Archive for ‘Rod Blagojevich’

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 12, 2008

Rod Blagojevich, deadbeat

He owes more than $500,000 in unpaid legal bills and is over-leveraged on two homes:

Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat, earns about $177,000 a year as governor. He and his wife own a house in Chicago and a condominium unit in Washington.
They bought the condo in the Waterford complex in 1997, taking out a $155,000 mortgage, according to the District of Columbia Recorder of Deeds. In 2005, the Blagojeviches refinanced, taking out a mortgage for $233,000. Real-estate Web site Zillow.com estimates the home is worth $547,000.
In Chicago, in 1999, the Blagojeviches took out a construction mortgage for $509,000, according to records from the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. They have refinanced the home several times, most recently taking out a $524,000 mortgage in 2004 and a second mortgage in late 2007 for $170,000. Zillow.com estimates the home is worth $939,000.

As I’ve said before, Democrats will tolerate politicians who are greedy and dishonest, it’s greedy, dishonest and stupid they can’t forgive. And Blago’s about six different kinds of stupid.

Hey, now that I’m thinking about it, wouldn’t an annual salary of $177,000 put Blagojevich in that “top 5 percent” whose taxes Obama promised to raise?

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

Special BlagoGate flaming skull

I mean, how brilliant is that? The AOSHQ Flaming Skull Alert is famous throughout the blogosphere, but for Slublog to update it with Blagojevich’s hair . . . I mean, wow. It so totally screams “Way Too Much Time On Our Hands,” doesn’t it? I don’t know that I’ve ever been so proud to be a Moron.

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” . . .

December 9, 2008

Monetize this!

Reading through the Blagojevich indictment and counting the expletives (20, FYI), I’m thinking this is how you know you’re dealing with Chicago Democrats: You have to issue a “not safe for work” warning before linking their federal indictment. Also, I notice that the federal prosecutor felt compelled to issue his own disclaimer:

The public is reminded that a complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Right. And the public is also reminded that “corrupt Chicago Democrat” is redundant. From the prosecutor’s press release:

On November 10, in a lengthy telephone call with numerous advisors that included discussion about Blagojevich obtaining a lucrative job with a union-affiliated organization in exchange for appointing a particular Senate Candidate whom he believed was favored by the President-elect and which is described in more detail below, Blagojevich and others discussed various ways Blagojevich could “monetize” the relationships he has made as governor to make money after leaving that office.

“Monetizing” politics is the raison d’etre of Chicago Democrats. According to Chicago rules, Blagojevich’s mistake wasn’t being greedy and dishonest, it was being greedy, dishonest and stupid.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

December 9, 2008

FBI arrests Obama ally

And, no, it’s not Bill Ayers:

Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested today by FBI agents on federal corruption charges.
Blagojevich and Harris were accused of a wide-ranging criminal conspiracy that included Blagojevich conspiring to sell or trade the Senate seat left vacant by President-elect Barack Obama in exchange for financial benefits for the governor and his wife. The governor was also accused of obtaining campaign contributions in exchange for other official actions.

No word yet on whether Blagojevich will face grand larceny charges for stealing Mike Nesmith’s hairstyle from 1967.

UPDATE: More from CNN:

“The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering,” U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement. “They allege that Blagojevich put a ‘for sale’ sign on the naming of a United States Senator; involved himself personally in pay-to-play schemes with the urgency of a salesman meeting his annual sales target; and corruptly used his office in an effort to trample editorial voices of criticism.”

And yet the feds say nothing about Mike Nesmith’s hair — another Bush-Cheney cover-up!

UPDATE II: Michelle Malkin has more, including a link to the original indictment. But Michelle doesn’t mention the Nesmith hair issue, leading me to suspect a neocon conspiracy. Of course, whenever bad things happen to Democrats, it’s always a neocon conspiracy.

UPDATE III: Slublog at AOSHQ:

Given the level of anger Blagojevich displays toward Obama in this complaint, my suspicion is that the president-elect gave his old buddy the cold shoulder after the election, and this scheme was Blagojevich’s response to being shut out. Weapons-grade stupid.

And Monkees-grade hair.

UPDATE IV: Patty F—ing Blagojevich.

UPDATE V: “Senate Candidate 5” in the indictment is probably Jesse Jackson Jr., says Marc Ambinder.

UPDATE VI: Look for the union label. You know, if they’d just throw in some mobsters, adultery, espionage and treason, I could sue Blagojevich for plagiarism.

UPDATE VII: Press conference video via Hot Air:

“The absolute lowlight? Blago trying to shake down a children’s hospital for a $50,000 kickback in exchange for $8 million in state funding.”