Blagojevich and Levine *** Updated x1 ***
Monday, Oct 30, 2006
Steve Rhodes has a spot-on, in-depth take on the relationship between Stu Levine and Rod Blagojevich. It cuts right through the phony spin coming out of the governor’s campaign and is a must-read for any reporter covering this controversy.
(T)he more telling aspect of Levine’s deal in my mind was the implication of Blagojevich’s pal, Chris Kelly, in wrongdoing. Kelly and the recently-indicted Tony Rezko have been the governor’s two closest advisors. If the governor was merely betrayed by his two closest advisors, that’s still a pretty damning indictment (no pun intended) of his judgement in who he has given the keys to state government to. And, just to give the governor the benefit of the doubt for sake of argument, if he never paid attention to press reports swirling about Rezko and Kelly and never called them in and read them the riot act, he failed to do his job. If he never bothered to ask about what his father-in-law, Ald. Dick Mell once alleged - that state board and commission seats were being sold for $50,000 campaign contributions - he was derelict. (Mell recanted that allegation in the face of a libel suit, but perhaps only to clear a path for fededral investigators, much as county and state officials have done.) In addition, Joe Cari has told federal investigators that he was offered a state board or commission seat in exchange for a campaign contribution, even though Blagojevich has tried pass off Cari’s allegations as “triple hearsay” - which they are not.
He goes on to remind people that there were big questions about Levine when Blagojevich reappointed him to the hospital board and the Teachers Retirement System board. For instance, after Levine resigned from the Gaming Board in 2001, press reports revealed that he hadn’t disclosed investments in Argosy Gaming Co., an Illinois casino owner that he had regulated. And then there’s this…
Go read the whole thing.
*** UPDATE *** The governor defends his wife’s business dealings with a state contractor.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Monday said anyone who suggests his wife got private real estate deals with a state contractor because he is governor is acting like a “Neanderthal” and being “sexist.”
I put this here because Rhodes wrote about this topic as well.
“It’s unfair and completely ridiculous to suggest she should keep track of every client she does business with to see if they have contracts with the state,” said Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff, of Patti Blagojevich’s real estate business.