* When reading stories like this one, always try to keep in mind that this is Rod Blagojevich we’re talking about. So placing blame on Blagojevich is absolutely paramount. Only some of his targets were complicit…
Four potential candidates for President Obama’s vacant Senate seat were each to be targeted for contributions by ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s campaign as part of an aggressive, $2.3 million race for cash late last year, an internal campaign document obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times shows.
The four were among about 150 people targeted for contributions by the Friends of Blagojevich campaign organization by the end of 2008, when a new Illinois law took effect that bans taking money from state contractors and appointees, the document shows.
This says it best…
“They may have had him on the list,” [JB Pritzker] spokesman Dave Lundy said. “But they had a lot of quirky ideas that didn’t have a basis in reality.”
Yep. He had lots of “quirky” ideas, like this one…
During one conversation, Blagojevich brought up with [White Sox/Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf] the possibility of appointing Attorney General Lisa Madigan to the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President Obama’s election, sources with the Blagojevich camp say. They say he was seeking a way to advance legislation through the Illinois House — controlled by Madigan’s father, House Speaker Michael Madigan
What a stupid idea that was. The plan was to offer to appoint Lisa Madigan to the US Senate in exchange for Speaker Madigan’s support for the governor’s capital plan, health care expansions, etc.
Complete, utter lunacy.
First of all, Speaker Madigan wasn’t even returning Blagojevich’s phone calls. He was also refusing to meet with the guy.
Most importantly, though, Speaker Madigan had absolutely zero trust in Blagojevich’s word. No way would he have cut that deal. No way. When I told Madigan about the “plan,” he laughed incredulously.
* Since we’re on the topic of corruption and, by extension reform, let’s take a look at two other stories worth mentioning…
Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest) said she will consider amending one of the ethics bills in the legislature this year to add new requirements for opening certain legislative meetings. She said the governor’s involvement in a meeting with lawmakers should “trigger” an open meeting requirement because two branches of government are involved. “I think that what’s happened here, and I’m not condoning it, is that it’s a tradition that is followed at the state and federal level,” Garrett said.
House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) said she would be surprised if caucuses or meetings with the governor were opened up, saying “in our culture we have been so unaccustomed to that degree of openness.”
Understatement of the week goes to Currie.
* The governor’s extra-legislative reform commission meets again today. Scheduled topics are…
- The powerful role played by the “rules committees” in the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate. To a large degree, they decide whether legislation will advance.
- The flawed process used to determine how Illinois redraws its legislative and congressional district boundaries every 10 years after a new U.S. census.
- The rushed, last-minute way that the Illinois General Assembly typically approves a new state budget, generally with little input from rank-and-file lawmakers.
Apparently, former GOP Sen. Steve Rauschenberger is the expert witness today.
And this weird little demonstration will be part of the day’s festivities…
To spotlight the need to get rid of government corruption, members of the [Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service’s] student advisory committee will encourage fellow students to throw water balloons at a 3-by-5-foot sign depicting a mud-stained image of Illinois. The sign will be posted outside the meeting site.
The idea is “to wash the mud off of the state,” said Josh Cox, a Bradley senior who is studying political science. “We’re kind of starting the cleansing process.”
A member of the governor’s reform commission, Brad McMillan, runs that institute sponsoring the water balloon toss. That should give you a good idea of how this commission is running.
* Meanwhile, the Sun-Times has a very good piece about how Blagojevich pal Chris Kelly allegedly made a fortune doing roofing jobs for two major O-hare-based airlines. And the AP takes a look at the alleged “corruption tax” issue, which has been discussed ad infinitum. No real new stuff there.
* 3 weeks in office adds $40,000 a year to pension
* Illinois corruption: State officials could look at stricter ethics laws in other states
* Clock Ticking in Blago Case
* Statehouse Insider: An upleasant blast from the past
* Blagojevich is still everywhere – and some can smile about it