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.
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- Government Attempt to Get Newspaper Editorial Board Members Fired:
- SEIU ties in the Gov. BLAGOJEVICH Complaint.
- Holiday Sale: An Open Senate Seat From Illinois.