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Holiday Sale: An Open Senate Seat From Illinois.

A portion of the criminal complaint against Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is on Smoking Gun.

I've never met Blagojevich, but I once met the man who made him Governor, David Axelrod. In the primaries, Blagojevich beat a good man (whom I was favoring), Chicago Public Schools Superintendent Paul Vallas. Vallas had done a terrific job improving Chicago schools, while fighting some of the very different school reforms of the three foundations on which Bill Ayers and Barack Obama worked together. But, as we've seen in the last year, Axelrod is a master campaign manager and Blagojevich ran on a platform of change -- more particularly, ending "pay to play."

Not only does the complaint refrain from making allegations of wrongdoing by Obama and the Obama transition team, at one point Blagojevich is recorded expressing frustration with the idea that Obama might expect his Senate candidate to be appointed without giving anything in return except gratitude.

The most interesting of the allegations involves SEIU, the ACORN-related union that has been close to Obama for many years. It appears that SEIU might have been pushing for the Senate slot the candidate whom Obama was thought to support. The complaint does not identify that candidate, though she is described as female and an Obama aide. My guess from clues is that she is Valerie Jarrett, who may have pulled out from consideration.

Eventually, Blagojevich was angling for one of two possibilities:

1. Obama to set up a $10 to $20 million non-profit organization for Blagojevich to run after he left office, perhaps with money from Warren Buffet or Bill Gates.

2. A three-way deal in which Blagojevich appoints Obama's choice as Senator and SEIU hires Blagojevich's wife for its Change to Win organization, and then hires Blagojevich to run Change to Win when he leaves office for several hundred thousand dollars a year.

The complaint alleges that Blagojevich did meet with SEIU about the Senate seat, but it's unclear whether any corrupt deal was discussed with SEIU.

anon345 (mail):
At what point do your fellow conspirators become disgusted by your antics and tell you to go peddle your BS elsewhere? Undermine, undermine, undermine you troll, but it won't change the fact that Obama is President and Congress is controlled by Democrats.
12.9.2008 12:49pm
Guntram:
Rod B has quite a potty mouth.. and Anon345, I fail to see what Lindgren's antics were. Chill.
12.9.2008 12:53pm
commontheme (mail):
Tip of the hat for working in another reference to Bill Ayers/Obama.

The next 4/8 years are going to be very long ones for you, I suspect.
12.9.2008 12:55pm
Al Maviva:
Fitzgerald = Ken Starr.

Maybe I'm premature on that, but wait a couple weeks and see what the defense strategy is. I predict a world record in evolution, with the super prosecutor turning into a bad guy before our eyes.

On the merits, I'm non-plussed. We found another high government official willing to sell out to the highest bidder... shocker. At this point literally nothing surprises me. How anybody can stick to their usual partisan talking points after the 12 year wave of corruption that's hit the fed and large state governments is beyond me.
12.9.2008 12:58pm
Not so fast, my friend (mail):
Guntram,

anon345's post was quite plainly tongue-in-cheek. At least I hope it was.
12.9.2008 12:59pm
anon345 (mail):
You're right Guntram. Jim Lindgren is not a pig-f****r.
12.9.2008 1:00pm
Nunzio:
Anon345, the post, in bold no less, goes out of its way to exonerate Obama here.

I agree Vallas was the better choice, not just in hindsight. There's speculation he'll run in 2010 as a Republican.

After reading the criminal complaint, it's clear that Blagojevich is just an idiot. He's well aware that he's under federal investigation but still makes incredibly incriminating statements. Although the Senate seat sale is the most sensational part of the criminal complaint, the other counts detailing Blago's M.O. for the last 6 years is typical Illinois politics.

This can't be good news for George Ryan, whose begging W. for a commutation/pardon. I doubt W. wants to get into the thicket of Illinois politics now.
12.9.2008 1:00pm
President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama:
This isn't the Rod Blagojevich I knew.
12.9.2008 1:00pm
pluribus:
What is your basis for saying that Axelrod "made" Blagojevich governor? Managed his campaign? I thought the party apparatus and the voters had something to do with the election. If you are attempting to malign Axelrod, who made a good impression one me during the campaign, I object. Based only on the news reports, I find Blagojevich disgusting.
12.9.2008 1:03pm
alkali (mail):
@JL: I've never met Blagojevich, but I once met the man who made him Governor, David Axelrod.

Is this attribution to Axelrod correct? I think Axelrod worked for B. at some prior point but not in the governor's race.

I think the interesting question here is whether Obama was tipped by Fitzgerald's office about the ongoing investigation. (I'm not suggesting that it would have been improper for Fitzgerald to do that, just that it is an interesting question.)
12.9.2008 1:05pm
Careless:
Well this wasn't what we thought he was going to be indicted for. It is, however, hilarious.
12.9.2008 1:08pm
anon345 (mail):
Actually, what I meant to say is,

Noone has come forward to publicly accuse Jim Lindgren of being a pigf****r.

Having never met him or a pig that he has f***ed, I cannot really comment on his predilections.
12.9.2008 1:09pm
Sarcastro (www):
I disagree Jim Lindgren so often, I have developed a time saver: everything he posts is automatically wrong! This guy must be totally innocent!

Though he is totally Obama's best friend, as is seen by this exchange:


In a conversation with [John Harris, Blagojevich's chief of staff] on November 11, Blagojevich said he knew that the President-elect wanted Senate Candidate 1 for the open seat but "they're not willing to give me anything except appreciation. [Expletive] them."


Who but a friend would say that about The One?
12.9.2008 1:11pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
I love the posting of Obama's Senate seat for sale on E-Bay.
12.9.2008 1:13pm
Sarcastro (www):
[Source for above: http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/247390.php]
12.9.2008 1:13pm
LN (mail):
Let's see: in conjunction with a story about a corrupt governor, we have mentions of ACORN, Bill Ayers, David Axelrod, a "master campaign," a "platform of change," and a union.

It is true that there is a sentence in bold suggesting that none of the aforementioned is really relevant.
12.9.2008 1:15pm
Der Hahn (mail):
But didn't you hear the really big news???!?!? Sarah Palin got a hundred thousand dollars worth of clothes from the RNC!!!! Next to that, Blogo is a piker!!!
12.9.2008 1:16pm
Lyle (mail):
Obama is corrupt?
12.9.2008 1:17pm
ForWhatItsWorth:
We expect different from Illinois politics? I hope the guy gets the legal sledge hammer dropped on his pointy, foul-mouthed head.

But let's get real, what do you think the actual result will be? Before long, he will be hailed as the savior of something or other. It's Illinois......
12.9.2008 1:18pm
Mikeyes (mail):
Can the Governor still appoint the successor to Senator/President Elect Obama? I think he has to be impeached in order to lose his job and the trial for these charges will not occur for a while.
12.9.2008 1:18pm
Nunzio:
Maybe Blago can ask Obama for a pardon.

But the burning question still remains: What political hack will assume the sacred Obama Senate seat?
12.9.2008 1:20pm
Ben P:

Rod B has quite a potty mouth


Indeed, although it appears he could use a thesaurus


"I've got this thing and it's f***ing golden, and, uh, uh, I'm just not giving it up for f***in' nothing. I'm not gonna do it. And I can always use it. I can parachute me there....I have to give this "motherf***er [the president-elect] his senator. F*** him! For nothing? F*** him ....before I just give f***ing [Senate Candidate l] a f***ing Senate seat and I don't get anything.
12.9.2008 1:21pm
donaldk2 (mail):
I have read your Comments Policy. There are a few comments here that grossly violate that.
12.9.2008 1:36pm
Houston Lawyer:
I guess people will stop complaining about Obama appointing old Clinton hands now. Chicago polititians make them look relatively clean.
12.9.2008 1:38pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
The AP on Sept. 19:

'Governor Rod Blagojevich says he fears next week's vote could be a "Republican trap" to entangle presidential candidate Barack Obama in the gridlock over Illinois' ethics legislation.

'The Democratic governor says he worries Republican John McCain's campaign will accuse Obama of helping his old friends in Illinois if state senators override Blagojevich's veto on ethics legislation.

'Senate President Emil Jones said yesterday he decided to call senators back to work after Obama urged him to do so.

'If lawmakers go along with the ethics reform measures he wants, Blagojevich says Obama can brag about how he helped change the system in Illinois.

'But Blagojevich says he doesn't think Obama should be dragged into any of this.'
12.9.2008 1:40pm
AndrewK (mail):
Pardon me for being cynical, but why now? The Rod-O quotes suggest he expected to get paid. Everyone knows that he's a thorn in the establishment in Chicago now, and that JJJr. is next in line. Blagojevich is getting no campaign contributions and has been blacklisted in Chicago. So I think this is simply the first time the outfit decided to cooperate with the Feds. Rod-O is being offed.

As an aside, I hope the SEIU gets busted up. The whole card-check system is a travesty, and I have met workers who have had SEIU thugs sit in their house and refuse to leave until they agree to sign the card checks. Ug.
12.9.2008 1:41pm
Cornellian (mail):
I wonder why guys like this go into politics in the first place. Why expend all that effort getting a job that doesn't pay that much in order to use its political power to make money illegally? Why not just go directly for the job that's all about making money, like investment banking?
12.9.2008 1:43pm
Snaphappy:
Now I see!

Axelrod + Blagojevich + "change" = Corrupt Governor

Axelrod + Blagojevich + "change" > Good Man

Good Man > Obama + Ayers + bad school reforms

therefore:

Corrupt Governor > Obama + Ayers + bad school reforms

Corrupt Governor - Ayers - bad school reforms > Obama

That is, Obama is no better than Blagojevich, even if you take away Ayers and Obama's questionable school reform proposals.

I don't have the energy for it, but a similar analysis reveals how BHO is actually selling his own Senate seat, but is just cheap about it.
12.9.2008 1:46pm
josh:
I'm starting to find that the greatest thing Obama did as a candidate and politician was realize that the Swift-Boating by your opponents can actually be turned into great political gain.

The more the likes of Lindgren, Bernstein et al focus on the Ayers/Axelrods/ACORNs (three As!!! Conspiracy!!!), the better for Obama. The facts as alleged keep pouring in in favor of Obama's version of events:

After a 90-minute free-for-all with the Chicago Tribune editorial board, Obama demonstrated to their (and later the public's) satisfaction that there wasn't much "there" there with respect to his relationship with Tony Rezco.

Blago's own voice in audio tape recordings evidences Obama's refusal to "pay for play."

Etc.

Look, I dispute much of the attempted smears on this site, but, as I always say to Bernstein, thank you for keeping them going. They do nothing by politically advantage my guy in office.
12.9.2008 1:52pm
KilgoreTrout_XL (mail):
This is the most asinine post I've ever seen on this blog.
12.9.2008 1:54pm
MartyA:
This could actually be good news. At first, we thought Hussein was an empty suit positioned by left wing, anti-Americans and whose only qualification was that he was black. Now, it turns out that Hussein is just another buttonman working for the criminal pimps in Chicago/Springfield. It appears that, maybe, just maybe, Hussein is more interested in stealing us blind than he is in enslaving the American middle class.
Now, how are Hussein and his Chicago pimps going to get rid of US Attorney Fitzgerald while maintaining the pretense that President Bush politicized the office of the US Attorney General? I mean besides not allowing the captive media to say anything about it.
12.9.2008 1:57pm
josh:
Uhhhh

Snaphappy + computer + pajama bottoms / half-eaten bag of Cheetos = Lococito
12.9.2008 1:57pm
Oren:
Jesus, even as a (reluctant) Democrat, I know that Illinois politics is disgusting, controlled by the unions and generally for sale. Of course, George Ryan was an R. and Fitzgerald nailed him too.

I hope Obama keeps Fitz on the job (yeah right)
12.9.2008 2:01pm
a_non (mail):
Ummm... Axelrod refused to work for Blago's gubenatorial campaign

It's not clear from the linked piece, but I think Blago was an Axelrod client when Blago was a U.S. Rep. back in the 90's.

I'm sure I don't know the whole story, but the above link makes me question how one can fairly say that Axelrod was "the man who made" Blago governor. Wouldn't Dick Mell be a better choice for that appellation?
12.9.2008 2:02pm
Awesome-O:
The more the likes of Lindgren, Bernstein et al focus on the Ayers/Axelrods/ACORNs (three As!!! Conspiracy!!!), the better for Obama.

You really think it helps Obama if the people he's associated with are actively involved in corruption, or are at least tainted by it? It helps him to have associated with crooks? I could see it not harming Obama in a measurable way if it turns out that his hands were clean, how does it help his political fortunes to be surrounded by Chicago sleaze?

If this continues, eventually the fog of scandal surrounding Obama is going begin to dissolve his Hopey Changey exterior. Maybe it will never get to that point. But I can't see how associating with crooks makes Obama look better.
12.9.2008 2:03pm
Sarcastro (www):
MartyA, I'm afraid you have it wrong. Obama actually works for Soros via the Clinton Cabal. His real plan isn't slavery, it's one world Islamic government, as seen by Michelle Obama's famous dress.

Getting rid of Fitzgerald is as easy as a "walk" in Ft. Marcy Park.
12.9.2008 2:04pm
Sarcastro (www):
Awesome-O I think Obama's associations with crooks is a calculation to make him seem all badass. Cause as a Democrat, he's presumptively a nancy-boy.
12.9.2008 2:06pm
It's an old idea (mail):
Get funding from Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. Go sit in an endowed chair.
The city had a new police chief back in the 60's that was brought in to show that the pols were acting to clean up another police corruption scandal. O.W. Wilson, I think. He was so straight that things got a little uncomfortable around town. So, amazingly, out of the blue the Ford Foundation or one of the large nonprofits endowed a teaching chair in criminal law at Univ of Wisconsin law school that was "offered" to OWW and which he took. I was always impressed by RJD's political skill.
12.9.2008 2:07pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):

After a 90-minute free-for-all with the Chicago Tribune editorial board, Obama demonstrated to their (and later the public's) satisfaction that there wasn't much "there" there with respect to his relationship with Tony Rezco.


Don't count your chickens yet. More federal subpoenas issued today in the Rezco case.

O may be inocent in the sale of his Senate seat but let us see if "Blago" has anything to bargain with.

I don't think the Chicago Tribune editorial board is the final say on this matter.

Anway, its Fitmas today, lets not spoli it with sniping!
12.9.2008 2:07pm
Awesome-O:
Blago's own voice in audio tape recordings evidences Obama's refusal to "pay for play."

Obama is smarter than to blow his presidency before it begins by getting wrapped up with clear bribery.

But if Obama knew that R-Blag was trying to buy an appointment from him, why didn't he report it to anyone? I'll give Obama kudos if it turns out that he or his campaign told the FBI about the attempted pay-for-play, but I'm not holding my breath.
12.9.2008 2:09pm
pluribus:
ForWhatItsWorth:

We expect different from Illinois politics? I hope the guy gets the legal sledge hammer dropped on his pointy, foul-mouthed head.

But let's get real, what do you think the actual result will be? Before long, he will be hailed as the savior of something or other. It's Illinois......

Not necessarily. Former Illinois governor George Ryan was prosecuted by the same Fitzgerald and sentenced to prison. He is scheduled for release on July 4, 2013, when he will be 79 years old.
12.9.2008 2:11pm
Sarcastro (www):
12.9.2008 2:15pm
Awesome-O:
Anyway, its Fitzmas today, lets not spoli it with sniping!

Fitzmas! I had forgotten all about the happiest day of the year for the hate-Bush left! Merry Fitzmas to all!

Let's see what Jolly Old St. Fitz has in his sack...

For Johnny Liberal, Santa Fitz has... an indictment of Scooter Libby, a guy you never heard of before today! On a perjury charge with no underling crime! Sorry, no Karl Rove this year, Johnny Liberal! And no indictments for "outing" super-secret double-O "agent" Valerie Plame, either.

For Susie Conservative, Santa Fitz has... the governor of the state where the Obamessiah spent his entire political career, on bribery and corruption charges!

Who knew that Fitzmas was a conservative holiday? Ho ho ho!
12.9.2008 2:15pm
josh:
Awesome-O

Yes. I do think it helps Obama. My gut feeling is that the public has become sensitive to baseless Swift-boating and actually punishes perpetrators and rewards victims of it. I think this is furthered by good-faith investigation by the Media and the blogosphere on both sides of the political spectrum.

Let's frame it this way: Do you think Sarah Palin is hurt or helped by accusations that Bristol is actually her baby. Personally, I think she gets a lot of sympathy points by such silliness.

And to be very clear, let me note that my opinion about these smears is based solely on the evidence as known to the public. Maybe some day a tape will emerge with Obama promising to appoint someone to something for $1 million. But I expect that about as soon as I hear the tape about Michelle Obama complaining about "Whitey," or the proof that Obama was born in Uzbekistan.

But right now, the ceaseless efforts to tie Obama to something for which he is not responsible only makes his attackers look petty.
12.9.2008 2:19pm
KeithK (mail):
Snaphappy, your conclusion doesn't follow from your math. If Ayers and/or bad school reforms are negative quantities (which I certainly think they are) then it could be true that

Obama > Corrupt Governor

even if your previous inequalities are correct.
12.9.2008 2:19pm
Sarcastro (www):
The only thing that would make this a perfect Fitzmas (Or Fitzmikkah for some) would be if the left started to say Blago is innocent cause he's on their side, just like the Right did with old Scooter!

Anyone, anyone...Al Maviva?
12.9.2008 2:21pm
josh:
But back to Lindgren:

"The most interesting of the allegations involves SEIU, the ACORN-related union that has been close to Obama for many years."

Really? The most interesting allegation in the indictment of a sitting governor involves an "ACORN-related union that has been close to Obama for many years"??? (Nice passive voice, by the way!!!!)

I think that type of reading of the indictment really undermines your credibility.
12.9.2008 2:23pm
Awesome-O:
Let's frame it this way: Do you think Sarah Palin is hurt or helped by accusations that Bristol is actually her baby. Personally, I think she gets a lot of sympathy points by such silliness.

(You mean, of course, the rumor that Trig was Bristol's baby.)

Hurt. I think it advances the left's preferred narrative, which is that she's a white trash bimbo and a liar.

I honestly don't know how much these sorts of rumors move undecided voters. Seems to me that whether you believe them is determined by the views of the candidates that you already have before you hear the rumor. See, e.g., Sullivan, Andrew, Trig-Truther-in-Chief.

But we all have a tendency to believe the first thing that we hear, and that goes especially for the lazy. The only people who are going to be sympathetic towards Palin or Obama for any false rumors about them are those who take the effort to find out what the truth is, and who has time for that?

So keep your ugly rumors away from my guys, thanks!
12.9.2008 2:34pm
Melancton Smith:
As an IL resident I was aware of the corruption and considered IL to be more corrupt than other states. However, as I hear this I am very saddened.

I have to wonder, is IL more corrupt than the other states? Are all corrupt?
12.9.2008 2:49pm
josh:
Awesome-O

I disagree. While Sullivan and a handful of diarists on Kos have kept the Trig baby rumor alive, too many others on the left have called them out for it. Similarly with some of the silly Obama smears on the right. In fact, some of the best posts I read during the campaign came from this very site taking issue with other bloggers on this site who bemoaned some of the dumber crap.

Look, there's no way to prove it empirically, but, even though I find Palin to be somwhat deplorable as a candidate for elective office, I'm one liberal who sympathized with her regarding that silly rumor.
12.9.2008 2:53pm
Awesome-O:
josh:

All of that is true, but I just think that at some point the rumors start to pile up, which is kind of what I was getting at when I said that the Trig rumor fit the left's preferred narrative for Palin. Perhaps one or two false rumors can evoke more feelings of sympathy than scorn, but eventually the sheer volume of rumors has to start to make casual observers think there's got to be something to some of them.

And that's if - and it's a big if - the rumors can actually be debunked. Many rumors are simply unfalsifiable. Can Richard Gere PROVE that he never stuffed a gerbil? Unless you can account for his whereabouts and activities for every moment of his life, you simply cannot.

We're not going to agree on this. But we do agree on one thing: the more news that surfaces about corrupt Chicago Democrats, and the more of Barack Obama's associates who are investigated, indicted, and jailed, the better!
12.9.2008 3:08pm
Curt Fischer:

josh: The most interesting allegation in the indictment of a sitting governor involves an "ACORN-related union that has been close to Obama for many years"??? (Nice passive voice, by the way!!!!)


No passive verbs appear in the sentence of Prof. Lindgren's that you quoted. The verb you may be confused about is "has been". That's just the pluperfect tense of the verb "to be".

E.g. "I am close; I was close, I have been close".
12.9.2008 3:17pm
Sarcastro (www):
Oof! Pluperfected again!
12.9.2008 3:21pm
Hovsep Joseph (mail):
This story makes the governor look corrupt and reflects absolutely nothing bad about Obama or his team, but Lindgren chooses to present it from an absurd angle that includes gratitous references to Bill Ayers and David Axelrod. Shameless. No credibility.
12.9.2008 3:23pm
Al Maviva:
Sarcastro - Huh?

I'm just rooting for a good fight here. I don't have an ideological dog in this fight. The Republicans are smug and based on the last 4-5 years, somewhat corrupt, and they only occasionally nod to libertarian, conservative, or even fiscally conservative ideas; meanwhile the Dems are hysterical and at least the ones in congress appear determined to get just as corrupt as the Republicans, only faster, not wanting to take 10 years to do so. None of the prominent elected leaders in either party mean what they say, so basically the current policy debates, at some level, are just enormous piles of meaningless poo. They mean nothing, and it is amazing to me that people are even arguing about this stuff.

So I've decided to just laugh at various partisans as they beshit themselves and prostitute themselves for whichever party told them the most personally appealing lie. Grab yourself some popcorn and a beer, Sarcastro. It's going to be a fun four years.
12.9.2008 4:03pm
Sarcastro (www):
[Al Maviva

Fitzgerald = Ken Starr seems to be rather overstating things, especially given Fitzgerald's history. It also seems to imply that there is not much to the complaint, which would be surprising considering Fitz arrested the governor.

One usually doesn't do that unless one is pretty damn sure of oneself.

I was quite excited to pointing out that unlike with Scooter, no one is defending the indicted guy. Thus, despite the Right desperately trying to gin up a strawman, it seems Dems keep the moral high ground here.

But then your comment seemed to be a counterexample. Your clarification, though, seems to make it clear you are not assuming innocence, but rather not presuming guilt.]
12.9.2008 4:15pm
Melancton Smith:
I hope it is more like fitzanukah then fitzmas...fitzmas is only one day.
12.9.2008 4:36pm
Sarcastro (www):
Melancton Smith except with Fitzanukkah there's really only one good day, and all the rest you get something small like a state senator or something!
12.9.2008 4:48pm
Brian ILLLL:
How come all of this happens a day after Blagojevich shuts down Bank of America in the state of IL? Maybe there is something more to it than they let us know?
12.9.2008 6:37pm

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