Archive for ‘corruption’

January 9, 2009

Blagojevich impeached

Flaming (Hairy) Skull at AOSHQ. The vote in the Illinois House was 114-1.

If Blagojevich goes to prison, will he first be forced to give back Michael Nesmith’s hair?

BTW, somebody should write a book.

January 4, 2009

Name That Party!

Obama Cabinet Appointee Lightning Round:

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, tapped in December by President-elect Barack Obama to serve as secretary of Commerce, has withdrawn his name for the position, citing a pending investigation into a company that has done business with his state.
“Let me say unequivocally that I and my Administration have acted properly in all matters and that this investigation will bear out that fact,” he said Sunday in a report by NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell. “But I have concluded that the ongoing investigation also would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process.”

Drew M. at AOSHQ notices that the word “Democrat” appears nowhere in the MSNBC report.

UPDATE: Video via Hot Air:

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UPDATE II: MK Ham: “The Obama transition train just keeps on chugging down the tracks to Smoothville, huh?

UPDATE III: Under the bus goes another erstwhile friend of Obama.

December 24, 2008

More on Madoff

A very painful experience:

Here is a Jew accused of cheating Jewish organizations trying to help other Jews, they say, and of betraying the trust of Jews and violating the basic tenets of Jewish law. A Jew, they say, who seemed to exemplify the worst anti-Semitic stereotypes of the thieving Jewish banker.
So in synagogues and community centers, on blogs and in countless conversations, many Jews are beating their chests — not out of contrition, as they do on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, but because they say Mr. Madoff has brought shame on their people in addition to financial ruin and shaken the bonds of trust that bind
Jewish communities.

Perhaps a feeling akin to the embarassment we Southerners felt about the presidencies of Carter and Clinton, two Democrats who did more to drive decent Southerners into the GOP than anything conceived by GOP strategists.

In related news, a French hedge fund manager has committed suicide after reportedly losing $1 billion to Madoff’s swindle.

December 22, 2008

Team Obama discovers a loophole

The Audacity of Opacity:

Barack Obama is promising . . . he’ll disclose contacts between his staff and disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s office, but he’s stopped short of pledging to release e-mails or other records that could be key to understanding those contacts.
Whatever such records exist may never see the light of day, thanks to a gap in government records disclosure laws that allows presidential transition teams to keep their documents — even those prepared using taxpayer dollars — out of the public record.
The exemption from disclosure rules surprised some records law experts, and may prompt legislation from a leading Republican transparency advocate to apply the laws to presidential transition teams, which could compel Team Obama to preserve Blagojevich-related records for inspection, if only in the distant future.
But for now, a spokeswoman for President-elect Barack Obama said the transition team was not covered by a public information law that Politico cited in requesting copies of Obama staffers’ emails and notes about Blagojevich’s efforts to fill the Senate seat Obama vacated after winning the presidency.

Of course, attempting to hide information about the Blago case from a federal prosecutor would still be obstruction of justice. But unless Fitzpatrick brings such charges, those records will never see the light of day.

December 14, 2008

Obama’s Bert Lance

Liberals are complaining bitterly about press coverage of the Rod Blagojevich scandal. “[T]he media have tried to shoehorn Barack Obama into the Rod Blagojevich scandal,” as Jamison Foser of Media Matters put it in a 2,900-word tirade Friday:

Most telling is the tendency of many journalists to speculate that the Blagojevich scandal may ensnare Obama without acknowledging that the complaint against Blagojevich contained absolutely no evidence of wrongdoing by Obama . . .
Associated Press reporter Liz Sidoti set the standard for pointlessly speculative news reports with an “analysis” piece declaring that “President-elect Barack Obama hasn’t even stepped into office and already a scandal is threatening to dog him.” . . .
We cannot afford to be distracted from serious problems by overheated conjecture and baseless insinuation masquerading as journalism.
That’s how the media behaved the last time we had a Democratic president. They devoted wall-to-wall coverage to invented “scandals,” ignored exculpatory evidence, saw evidence of guilt everywhere, took people out of context in order to accuse them of lying, and generally behaved like a pack of wild animals who couldn’t tell right from wrong or truth from fiction — or who simply didn’t care. As a group, they behaved without ethical standards and without regard for the truth.

Foser is correct that nothing now known indicates wrongdoing on Obama’s part. However, the revelation that Obama’s choice for chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, was in communication with Blagojevich — sending him a list of potential Senate replacement appointees acceptable to Obama — undermined Obama’s press conference claim that “no representative of mine would have any part in any deals related to this seat.”

Foser compares the press coverage to how the Whitewater scandal dogged the Clintons, but a more accurate analogy would be to the scandal that felled Jimmy Carter’s OMB director, Bert Lance. A Georgia banker and influential figure in state Democratic Party politics, Lance was forced to resign eight months into the Carter administration by revelations about his financial dealings. Lance was never convicted of any crime, and the scandal involved no suggestion of wrongdoing by Carter, and yet the swirl of accusations damaged — if it did not entirely destroy — Carter’s image as a squeaky-clean reformer. Perhaps most importantly, the Lance scandal brought an early end to whatever honeymoon Carter had enjoyed with the Washington press corps.

The scolding of Foser and other liberals won’t undo the damage that the Blagojevich scandal has already done to Obama, and more damage is likely. The Republican National Committee has issued a Web video aiming to cement in the public mind the idea that Obama (a) is a close ally of Blagojevich, and (b) has been dishonest in his responses to the scandal:

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

UPDATE: Linked at Hot Air, where Ed Morrissey points to Andrew Malcolm of the LA Times:

What’s puzzled some people and raised suspicions among others is Emanuel’s refusal to talk about it (reportedly physically pushing one reporter’s tape recorder away and having a verbal altercation with another) and the delay on Obama’s part in releasing the promised diary of contacts.
From a practical point of view, if everything is above board, what’s to hide?

It’s the appearance of impropriety, which would make a great book title, BTW.

UPDATE II: The Instalanche — what every blogger wants for Christmas. And, of course, it was the professor’s book, The Appearance of Impropriety, that I had in mind. Speaking of books and Christmas, now would be a great time to shop the 2008 Holiday Book Sale, and let’s go ahead and plug two great books about political scandal:

UPDATE III: Obama’s staff has experience in dealing with scandals.

UPDATE IV: Chigago Democrats and the Mob, also accusations of a Blagojevich-Mob connection.

December 13, 2008

Rahm ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ Emanuel

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy:

Rahm Emanuel, President-elect Barack Obama’s pick to be White House chief of staff, had conversations with Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration about who would replace Obama in the U.S. Senate, the Tribune has learned. . . .
Obama said Thursday he had never spoken to Blagojevich about the Senate vacancy and was “confident that no representatives” of his had engaged in any dealmaking over the seat with the governor or his team. . . .
Emanuel delivered a list of candidates who would be “acceptable” to Obama, the source said. On the list were Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, Illinois Veterans Affairs director Tammy Duckworth, state Comptroller Dan Hynes and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Chicago, the source said. All are Democrats.
Sometime after the election, Emanuel called Harris back to add the name of Democratic Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan to the approved list, the source said.

Michelle Malkin notes an ABC report that Emanuel is “pissed” about negative press coverage of his role in the scandal.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey:

[N]o one would be surprised to hear that Emanuel and Obama had enough interest in the latter’s replacement to get in contact with the man who would normally make that appointment, Governor Blagojevich. . . .
However, Barack Obama and his team chose not to give that honest and common-sense explanation. Instead, they issued categorical denials that Obama and his staff had contacted Blagojevich or his staff about the succession. It’s a mystifying claim, and one that will apparently get proven false fairly easily.

It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.

December 11, 2008

BlagoGate, Day 3

Yet more evidence contradicts Obama’s claim that he had no contact with (allegedly) corrupt Gov. Rod F—ing Blagojevich, and it looks like Tony Rezko’s rolling over for the feds, too. Meanwhile, my capitalist greedhead friends at Club For Growth have determined that Blago is right: A Senate seat is a “f—ing valuable thing.” A lifetime value of about $6.2 million, to be exact.

John Fund comments on Obama’s silence about the blatant corruption of “the Chicago Way”:

What remains to be seen is whether this episode will put an end to what Chicago Tribune political columnist John Kass calls the national media’s “almost willful” fantasy that Mr. Obama and Chicago’s political culture have little to do with each other.

UPDATE I: Sabato’s Crystal Ball:

Of Illinois’ immediate past eight governors, Blagojevich would be the fourth sent to prison. That is a stunning statistic, and it reminds us of how bad a culture of corruption is once it takes hold. States such as Oregon and Virginia have developed governmental cultures that are clean–voters and the political class alike reject corruption as antithetical to what they are. Citizens and politicians in other states, e.g. New Jersey and Illinois, seem to accept a certain amount of corruption as the cost of doing business. That is corrosive, and eventually leads to such a toxic environment that it is plausible a governor could attempt to sell a seat in the U.S. Senate, seek to have a journalist fired using threats that equal little more than petty extortion, and engaged in such simple and obvious graft that the entire nation stands in a stunned gaze.
Who is to blame for acts of corruption? The guilty officials, of course, are the people we must hold culpable. Yet, the citizenry also bears its share of the rap once a culture of corruption develops because they have tolerated it. The public shouldn’t accept corruption under any guise–the people possess the means to turn dirty pols out of office and they have a responsibility to do so.

It’s the crooked voters!

UPDATE II: Obama denies everything:

“I have never spoken to the governor on this subject,” Obama said, adding that he has asked his staff to collect the facts about their contact with Blagojevich on the matter.
“This Senate seat does not belong to any politician to trade,” Obama said. “It belongs to the people of Illinois.”

And it’s a f—ing valuable thing!

UPDATE III: A good roundup at Dr. Melissa’s.

UPDATE IV: Survey says: Blago less popular than syphilis. And maybe he’s bonkers, too.

UPDATE V: Ace of Spades:

Bear in mind, of course, Sarah Palin was a moron for taking on the less-spectacularly corrupt Alaskan political machine. See, if she had been as brilliant as Obama, she wouldn’t have needed to respond with crude measures like fighting corruption and defeating corrupt politicians; she could have employed nuance and smarts to finesse around it, and even profit from it.
Whew. We really dodged a bullet there.

Jeffrey Lord on the Camelot precedent.

UPDATE VI: John Cole and Ben Smith cage match (which I learned of because Cole linked me). I’m agnostic on the issue of whether it is “censorship” for Obamabots to give the heave-ho to questions about Blago on Change.gov. Eventually, however, there is a limit to what busy beavers on the Internet can do. This is all part of a P.R. battle, with Democrats trying to convince the world that the putrid corruption of Chicago politics, as personified by Blago, cannot possibly taint the sainted Obama. Good luck with that.

UPDATE VII: Dept. of Obvious Headlines:

UNION LINKED TO CORRUPTION SCANDAL

UPDATE VIII: Michelle Malkin is having entirely too much fun with Patty F—ing Blagojevich.

UPDATE IX: What’s a scandal without a timeline?

PREVIOUSLY:
12/10: The Obama memory hole
12/10: BlagoGate, Day 2
12/9: ‘Tainted’
12/9: Monetize this!
12/9: FBI arrests Obama ally

December 11, 2008

The Obama memory hole

A couple of stories that I’d linked to earlier today — both reporting on Obama’s Nov. 5 meeting with Gov. Rod Blagojevich — have disappeared from the Internet, as did a video of David Axelrod saying that Obama had talked to Blagojevich.

Jammie Wearing Fool and Gateway Pundit are both reporting on that Cover-Up You Can Believe In. Ed Morrissey finds Team Obama busy deleting questions about the Blagojevich scandl from the transition Web site.

Meanwhile, WSJ’s Cam Simpson notes that the two-hour call on Nov. 10 is the focus of journalistic curiosity, because it was in that call that Blagojevich called Obama a “motherf—-r” and immediately afterwards that Obama aide “Senate Candidate 1” Valerie Jarrett (a favorite of SEIU) was withdrawn from contention for the seat.

Also, Jesse Jackson Sr. — who may have been the guy offering money to get Jesse Jr. appointed to the Senate — has lawyered up.

Let the Rod Blagojevich Resignation Countdown begin. I’ll go ahead and stake my bet that Blagojevich resigns about 8 p.m. ET Friday — too late to make the 6 p.m. news in Chicago, in other words.

December 10, 2008

BlagoGate, Day 2

UPDATED & BUMPED: Under the bus:

President-elect Barack Obama is calling for Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to resign. Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs says the president-elect agrees with other prominent politicians that “under the current circumstances, it is difficult for the governor to effectively do his job and serve the people of Illinois.”

(Via Hot Air.) And, also via Hot Air, “Senate Candidate 5” was Jesse Jackson Jr. I’m shocked, shocked!

MORE: Controverting claims that Obama did not discuss with the governor who would fill his Senate seat, in fact he met with Blagojevich Nov. 5 in Chicago. (H/T: Instapundit.)

UPDATE 4 P.M.: I’d rather be rubbing my hands in glee than hiding my head in shame. (H/T: Malkin.)

UPDATE 5 P.M.: Senate Democrats ask Blago to resign.

PREVIOUSLY: Day One here and here, in case you’re joining this melodrama in progress. OK, so Illinois Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich is under indictment for trying to sell the Senate seat being vacated by the president elect, and the question now is: What did Obama know, and when did he know it?

Allahpundit has a good rundown: Obama denies having any contact with Blagojevich, an assertion contradicted by Obama’s campaign manager:

But on November 23, 2008, his senior adviser David Axelrod appeared on Fox News Chicago and said something quite different.
While insisting that the President-elect had not expressed a favorite to replace him, and his inclination was to avoid being a “kingmaker,” Axelrod said, “I know he’s talked to the governor and there are a whole range of names many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them.”

So, which is it? Did Obama talk to Blagojevich about his replacement, or didn’t he?

UPDATE I: RiShawn Biddle has a profile of Blagojevich:

After marrying the daughter of a longtime Chicago alderman, Richard Mell, Blagojevich parlayed his father-in-law’s political ties and a squeaky-clean image as a populist reformer into stints in the Illinois House of Representatives and the congressional seat once held by the infamously corrupt Dan Rostenkowski, before placing the governorship into Democratic control for the first time in three decades.

So much for that “squeaky-clean image”! Philip Klein:

Blagojevich’s declaration, recorded by wiretap, that a Senate seat “is a fu–ing valuable thing, you don’t just give it away for nothing,” is sure to enter the political scandal lexicon along with Larry Craig’s “I have a wide stance” and Marion Barry’s “the bitch set me up.”

UPDATE II: Byron York questions the timing:

And then, on December 4, something changed, and that change was the presence of the person referred to in the complaint as “Candidate Five.” If the complaint is correct, in “Candidate Five,” Blagojevich finally found a prospective senator who might come up with money – $500,000 for Blagojevich’s political organization – in return for the Obama seat.

A press leak to the Chicago Tribune Dec. 5 apparently scotched the deal, and York observes:

For anyone who has watched the case, the astonishing thing is that Blagojevich, prior to December 5, could possibly have assumed that he wasn’t under surveillance. But he apparently did, making for some of the juiciest political wiretaps in years.

UPDATE III: Michelle Malkin has a caption contest:

My suggestion: “Who is that man with Obama, and why is he wearing Michael Nesmith’s hair?”

Michelle also has a column today about Nancy “Culture of Corruption” Pelosi:

2008 was the year of Democratic Reps. William “Cold Cash” Jefferson, Charlie “Sweetheart Deals” Rangel, and former Detroit Mayor Kwame “Text Me” Kilpatrick. It was the year Democratic Massachusetts State Senator Dianne Wilkerson got caught stuffing bribes from an FBI informant down her shirt. It was the year 12 Democratic leaders and staffers in Pennsylvania’s state Capitol were stung in a massive corruption scandal involving cash, sex and abuse of public office. And it was the year of multimillion-dollar embezzlement scandals at Democratic satellite offices of ACORN and the SEIU.

Year in, year out, Democrats are more corrupt than Republicans. That’s a fact established to the point of statistical certainty in Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Democratic Party, and in the two years since it was published, Democrats have only added more evidence to prove our point.

December 10, 2008

‘Tainted’

Statement from Sen. Harry Reid:

“It is clear that anyone Governor Blagojevich appoints to the Senate will fairly or unfairly be tainted by questions of impropriety. A different process to select a new Senator must be put in place – and that process should not involve Governor Blagojevich.”

And who can disagree? I mean, if anybody’s an expert on being “tainted by questions of impropriety” . . .