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Rod Blagojevich’s defiantly naive brother

Friday, Sep 4, 2009

* The Sun-Times scores an exclusive interview with Rob Blagojevich, the former governor’s brother, and his wife. You have to scroll way down to get to the meat of things…

“I am frustrated with the [federal] government because I believe he is being held hostage by them,” Julie Blagojevich said of her husband. “I believe that they indicted Rob to get his brother to plead.”

But it won’t work. At least it hasn’t yet…

“I do not plan to plead guilty. I plan to go to trial. We’re co-defendants, and we are not guilty on those charges,” said Rob Blagojevich, who was paid $12,500 a month as fund-raising chairman. “I would not testify against my brother.”

Apparently, the Rob and his wife didn’t see this coming, even though they knew about the investigations…

“We knew about allegations, and we knew about investigations,” Julie Blagojevich said. “Rod assured us that he was not doing anything wrong. We understood that the allegations were really behind him, the investigation was really behind him.”

Wow. Talk about no due diligence. The probes were heating up with a fury by the time Rob signed on to the campaign. Then again, that’s his brother we’re talking about. He probably saw what he wanted to see.

Rob was brought in as Rod’s fundraising committee chairman because Rod needed somebody he could trust without question. Plus, nobody else wanted the job. At the time, pretty much everybody around the governor with half a brain knew that it was only a matter of time before the feds closed in.

The two men were not close at all during their adulthoods, so Rob and his wife saw this fundraising gig as an opportunity to rekindle the brotherhood. It’s sickening to me that Rod would put his brother in such a no-win position.

* Rob defends himself…

On tape, Rob Blagojevich presses Burris to donate to his brother. But, regarding the Senate seat, he’s heard essentially telling Burris: Get in line, that others also were seeking the appointment.

“How I conducted myself with Burris is how I conducted myself with everyone when no one was looking,” Rob Blagojevich told the Sun-Times.

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


20 Comments
  1. - Anon - Friday, Sep 4, 09 @ 11:16 am:

    Rob is a good and decent man who was not the right person for that job. While you want somebody there who you can trust, you need somebody there who understands politics, fundraising, and managing Rod. It is very unfortunate that he is being dragged into this.


  2. - MOON - Friday, Sep 4, 09 @ 11:16 am:

    Its not unheard of for Fed. Prosecutors to indict knowing the party has done nothing wrong.


  3. - Third Generation Chicago Native - Friday, Sep 4, 09 @ 11:25 am:

    Maybe the Feds are using the Andrea Coutretsis strategy like they did on Scott Fawell, by using brother Robert for Rod, thinking manybe Rod will save his brother?


  4. - wordslinger - Friday, Sep 4, 09 @ 11:37 am:

    I found it rather a sad story. Rob seems like he was a pretty solid citizen.

    That’s the thing about brothers; even after years of strain, they’ll do just about anything for you. That’s why you have to be very careful what you ask of them.

    It’s like that Springsteen tune “Highway Patrolman” from the “Nebraska” album.

    “Now ever since we was young kids it’s been the same come down
    I get a call over the radio Franky’s in trouble downtown
    Well if it was any other man, I’d put him straight away
    But when it’s your brother sometimes you look the other way”

    Johnny Cash did a memorable cover.


  5. - VanillaMan - Friday, Sep 4, 09 @ 11:39 am:

    If I was brought onboard for one of my brother’s campaigns and saw that the Feds were working to indict him, I would be torn between doing what I could to prevent him from being indicted, and doing what was right.

    We understand why a brother would race into a burning building to save a brother who started the fire - but we also have to remember that the brother returning to the fire, recognized the dangers of doing so and chose to take that risk.

    So, while I understand what Rob did, I would also expect to pay the price of that decision.


  6. - Leave a Light on George - Friday, Sep 4, 09 @ 11:41 am:

    As noted many times on this blog, state government is still full of Rob B. types. They signed up and/or stayed on through Governor F-Bomb’s criminal tour through the Office of Governor. It is shameful they are still here.


  7. - Capitol View - Friday, Sep 4, 09 @ 11:41 am:

    The anger and frustration here should be directed at brother Rod, not the prosecutors. Blago brought his brother in because he was so clean, as a cover to what was going on around him.

    Rod used Rob. And now Rob is tainted by being the token campaign fund raising coordinator, while the real stuff was going on behind the scenes.

    Rich, your blog story title description of Rob as naive is point on.


  8. - Responsa - Friday, Sep 4, 09 @ 11:42 am:

    The promise of prestige and lots of money, in this case that $12,500 mo salary, often makes it easier for people to look the other way (or to ignore the obvious) even when something doesn’t quite feel right. Add family loyalty and trust into the mix and the blindfold is double thick. Just one more icky chapter in the book of Illinois politics which is rife with family dynasties and “fill the jobs with my relatives” cronyism.


  9. - 47th Ward - Friday, Sep 4, 09 @ 11:45 am:

    ===“I would not testify against my brother.”===

    Rob, I hate to be the one to break this to you, but your brother would sell you out in a heartbeat. I admire your loyalty, but I think it’s a one-way street. If your brother felt the same as you, he wouldn’t keep you and your family in this situation. A real brother would accept a plea deal, accept responsibility for his actions, and spare you any further suffering.

    But knowing your brother, if you really are guilty, he’s planning to take you down with him.


  10. - Will Clark - Friday, Sep 4, 09 @ 11:50 am:

    If someone checks out the Fifth Third contracts with the tollway and State Board of Investments they will conclude that Rob is not as innocent as he portrays himself.

    Might explain why he agreed to help his brother. I wonder if Rod threatened him.


  11. - Levois - Friday, Sep 4, 09 @ 12:00 pm:

    I may not know everything that went on behind the scenes. The wiretaps of Rob and Roland Burris may have only showed how desperate Burris was than any crime Rob may have committed. I know that Rob wasn’t indicted for his involvements in his brother’s machinations regarding that senate seat.

    As far as making his brother flip. Well if it was the right thing to do to resign and Blago wouldn’t do it and he really believes that he’s innocent, then what makes him think this would work. Everyone will go down in flames before Blago will admit any guilt.


  12. - Bill - Friday, Sep 4, 09 @ 12:06 pm:

    Go ahead, take your shots. Rod and Rob are both gonna walk.


  13. - thelonius - Friday, Sep 4, 09 @ 12:10 pm:

    I tend to agree with those who say the indictment is an overreach. I’m as willing as the next leftwinger to hold Rob’s banking ties against him, but I really do think he’s being misused by the U.S. attorney (but not as badly as he’s been misused by his sociopath brother). I’m starting to really distrust this D.A’ s office. I know there’s alot of slugs out there, but investigating phone calls to Whitney Young HS and 2 count indictments The Brother seem a couple of bridges too far for my taste.


  14. - Speaking at Will - Friday, Sep 4, 09 @ 12:54 pm:

    “- Bill - Friday, Sep 4, 09 @ 12:06 pm:

    Go ahead, take your shots. Rod and Rob are both gonna walk.”

    Good to have ya back Bill.


  15. - Objective Dem - Friday, Sep 4, 09 @ 12:56 pm:

    I have a question for the more experience bloggers. Is it normal to pay $12,500 a month to a fundraising chairman? I imagine professional fund raisers make that much, but I thought fundraising chairmen were figure heads who volunteered their time.

    A related comment is professional fundraisers are just that, professionals with experience and qualifications. It makes sense to pay them. But what experience and qualifications did Rob bring to the table other than he could be trusted not to tell on his brother?


  16. - Will Clark - Friday, Sep 4, 09 @ 12:56 pm:

    The only “walking” they will be doing is around the federal detention facility.


  17. - dupage dan - Friday, Sep 4, 09 @ 1:28 pm:

    Bill,

    Care to put your $ where your mouth is? How’s about lunch all around? If you changed your tune we would worry about you.


  18. - Dan S, a voter and Cubs Fan - Friday, Sep 4, 09 @ 1:35 pm:

    Bill, I see you found a fresh batch of: kool-aide”.


  19. - GlenView - Friday, Sep 4, 09 @ 4:40 pm:

    Well Hurtgen goes in for a hearing next week. It’ll be interesting to see how this starts to shake out. Fitz didn’t have to make a dela with Hurtgen. But he did. Hurtgen must have had some pretty good info inorder to get the deal he did.

    So, Hurtgen hearing could be very interesting. Of course, if the judge is in the bag maybe it will be another fast eddie deal.


  20. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Sep 4, 09 @ 9:50 pm:

    “I would not testify against my brother.”

    I assume this was the objective line on his resume in applying for the Friends of Blagojevich job and, in Rod’s eye’s, the one thing that made him most qualified for it.

    this is becoming more and more like a bad Law & Order every day


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