JUNE 11, 2008
Under federal investigation for corruption, Illinois’ scandal-plagued Democrat governor has been labeled a tumor by the head of his own party who is leading an effort to impeach him.
The speaker of the Illinois House, Michael Madigan, has distributed a memo to fellow lawmakers outlining how they can call for impeachment hearings against Governor Rod Blagojevich. Madigan wields substantial power in state politics because he is also the chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois.
Referring to Blagojevich, the state House speaker points out that a tumor should be excised when it is first discovered rather than being left to continue spreading and do further harm. His impeachment memo details Blagojevich’s numerous misdeeds since being sworn in last year and the merits of impeachment.
In its short tenure, Blagojevich’s administration has been associated with several corruption scandals and the governor is currently being investigated by federal authorities. Just last week his top adviser and fundraiser, Antoin Rezko, was convicted of 16 counts of bribery, mail fraud and money laundering.
The governor’s name was prevalent during Rezko’s two-month trial and was mentioned 41 times in closing arguments alone. At the trial three convicted political insiders testified that Blagojevich participated in private meetings about the purchase of state jobs and state business with campaign contributors. All testified that the governor assured that people who raised money for his campaign would profit from his influence.
Early last year Judicial Watch filed an open records lawsuit against Blagojevich for refusing to make public documents relating to the government’s corruption investigation of his office. The governor claims the information is exempt from public disclosure even though his own attorney general has said it is not.
In making his case for impeachment, House Speaker Madigan points out that the level of dysfunction and disagreement has reached a fever pitch under Blagojevich and that he shows remarkably little ability to govern.
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