Blagojevich Charged With Corruption

09 December 2008

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) has been charged with criminal corruption.

With Barack Obama (D-IL) leaving his Senate seat vacant, Gov. Blagojevich had the responsibility of filling it with the best public servant he could find. However, Blagojevich recognized that this Senate seat was "a fucking valuable thing," and decided that "you don't just give it away for nothing." Instead, he would "drive a real hard bargain" and try to "get something real good." If that didn't work out, then "shit, I'll just send myself, you know what I'm saying."

He apparently tried to get campaign contributions, a job for his wife, a personal appointment, a new editorial board at the Chicago Tribune, etc. He also threatened to cut $8 million in funding for a children's hospital (apparently because he wanted $50,000 in campaign contributions from the hospital's executive, and he wasn't paying up).

This is the second Illinois Governor in a row to be accused of corruption. The last Illinois Governor, George Ryan (R-IL), is currently living in a federal prison, serving his sentence on a corruption conviction.

You can read the criminal complaint here (it's 78 pages long). The shorter description is on the blue shirt, pictured above.

UPDATE: The "analysis" from journalists like Liz Sidoti was way too predictable:

AP reporter Liz Sidoti, fresh off a stint delivering donuts to John McCain, pens an "analysis" of the Blagojevich indictment that begins: "President-elect Barack Obama hasn't even stepped into office and already a scandal is threatening to dog him."

Then, in the very next sentence, Sidoti admits "Obama isn't accused of anything." And that pretty much sets the tone for the "analysis" -- ominous warnings that Obama could be implicated in the scandal, followed by concessions that he, you know ... isn't.


So there's a great big ball of nothing here, yet Sidoti continues to pretend that Obama is caught up in the scandal, writing "There were signs the continuing investigation could still involve Obama."

Well, no. The "signs" Sidoti pointed to were the fact that someone who works for Obama once worked for Blagojevich (ah-ha!) and that court papers appear to refer to "Obama friend Valerie Jarrett, an incoming senior White House adviser," who removed herself from consideration for the Senate seat Obama is vacating. Blagojevich is charged with trying to sell an appointment to that seat. Jarrett removed herself from consideration for it. How that constitutes a sign that the investigation "could still involve Obama" is clear only in Sidoti's imagination.

Still, Sidoti is technically correct: the investigation could still involve Obama. But it is grossly unfair to suggest that possibility absent any evidence. That's something Liz Sidoti apparently doesn't understand -- though one suspects she would understand the unfairness of suggesting, absent any evidence, that she could be taking payments from the GOP to write garbage like this.

Sidoti concludes: "More details on the case could be forthcoming." Hard to argue with that.

So what do we have? According to Liz Sidoti:

1) "Obama isn't accused of anything"
2) "prosecutors were making no allegations that Obama was aware of any scheming"
3) "Blagojevich himself, in taped conversations cited by prosecutors, suggested that Obama wouldn't be helpful to him"
4) There is no evidence, indication, or hint that Obama was aware of scheming, or did help Blagojevich.
5) Nevertheless, "more details on the case could be forthcoming"
6) Therefore, a "scandal" is "threatening to dog" Obama.

This is nothing short of sleazy. With no evidence whatsoever, Sidoti is suggesting ties between Obama and the scandal that simply do not exist. Whatever this is, it isn't "analysis" and it isn't "journalism."

UPDATE II: The often crazy Michelle Malkin's coverage was also way too predictable. In a column titled "The Democrat Culture of Corruption," Malkin skips over the fact that the previous Republican governor is currently serving a jail term for corruption, uses words like "corruptocrats," and tries her best to suggest that there is something ominous or underhanded going on with Barack Obama ("declaring Team Obama’s hands clean — especially with Blago crony and indicted Obama donor Tony Rezko in the middle of it all — is premature. . . . this raises more questions than it answers about who on the transition team may have talked to Blago and his shakedown artists about what and when"). It also contains her generic claims of "liberal media bias" and speculation about how they would have behaved if it were a Republican (which it was with the previous Illinois Governor).

As an aside, I'd just like to point out again that Michelle Malkin is a crazy person, who writes books in defense of ethnic internment camps and publicly berates consenting adults for creating pornographic films for other consenting adults.

UPDATE III: In another column, titled "This is what patriotism looks like," Malkin offers a childish vision of patriotism that apparently involves not much more than reflexively assuming that the government and military can do no wrong:

A naturalized American from Korea loses his entire family in the military jet crash that wrecked his house and killed his infant daughter, toddler daughter, wife, and mother-in-law. But he refuses to blame the pilot or bash the military. Reader Mitch in San Diego e-mails: “I’m not even religious and I’ll say a prayer for this man. He has my utmost admiration. Truly an amazing gesture of forgiveness and patriotism on his part. There would be no discussion about immigration, illegal or otherwise, if this was the caliber of most coming here. Amazing.”

Keep Dong Yun Yoon in your prayers.
If I were Dong Yun Yoon, I might want to at least ask some questions. It doesn't involve "bashing the military" to want to know what went wrong, and how it came to be that a military jet crash could happen on top of your house. I know that this man went through a lot, but I don't see how this makes him a hero and a patriot, and I don't respect how Malkin uses his story to prop up her own vision of patriotism (which apparently also involves internment camps).

UPDATE IV: Rush Limbaugh is still an intellectually dishonest partisan.

UPDATE V: All 50 Democratic Senators Call on Blagojevich To Step Down

UPDATE VI: Tony Soprano vs. Rod Blagojevich: Can you tell which is which?

UPDATE VII: Glenn Greenwald is always right about everything. You should all read his column every day.

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