The Who2 Blog

Illinois Politics Enters Bizarro World

Are you kidding? Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested at his house by the FBI this morning, possibly in his pajamas, at 6:15 am.

The charge: Plotting to sell the state’s U.S. senate seat to the highest bidder. (That’s the seat being vacated by Barack Obama. Blagojevich has total power to appoint Obama’s successor.)

They have wiretaps to prove everything, the feds say.

“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.”

That’s from federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, whom you may remember as the guy who took down Scooter Libby.

Fitzgerald says Blagovich talked, bluntly, about wanting cash, campaign contributions, a cushy job for his wife, an ambassadorship for himself, or some combination of the above in exchange for appointing the right person.

There’s no suggestion so far that Obama did anything wrong in the case. The Sun-Times quotes Blagovich as saying of Obama’s team, “They’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation.”

We know Chicago (at least) has a reputation for corruption to uphold, but still. Crazy.

The Chicago Tribune and the Sun-Times are a good place to follow the story.

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