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Fitzgerald: Blagojevich’s “conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave”
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Patrick FitzgeraldVia The New York Times, a transcript of the Justice Department news briefing regarding the arrest of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

The juicy bits, from Patrick Fitzgerald, US attorney general for the Northern District of Illinois:

Governor Blagojevich has taken us to a truly new low. [He] has been arrested in the middle of what we can only describe as a political corruption crime spree. We acted to stop that crime spree.

  
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The most appalling conduct Governor Blagojevich engaged in, according to the complaint filed today or unsealed today, is that he attempted to sell a Senate seat, the Senate seat he had the sole right to under Illinois to appoint to replace President-elect Obama. … The conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave.

One [example] involves Children’s Memorial Hospital… the governor awarded funding, reimbursement funding to that hospital to the tune of $8 million. But he also indicated privately that what he wanted to get was a $50,000 personal contribution from the chief executive officer of that hospital.

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In the ensuing weeks, that contribution never came. And Governor Blagojevich was intercepted on the telephone checking to see whether or not he could pull back the funding for Children’s Memorial Hospital.



The Chicago Tribune … had written editorials that called for his impeachment. And Governor Blagojevich and defendant John Harris, his chief of staff, schemed to send a message to the Chicago Tribune that if the Tribune Company wanted to sell its ballfield, Wrigley Field, in order to complete a business venture, the price of doing so was to fire certain editors, including one editor by name.

In the governor words, quote, “Fire all those bleeping people. Get them the bleep out of there. And get us some editorial support,” close quote. And the bleeps are not really bleeps.

…the governor talked about appointing himself to the Senate seat for reasons not having to do with the better welfare of the citizens of Illinois.

He wanted to do it to avoid impeachment in the Illinois legislature for his conduct. He wanted to do it to have access to greater financial resources, if he were indicted. He wanted to do it to see if he could help his wife work as a lobbyist. He wanted to do it to remake his image to run for office in 2016, and he wanted to do it to see if he could generate speaking fees.



 

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