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This just in…

Monday, Apr 28, 2008

* 11:04 am - From the SJ-R

Senate President Emil Jones won’t be part of the lawsuit over Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s authority to set both the date and time of special sessions.

Sangamon County Judge Leo Zappa Monday decided to limit the lawsuit to House Speaker Michael Madigan while acknowledging that any decision will affect the Senate as well as the House. Zappa said adding Jones to the lawsuit could result in more delays and the proceeding could end up a “circus.”

Zappa also refused to dismiss the lawsuit, ordering lawyers for Blagojevich and Madigan to be ready to argue the case May 13.

No offense, but it’s already a “circus,” judge.

* 12:17 pm - Rezko allegedly talked big

Tony Rezko associate Elie Maloof just testified that when he received a grand jury subpoena, Rezko told him not to talk to the feds. Why?

“The federal prosecutor will no longer be the same federal prosecutor,” Maloof just testified that Rezko told him. What did Rezko mean, prosecutor Chris Niewoehner asked. “That Patrick Fitzgerald would be terminated and Dennis Hastert will name his replacement. The investigation will be over.”

Maloof said Rezko told him of Fitzgerald’s replacement: “That they will order the prosecutor to stop the investigation.” […]

Maloof also testified that Rezko told him not to bring up his name to prosecutors because it would only link to Gov. Blagojevich.

* 5:21 pm - Once again, Paul Vallas dangles a candidacy, saying he “would be open” to exploring a bid for governor…

But before Vallas’ admirers rush him with encouragement to make another attempt at the state’s highest office, Vallas cautioned that it would be next year before he would seriously entertain such a notion – or any other future job prospect. Vallas is now entering his second year as head of the state-run Recovery School District in New Orleans, and his contract does not expire until June 2009.

“I’d be open to running again, but we’ll have to see what happens,” Vallas told reporters after speaking to a luncheon crowd at the City Club of Chicago.

Vallas’ appearance at the City Club aroused thoughts that he might consider public office again in Illinois. Vallas did little to tamp down that speculation. He stuck strictly to education in his speech, but when questions from audience members and reporters flew his way about again seeking public office, Vallas said three times that one should “never say never” about such a prospect.

He even mused he could raise money this time in a more “non-traditional fashion,” such as over the Internet. He noted that he only raised $2.25 million overall for his gubernatorial bid in 2002 and that raising substantial political funds has been a personal shortcoming.

* The Sun-Times has more

“While some people have been dodging indictments, I’ve been running a school district,” Vallas said at one point. […]

Given that Democrats now claim majorities in both legislative chambers and hold the governor’s seat, “You would think that would give you the opportunity to really get things done,” Vallas said. “There’s been a lot of opportunities that have been squandered.”

“I think I feel the same way a lot of residents feel. I feel frustrated and angry. Look, I think I could have made a difference. Clearly I could have gotten along with the Legislature much better,” Vallas said.

“I’d be open to running again, but right now I wouldn’t make a decision until after the first of the year,” said Vallas, who won an unusual standing ovation before he even began speaking.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - VanillaMan - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 11:32 am:

    Why do I feel that Blagojevich’s lawsuit against Madigan and the House will not help him win friends at this crucial time in his ‘legacy’?

    The Governor might have thought he had some political gamesmanship available to play off of when he initially filed this suit, but the situation for him has changed. This is no longer the time to play these games, and he will be the loser even if this ends in a draw.

    The puglist in Blagojevich did not serve him well in this situation.

  2. - VanillaMan - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 11:32 am:

    puglist? pugilist!

  3. - Ghost - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 12:37 pm:

    The facts are not unwinding in a manner which would lead to the casting of doubt upon the decision to impeach.

    The question of impeachment needs to move from if to when.

  4. - Crimefighter - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 12:39 pm:

    Note to Rich Miller: The Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s law of requiring photo id before voting. Whatever hokey reasoning you had in opposing it and your avoidance of questions of your position during the IL primaries, the Supreme Court agrees with MY SIDE and the green light is lit for other states to adopt such laws.

  5. - There Are No Clean Getaways - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 12:41 pm:

    What was Tony thinking?

  6. - Downers Delight - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 12:41 pm:

    Is this what Lincoln meant by a “…government of the people, by the people, for the people…”?

  7. - Crimefighter - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 12:47 pm:

    And back on topic, I have to wonder why some Republicans were even thinking of helping cover Blagojevich and stop the investigation against him. The only plasuable arguement is that Republicans were angry about Lewis Libby being made the fall guy while the real leaker Richard Armitage got off scott-free and IL Democrats tried to take advantage of it.

  8. - Ghost - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 12:51 pm:

    Crimefighter OR Kjellander and cellini are big repub allies who are neck deep in this mess, and the repubs dont want to set the precendent that those politicos tied to these genetlmen should be ousted.

  9. - Truth - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 12:58 pm:

    All the crooks, republican or democrat, were trying to cover their own rears. Rezko, Kjellander, Cellini, POA and the gang.

    They didn’t git r done. Soon they will all be covering their rears somewhere else.

  10. - Undercover - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 1:02 pm:

    Oh my, Truth. I did not need that visual today. Or any day, actually.

  11. - Dan S, a Voter & Cubs Fan - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 1:09 pm:

    I can just hear the “Spin Sisters”, “This is not the way this administration does business……”.

  12. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 1:49 pm:

    The story doesn’t say when the conversation takes place, but the Maloof testimony is similar to the story Atta told about Rezko from late 2004, in which he claimed Rove and Kjellander were going to run Fitz out of town.

    I’d heard Hastert had lobbied hard for Rove to kill the Fitz appointment in 2001. But the idea that Dennis Hastert, the Speaker of the House, would risk his career and standing in history to participate in a move against Fitz in 2004, during the Plame grand jury, to save this cast of jamokes, is beyond absurd. Same for Rove.

    Whether Rezko was bragging to keep people in line, or he actually believed the stuff he was peddling, it brings me back to the Deep Throat line to Bob Woodward in “All the President’s Men:

    “The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand.”

    The next line: “Follow the money.”

  13. - Macbeth - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 1:49 pm:

    What was Tony thinking?

    I hope the state GOP is taking notes. This is gonna make for one HECKUVA interesting race for governor. The soundbytes — and rhetoric — will be (to put it mildly) scathing.

  14. - One of the 35 - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 2:03 pm:

    Elie Maloof is listed as a restaurant owner and former employee of Rezco’s pizza business. Is this person related to former Peoria Mayor Jim Maloof?

  15. - Belle - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 2:16 pm:

    Illinois - the only state in the union to get rid of one corrupt governor only to elect a bigger crook. It would be funny except for the real costs of corruption.

  16. - Excessively rabid - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 2:36 pm:

    The under-rated former US Sen. Pete Fitzgerald really gave the gift that keeps on giving in the person of US Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald (no relation). Who else has made such a significant contribution to keeping the lid on the rampant corruption in this state?

  17. - Dirt Guy - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 2:52 pm:

    “Follow the money.”

    How true. Look where the trail seems to be leading. And the trail is becoming clearer and clearer every day. I think that trail has morphed into a super highway.

  18. - Anon - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 3:04 pm:

    I thought the Fed Pros is chosen by the senior senator of the state, not a congressman.

  19. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 3:05 pm:

    ===I thought the Fed Pros is chosen by the senior senator of the state, not a congressman.===

    True, but Hastert tried to muscle out Fitzgerald on the initial appointment. He lost that round.

  20. - Southern Illinois - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 3:26 pm:

    Now it seems a little more clear why Blago would appoint the former Speaker of the House along with Poshard to push his Capital Plan. I always ahd wondered why this arrangement had been made given the hatred the Democrats have for the Illinois Republicans. Makes you go Hum…

  21. - Truthful James - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 3:48 pm:

    You all can recognize the Republican touch. PatFitz was sent to D.C. to decapitate the Illinois effort and put him in an impossible position there.

    He went ahead and did his usual good work. The Scooter man would have been the fall guy for the next guy up who would have been Cheney’s legal guy, to be followed by the Veep in the docket. The Prez put the kibosh on that and everybody in D.C. changed into dry underwear.

    Meanwhile, back on the Chicago ranch, things got slowed down some as the Fitz blade slashed through Georgie Porgie and then moved into the Democrat ranks step by step upwards. If rezco goes, he will be asked to tie in the Shill-lander and the Cellini family. That will tie in the two Jims: (Yoda) Edgar and (the former Republican) Gov. Thompson; as well as Rod The First.

    Dennis the Menace saw his influence cut in half when Ingemunson and the Kendall County slate went down the proverbial tubes in the primary. New days acomin’ in Oswego. Dallas lands on his feet and totes Dennis with him to be his star lobbyist — what else is a former wrestling coach at the High School level to do?

    Dick Durbin says he is going to recommend reappointment of PatFitz. Do not bet on it. O’bama or Clinto are likely to make him an offer he can not refuse if they win –how about being my FBI head, Pat? Or even AG? Anything to get him and his crew out of here.

  22. - Captain America - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 4:06 pm:

    I agree with Truthful James’ observation that the only way any new Presdient will be able to dislodge Fitzgerald without raising a firestorm of protest would be to promote him to a big job in Washington. It would have to be an offer he couldn’t refuse.

  23. - One of the 35 - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 4:37 pm:

    Even if Fitz gets another job, that does not mean that the investigations currently under way would be discontinued. I think what the feds already have in the mill will play out until the end.

  24. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 5:03 pm:

    It’s all much bigger than Pat Fitzgerald now. The time has long passed when removing him would make a difference.

    For the city and state probes that are in the public arena, the next steps are so obvious and logical — and probably so far along internally — that they could not be ignored or discontinued without risking an enormous firestorm from career prosecutors, federal law enforcement, the media and citizens.

    Who would take the job to do that at this point?

    The cards are all dealt. Now it’s just a matter of how everyone plays their hands.

  25. - Capital Bill - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 5:37 pm:

    No Southern Illinois, Speaker Hastert in helping with the Capital Plan because he was the Congressmen most responsible for its passage and he always acted across party lines to do what is best for Illinois. He helped get Boeing to come here too. He did a good job for Illinois and how dare you slime him out of ignorance.
    And by the way, Rezko didn’t get Fitzgerald removed did he? So his claim was just posturing wasn’t it?

  26. - Brad - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 5:54 pm:

    Aside from speculation about the gubernatorial race in 2010 Vallas made a terrific speech about his work in New Orleans and education reform. With the backdrop of Blago’s face behind him on a City Club banner Vallas easily differentiated himself simply by staying on point. The multiple ovations were for what might have been and what still could be. All in all a very interesting afternoon.

  27. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 5:55 pm:

    Capital Bill -

    Speaker Hastert is helping with the Capital Bill because he’s making millions as a land speculator over the Prairie Parkway.


    Hastert’s $2 million profit from land deals

    In December 2005, just five months after he secured $207 million in federal funds for the Prairie Parkway, House Speaker Dennis Hastert sold 138 acres of land near the highway route, netting him a $2 million profit on land held for three years or less. See additional details in Prairie Parkway News Coverage and in a Report prepared by the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington DC based Congressional watchdog organization.

    Another watchdog group on Nov. 27 called for a Department of Justice investigation of Hastert’s land dealings and highway “earmarks.” See the details at the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington website.

    Construction of the Prairie Parkway, a.k.a. “Hastert’s Folly,” requires state matching funds.

    Another great reason to vote ‘No.’

  28. - Truthful James - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 6:03 pm:

    Capital Bill –

    Good Ole’ Denny (and his string-puller, Dallas Ingemunson.) Just another earnest missionary who went to D.C. to do good and ended up doing well.

  29. - Cassandra - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 6:04 pm:

    Sorry, Vallas is just too retro.

    Lisa or Alexi. I prefer Alexi. He’s younger than Lisa, has Obama support, and doesn’t have Dad Madigan telling him what to do.

    We may need a change on the national scene, but we
    REALLY need a change on the state scene. Vallas
    ain’t it.

  30. - downhereforyears - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 6:22 pm:

    Note to Blago: What’s the last thing you think about before you go to sleep each night…..and whats the first thing you think about when you awake each morning. One other thing you should think about. Chris Kelly…..lost his family….lost his business….and the lawyers are costing him thousands of dollars a month. I know what he’s thinking at bedtime and when he awakes…..what do ya think?

  31. - Ghost - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 6:57 pm:

    Lisa is the best canidate for Gov

  32. - Loop Lady - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 7:14 pm:

    Lisa has two little kids and might opt out in 2010…she is young, and I don’t think her Dad is ready for retirement…If Vallas could improve Chicago’s public schools, I’d sure as hell give him a shot at the Governor’s office in’10…

  33. - Truthful James - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 7:30 pm:

    My best guess is that Mike would not want his daughter in to clean up the Augean Stable (remember the labors of Hercules). There are certain times when the Governor believes that State interests come ahead of the interests of individual Districts and of the legislature.

    You couldn’t be a good Governor without this sense, the failings of the present Governor aside.

    She would do well to absent herself from Springfield politics, become a Senator or even a Cabinet Officer in Washington until the mess is cleaned up in Springfield. Vallas would be a great choice, if Dick Daley would hold still for him. But, I am not sure how the mayor feels.

  34. - Roy Cone - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 7:33 pm:

    Good point about Lisa, LL. I think Illinoisans would applaud her sitting the 2010 election out as she raises her family. Look for Lisa to run for guv in 6-10 years. That said, voters are looking for a reputable fix-it-fast candidate for governor. Could Vallas be the one for the Dems? Or will the party make room for Obama if he loses the presidential nomination or election? Either way, it doesn’t appear the Republicans have anyone of star quality to run competitively–at least against Lisa Madigan.

  35. - Just a Regular Citizen - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 8:20 pm:

    Why is it that politicians have decided they are above the law and have a given right steal our money? Too bad the present gov won’t be in the general population when he goes to the big house!

  36. - Smitty Irving - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 9:25 pm:

    To Truthful James and others - don’t you guys and gals EVER follow the media? When Obama made his Rezko rounds to the Tribune, he publicly stated he would reappoint Patrick Fitzgerald. McCain made the same commitment to the same group when Romney was still in the race. Who hasn’t commited to reappointing Fitzgerald? Hillary.

  37. - southern illinoisan - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 9:38 pm:

    Don’t count Lisa M. out of the race. Timing is everything politics and she may recognize this as a prime opportunity. The field will be loaded with Dems. Dan Hynes is positioning himself. Then there is Alexis Gioulannis, Obama(if he loses the presidential election), Sen. Meeks, maybe Jesse Jackson Jr.

    The Republican’s don’t have as deep a bench. Bill Brady, Tom Cross, and Cristine Radogno are on alot of lists.

    All of this will hinge on Blagojevich and if he is indicted and if he is not indicted, will he go quietly and not seek another term?

  38. - Truth - Monday, Apr 28, 08 @ 9:53 pm:

    It would be fun to watch Vallas get thumped again by another Chicago Machine politician.

  39. - Diomedes - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 1:35 am:

    Christine Radogno? Thanks for making my night, good laugh before bed.

  40. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 8:56 am:

    Vallas is soooo 2002!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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