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