* My Sun-Times column today demands that the House get off its duff and start working on impeachment…
Enough, already. […]
What Illinois needs most right now is to excise this fatal tumor on our body politic.
Rod Blagojevich has been an astoundingly bad governor. His list of achievements is short and unimpressive. He has alienated almost the entire political establishment in Illinois. He is the most unpopular governor in the United States. And now we learn that he allegedly tried to sell a U.S. Senate seat, “like a sports agent,” according to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.
Illinois has, according to Fitzgerald, been subjected to a “political corruption crime spree.”
It’s time for that crime spree to end.
The Illinois House needs to convene as soon as possible and begin impeachment proceedings. Fitzgerald’s criminal complaint has basically given the General Assembly a 78-page road map.
We’re not talking a lot of hearsay. Much of Fitzgerald’s criminal complaint is composed of the governor’s own words caught on federal surveillance tapes.
All the House has to do is stipulate that Blagojevich’s words caught on tape are facts and then vote on whether that should be an impeachable offense.
For instance, the governor is quoted as saying this about Obama’s people refusing to go along with a quid pro quo for the Senate seat appointment: “They’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation. F - - - them.”
Here’s our governor talking about using the Senate appointment for financial gain: “[T]he immediate challenge [is] how do we take some of the financial pressure off of our family.”
The governor sure has a way with words: “I’ve got this thing and it’s f - - - - - - golden and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for f - - - - - -nothing. I’m not gonna do it.”
Blagojevich also was caught talking about using $8 million in state pediatric funding to extract a $50,000 campaign contribution from Children’s Memorial Hospital: “I’m going to do $8 million for them. I want to get [Hospital Executive 1] for 50.”
There’s more, but you’ve probably already read most of the quotes yourself.
The Illinois Constitution’s guidelines for impeachment are pretty bare-bones. Impeachment requires just a majority vote in the House. There’s no “high crimes and misdemeanors” language as in the U.S. Constitution.
After the House votes to impeach, a two-thirds vote in the Senate is all that’s needed to remove Blagojevich from office.
And then he’d be gone. Forever.
Blagojevich’s attorney said Tuesday that his client did nothing wrong and has no intention of resigning. He’s expected to be back in his office today.
Knowing him as I do, I am absolutely sure that Gov. Blagojevich thinks he’s in the clear. So nothing will stop this man except impeachment. This necessity can no longer be delayed.
Get it over with.
* As I noted to subscribers this morning, Speaker Madigan’s office distributed an impeachment memo several months ago which argued that there was enough evidence to impeach him back then.
If Blagojevich could’ve been impeached then, he most certainly can be impeached now.
* The House Democrats are being way too timid on this topic…
But Madigan spokesman Steve Brown cautioned there are several complications to proceeding with impeachment, including timing.
A new legislature will be sworn in Jan. 14, and if impeachment proceedings start before then, there’s a question of whether they could continue with new lawmakers or have to start over.
Rep. Gary Hannig, D-Litchfield, said the timing issue is why legislators might wait a few weeks to push impeachment. Hannig agreed that Blagojevich should resign first.
Just start holding the committee hearings now. Forget the holiday break. Get this over with.
* As I told you yesterday, this is what House Speaker Madigan had to say…
On the question of impeachment, I am prepared to discuss the suggestions of the House Republican Leader.
The House Republicans have taken the initiative and filed a resolutionwhich creates “a Special Investigative Committee to investigate the conduct of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and make a recommendation as to whether cause exists for impeachment.”
Why let the minority party get ahead of the curve? Blagojevich is a Democratic governor. Madigan was his campaign co-chairman in 2006 and is the state party chairman. He’s also the Speaker of a House with 70 Democratic votes. This is his responsibility.
* Democratic Rep. John Fritchey is trying to take the lead…
A leading member of the Illinois General Assembly says he’ll begin immediate impeachment proceedings against Rod Blagojevich if the governor doesn’t quit first. […]
Mr. Fritchey said he already has phoned House Speaker Michael Madigan about moving an impeachment bill.
Trouble is, Madigan hasn’t returned Fritchey’s call, which Fritchey said he made yesterday morning. What the heck?
* This is a good summary of how it can be done quickly…
Under legislative rules and the Illinois Constitution, the House can convene in a committee of the whole and move to a fairly fast vote, or first hold a separate committee hearing, Mr. Fritchey said. If a majority of the House votes to impeach, the matter then moves to the Senate, which could remove the governor if a supermajority of at least 37 of the 59 senators so vote.
Only one other state official has been removed by the process in the history of Illinois, Mr. Fritchey said, a judge in 1832.
* IL Constitutional provisions…
SECTION 5. SESSIONS
(b) 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. […]
SECTION 14. IMPEACHMENT
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.
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* Message To Blago: Resign Or Face Impeachment
* Blagojevich should resign immediately as governor
* It’s time to scuttle Blago’s pirate ship of state
* Governor should resign immediately
* SJ-R Opinion: Blagojevich must resign now
* Governor Blagojevich, resign
* Blagojevich editorial cartoons
* Our bleeping governor must quit now
* He let us down: Blagojevich should resign
* Netsch: Blagojevich ‘Should Think About Going Elsewhere’