Judicial Watch • Illinois Gov. Tries To Sell Obama’s Senate Seat

Illinois Gov. Tries To Sell Obama’s Senate Seat

Illinois Gov. Tries To Sell Obama’s Senate Seat

DECEMBER 09, 2008

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has finally been arrested and charged with corruption for selling the influence of his office, lucrative state jobs and contracts to the highest bidders. 

The scandal-plagued Democrat has been under federal investigation for at least three years and he put the figurative icing on the cake in seeking a cabinet-level position in the new Barack Obama administration in exchange for appointing a union-preferred candidate to replace the Illinois Senate seat just vacated by Obama.

Blagojevich and his chief of staff (John Harris) have each been charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery. Calling the breadth of corruption staggering, prosecutors said the governor put a “for sale” sign on the naming of a United States senator. A lengthy document published today by the Illinois U.S. Attorney offers the appalling details of the charges against Blagojevich and his chief of staff.

Prosecutors say court-authorized wiretaps actually captured Blagojevich trying to sell or trade the Illinois Senate seat vacated by Obama for financial and other personal benefits for himself and his wife. In the recordings, Blagojevich is heard trying to; obtain a substantial salary for himself at either a non-profit or an organization affiliated with labor unions; place his wife on paid corporate boards where she could make $150,000 a year; obtain campaign donations as well as cash up front and a cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself. 

The governor is also accused of scheming with others—including convicted felon Antoin Rezko—over the years to obtain bribes in exchange for appointments to coveted state boards and commissions, state jobs and state contracts.  

Judicial Watch has been investigating the massive corruption in the Blagojevich administration for years. In 2006 Blagojevich refused a Judicial Watch public records request for subpoenas relating to the federal investigation of his corrupt administration and in 2007 Judicial Watch filed an open records lawsuit in the Cook County Illinois Circuit Court to obtain them. 

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