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Thread: Illinois Governor arrested for trying to sell Barack Obama's senate seat

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    Elite Member louiswinthorpe111's Avatar
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    Default Illinois Governor arrested for trying to sell Barack Obama's senate seat

    CHICAGO Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested on Tuesday on charges that he brazenly conspired to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President-elect Barack Obama to the highest bidder.

    Blagojevich also was charged with illegally threatening to withhold state assistance to Tribune Co., the owner of the Chicago Tribune, in the sale of Wrigley Field, according to a federal criminal complaint. In return for state assistance, Blagojevich allegedly wanted members of the paper's editorial board who had been critical of him fired.

    A 76-page FBI affidavit said the 51-year-old Democratic governor was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps over the last month conspiring to sell or trade the vacant Senate seat for personal benefits for himself and his wife, Patti.

    Otherwise, Blagojevich considered appointing himself. The affidavit said that as late as Nov. 3, he told his deputy governor that if "they're not going to offer me anything of value I might as well take it."

    "I'm going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain," Blagojevich allegedly said later that day, according to the affidavit, which also quoted him as saying in a remark punctuated by profanity that the seat was "a valuable thing you just don't give it away for nothing."

    The affidavit said Blagojevich also discussed getting a substantial salary for himself at a nonprofit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions.

    It said Blagojevich also talked about getting his wife placed on corporate boards where she might get $150,000 a year in director's fees.

    He also allegedly discussed getting campaign funds for himself or possibly a post in the president's cabinet or an ambassadorship once he left the governor's office. He noted becoming a U.S. senator might remake his image for a possible presidential run in 2016, according to the affidavit. And he allegedly said a Senate seat would also provide him with corporate contacts if he needed a job and present an opportunity for his wife to work as a lobbyist.

    "I want to make money," the affidavit quotes him as saying in one conversation.

    The affidavit said Blagojevich expressed frustration at being "stuck" as governor and that he would have access to greater resources if he were indicted while in the U.S. Senate than while sitting as governor.

    U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in a statement that "the breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering."

    "They allege that Blagojevich put a for sale sign on the naming of a United States senator," Fitzgerald said."

    Messages left for Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero and at the governor's press office were not immediately returned Tuesday morning.

    Among those being considered for the Senate post include U.S. Reps. Danny Davis and Jesse Jackson Jr.

    The affidavit outlined a Nov. 10 call between Blagojevich, his wife, his chief of staff John Harris, who also was arrested Tuesday and a group of advisers in which Harris allegedly suggested working out an agreement with the Service Employees International Union.

    Under the plan, Blagojevich would appoint a new senator who would be helpful to the president-elect and in turn get a job as head of Change to Win, a group formed by the union. The union would get an unspecified favor from Obama later.

    Nothing in the court papers suggested Obama had any part in the discussion. In fact, Blagojevich allegedly said in the same conversation that Obama most likely would not appoint him as secretary of health and human services or to an ambassadorship because of the negative publicity that has surrounded the governor for three years.

    One day later, according to the affidavit, Blagojevich allegedly told an associate he knew Obama wanted a specific Senate candidate but "they're not going to give me anything except appreciation." He finished the remark with an expletive.

    Blagojevich also was charged with using his authority as governor in an attempt to squeeze out campaign contributions.

    Corruption in the Blagojevich administration has been the focus of a federal investigation involving an alleged $7 million scheme aimed at squeezing kickbacks out of companies seeking business from the state. Federal prosecutors have acknowledged they're also investigating "serious allegations of endemic hiring fraud" under Blagojevich, who has a $177,412 salary, though it's unclear whether he accepts the total.

    Political fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko who raised money for the campaigns of both Blagojevich and Obama is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of fraud and other charges. Blagojevich's chief fundraiser, Christopher G. Kelly, is due to stand trial early next year on charges of obstructing the Internal Revenue Service.

    According to Tuesday's complaint, Blagojevich schemed with Rezko, millionaire-fundraiser turned federal witness Stuart Levine and others to get financial benefits for himself and his campaign committee.

    Federal prosecutors said Blagojevich and the chairman of his campaign committee have been speeding up corrupt fundraising activities in the last month to get as much money as possible before the end of the year when a new law would curtail his ability to raise contributions from companies with state contracts worth more than $50,000.

    According to the affidavit, agents learned Blagojevich was seeking $2.5 million in campaign contributions by the end of the year, with a large part allegedly to come from companies and individuals who have gotten state contracts or appointments.

    The affidavit also outlines Blagojevich conversations related to Tribune Co., which has been hoping to sell Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs which the publishing giant also owns.

    Blagojevich was quoted in court papers as telling Harris in a profanity laced Nov. 4 conversation that his recommendation to Tribune executives was to fire the editorial writers "and get us some editorial support."

    Harris is quoted as telling the governor Nov. 11 that an unnamed Tribune Owner, presumably CEO Sam Zell, "got the message and is very sensitive to the issue."

    The affidavit said Harris quoted a Tribune financial adviser as saying cuts were coming at the newspaper and "reading between the lines he's going after that section," apparently meaning editorial writers. Blagojevich is quoted as saying: "Oh, that's fantastic."

    "Wow," Blagojevich allegedly replied. "Keep our fingers crossed. You're the man. Good job, John."

    Harris allegedly told Blagojevich in his conversation with the financial adviser he had singled out deputy editorial page editor John McCormick as "somebody who was the most biased and unfair."

    After hearing that, Blagojevich allegedly stressed to the head of a Chicago sports consulting firm that it was important to provide state aid for a Wrigley Field sale.

    Blagojevich took the chief executive's office in 2003 as a reformer promising to clean up former Gov. George Ryan's mess.

    Ryan, a Republican, is serving a 6-year prison sentence after being convicted on racketeering and fraud charges. A decade-long investigation began with the sale of driver's licenses for bribes and led to the conviction of dozens of people who worked for Ryan when he was secretary of state and governor.

    FBI spokesman Frank Bochte said federal agents arrested the governor and Harris simultaneously at their homes at 6:15 a.m. and took them to the Chicago FBI headquarters.

    He did not have any details about Blagojevich's arrest, only that he was cooperative with federal agents.

    "It was a very calm setting," he said.

    The governor was to appear later Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan to answer the charges. The time was not immediately set.

    ___

    Associated Press Writer Don Babwin contributed to this report.


    Blagojevich is a joke, he's run Illinois into the ground. Illinois can't elect a clean politican to save their lives.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    OMG. What a sleeze. Poor Illinois. This man is a total crook. I know how they feel-we certainly have had our shre in Louisiana.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    OMG, what a fucking asshole! Please god let them have his walk of shame on video.
    FUCK YOU AND GIVE ME MY GODDAMN VENTI TWO PUMP LIGHT WHIP MOCHA YOU COCKSUCKING WHORE BEFORE I PUNCH YOU IN THE MOUTH. I just get unpleasant in my car. - Deej

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    Elite Member Quazar's Avatar
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    What is with these wacky-ass Governors? Spitzer, Palin, Ryan, Blagojevich....

    How could someone, with such a high profile, think that they wouldn't get caught saying or doing these kinds of things? I don't get the sheer stupidity or narcissism of these people.

    I hope Obama doesn't get dragged down by this scandal to start off his Presidency.
    Last edited by Quazar; December 9th, 2008 at 02:23 PM.

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    Elite Member Str8_uncut-jock's Avatar
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    ^ unfortch, Obama may be implicated...even though not directly. but some of the conversations recorded with the SIEU involve Obama working with them to help Blagojevich. not sure Obama knew that his name was being used, but it was thrown out there a lot in the tapes. This guy is a royal fuck up though...stupid really. I'm surprised he didn't put all this in emails from his yahoo account.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    lol in the tapes Blagowhatever is calling Obama a motherfucker and a whole bunch of other things.. guess he didn't help

    [Blagojevich] also appears to think little of the president-elect, whom he calls a "motherf***er" at one point.

    “F**k him,” Blagjoveich says of Obama during a lengthy call with top aides and his wife recorded on November 10th, “For nothing? F**k him.”

    In another section of the complaint, Blagojevich expresses exasperation that Obama and his team aren't willing to offer him an inducement in exchange for appointing an aide, apparently Valerie Jarrett, to the Senate.

    Blagojevich "said he knows that the President-elect wants Senate Candidate 1 for the Senate seat but 'they’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation. F**k them,'" says the complaint.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Maybe Oprah's going to buy it.

    I'm waiting to see who the 'candidate number 5' that offered the 500K is.....advance buzz is Jesse Jackson Jr.

    but hey, it's IL.......the last 4 out of 7 Governors have been indicted.......it's almost a job requirement
    Last edited by witchcurlgirl; December 9th, 2008 at 01:17 PM.



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    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    Maybe Oprah's going to buy it.

    I'm waiting to see who the 'candidate number 5' that offered the 500K is.....advance buzz is Jesse Jackson Jr.

    but hey, it's IL.......the last 4 out of 7 Governors have been indicted.......it's almost a job requirement
    What,what! No way!
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    ^^ Just rumors so far....




    Who might this person be?

    From the context, it's probably Jesse Jackson. Jr.


    "Later on December 4, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH spoke to Fundraiser A. ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated he was "elevating" Senate Candidate 5 on the list of candidates for the open Senate seat. ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated he might be able to cut a deal with

    Senate Candidate 5 that provided ROD BLAGOJEVICH with something

    "tangible up front." ROD BLAGOJEVICH noted he was going to meet with

    Senate Candidate 5 in the next few days."
    The only candidate with whom Blagojevich met within that period was Jesse Jackson, Jr.

    Blago Indictment: Who Is Senate Candidate 5? - Marc Ambinder



    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    The plot thickens!
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member mrs.v's Avatar
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    Stupid assholes.
    eat a hot bowl of dicks.

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    Elite Member Quazar's Avatar
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    A lot of lives are going to be ruined over greed. Makes you wonder what else is going on out there?

    Let me suggest people running for Governor have some kind of psychological test administered to them. We're seeing quite a bit of psychopathy here. Hell - I had to go through this for one of my previous jobs. I can't imagine Sarah Palin passing this test.

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    OCK
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    I hate this bitch so much.
    ~~~Jesus please save me from your fanclub~~~

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    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    He should put it up on ebay.
    As Canadian as possible under the circumstances

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    Elite Member NicoleWasHere's Avatar
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    Good to see this guy's priorities are in order. I mean, really. *golf clap*

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