* Back when then state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias was in the running for a job in President-elect Barack Obama’s administration, none other than JB Pritzker told Gov. Rod Blagojevich that he was interested in being appointed to fill out the remainder of Giannoulias’ term.
“That’s the one I would want,” Pritzker said, according to federal surveillance recordings obtained by the Tribune.
* There’s lots of tantalizing sizzle in the first few paragraphs of this story entitled “J.B. Pritzker sought political office from Blagojevich, 2008 FBI wiretaps show,” but scroll way down…
Pritzker already had raised the idea of being named state treasurer if an opening occurred, and he followed up during a Nov. 14, 2008, call with the governor.
“I’ve got a lot of reasons why it makes sense. The problem for you would be the same problem with the Senate really,” Pritzker said. “I’ve given you contributions.”
“Total nonissue,” Blagojevich replied. “First of all, you give money to everybody, like (Attorney General) Lisa Madigan, OK?”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, no question,” Pritzker said.
“Which, incidentally, if you can do for me what you did for her, before the end of the year. Can you think about that?” Blagojevich asked, aware that Pritzker had donated $50,000 to Madigan during the previous year.
“I can’t, I mean, not while everything’s up in the air, but I hear ya,” Pritzker said. “I hear ya and, and and … But anyway …”
“If we go in that direction, though, if that does happen, I mean there’s some other people who can help us that you know,” Blagojevich said.
“Sure,” Pritzker said.
“If you feel skittish about that, which I believe you shouldn’t, but go ahead,” Blagojevich said.
“Yeah,” Pritzker replied, “I don’t think we should even talk about it but I understand what you’re saying.”
Blagojevich was a true sleazeball.
There’s lots more, so click here and read the whole thing.
* The Pritzker campaign sent me this response…
There was nothing untoward about JB Pritzker’s conversations and throughout his career he has considered different ways he could serve the people of Illinois. The record is clear that Rod Blagojevich was having dozens of conversations with both elected officials and private citizens, including members of President Obama’s transition team, which is why he is currently in prison. JB has been a proud supporter of hundreds of progressive and Democratic leaders and organizations in Illinois and across the country, especially those who have been supporters of early childhood education.
Also, as the campaign is pointing out, the last contribution Pritzker gave to Blagojevich was during the 2006 race, two years before those contributions.
*** UPDATE *** A new Pritzker campaign statement…
“If one listens to the actual calls released in the story there was nothing untoward about JB’s conversations with the Governor,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Galia Slayen. “Throughout JB’s life he’s had an interest in serving the people of Illinois and that’s exactly what he expressed when discussing a potential opening in the Treasurer’s office. In fact, when the Governor brings up whether JB would be interested in being appointed to the Senate, on multiple occasions JB expresses he is not and moves away from the type of conversation that landed Rod Blagojevich in prison.
“This is just a continuation of attacks made by Bruce Rauner and Republicans and it’s no coincidence that it was published by the Chicago Tribune on the last day of another session where Governor Rauner has failed to pass a budget.”
The jab at the Trib is unusual, to say the least.