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It appears that Obama Camp was not willing to cut a deal with Blagojevich.

Here are the government allegations that reference Blagojevich's frustration with the Obama Camp's apparent unwillingness to pay Blagojevich for appointing Obama's presumed favorite as Senator.

101. c. ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that the consultants (Advisor B and another consultant are believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to "suck it up" for two years and do nothing and give this "motherf**ker [the President-elect] his senator. F**k him. For nothing? F**k him."

ROD BLAGOJEVICH states that he will put "[Senate Candidate 4]" in the Senate "before I just give f**king [Senate Candidate 1] a f**king Senate seat and I don't get anything." (Senate Candidate 4 is a Deputy Governor of the State of Illinois). ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that he needs to find a way to take the "financial stress" off of his family and that his wife is as qualified or more qualified than another specifically named individual to sit on corporate boards.

According to ROD BLAGOJEVICH, "the immediate challenge [is] how do we take some of the financial pressure off of our family." Later in the phone call, ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that absent getting something back, ROD BLAGOJEVICH will not pick Senate Candidate 1.

HARRIS re-stated ROD BLAGOJEVICH's thoughts that they should ask the President-elect for something for ROD BLAGOJEVICH's financial security as well as maintain his political viability.

HARRIS said they could work out a three-way deal with SEIU and the President-elect where SEIU could help the President-elect with ROD BLAGOJEVICH's appointment of Senate Candidate 1 to the vacant Senate seat, ROD BLAGOJEVICH would obtain a position as the National Director of the Change to Win campaign, and SEIU would get something favorable from the President-elect in the future.

d. One of ROD BLAGOJEVICH's advisors said he likes the idea, it sounds like a good idea, but advised ROD BLAGOJEVICH to be leery of promises for something two years from now. ROD BLAGOJEVICH's wife said they would take the job now. Thereafter, ROD BLAGOJEVICH and others on the phone call discussed various ways ROD BLAGOJEVICH can "monetize" the relationships he is making as Governor to make money after ROD BLAGOJEVICH is no longer Governor.

102. Later on November 10, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH and Advisor A discussed the open Senate seat. Among other things, ROD BLAGOJEVICH raised the issue of whether the President-elect could help get ROD BLAGOJEVICH's wife on "paid corporate boards right now." Advisor A responded that he "think[s] they could" and that a "President-elect . . . can do almost anything he sets his mind to."

ROD BLAGOJEVICH states that he will appoint "[Senate Candidate 1 [[Obama's presumed favorite]]] . . . but if they feel like they can do this and not f**king give me anything . . . then I'll f**king go [Senate Candidate 5]." (Senate Candidate 5 is publicly reported to be interested in the open Senate seat). ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that if his wife could get on some corporate boards and "picks up another 150 grand a year or whatever" it would help ROD BLAGOJEVICH get through the next several years as Governor. . . .

104. On November 11, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH talked with JOHN HARRIS about the Senate seat. ROD BLAGOJEVICH suggested starting a 501(c)(4) organization (a non-profit organization that may engage in political activity and lobbying) and getting "his (believed to be the President-elect's) friend Warren Buffett or some of those guys to help us on something like that."

HARRIS asked, "what, for you?" ROD BLAGOJEVICH replied, "yeah."

Later in the conversation, ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that if he appoints Senate Candidate 4 to the Senate seat and, thereafter, it appears that ROD BLAGOJEVICH might get impeached, he could "count on [Senate Candidate 4], if things got hot, to give [the Senate seat] up and let me parachute over there." HARRIS said, "you can count on [Senate Candidate 4] to do that."

Later in the conversation, ROD 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."

UPDATE: If true, these allegations hint that Obama or his transition team were victims of an extortion/bribery attempt.

PatHMV (mail) (www):
When I was a prosecutor investigating political corruption, I generally found that when a politician reached a significant new level (i.e., going from the state legislature to governor, or from governor or the legislature to federal office), they tended to dump the more corrupt elements with which they previously associated. They often picked up new corrupt elements, but as they were now operating on a bigger playing field, they no longer depended on the people that got them to the dance, and so they cut them loose, stopped returning their calls, and generally treated them as annoying favor-seekers, who should be mollified but not giving anything, and who above all should not be allowed access to the newly-elevated politician himself.

Many people have, in the past, become very pissed off when a new President suddenly began to forget or ignore their earliest supporters. This usually gives rise to all sorts of scandals (real and overblown) as the newly ignored start bitching too much and too publicly about the past possible misdeeds of the new President.
12.9.2008 2:18pm
Awesome-O:
Only TIME will tell if this was the CASE, but it would be REFRESHING to see that someone in the BARACK OBAMA camp tipped OFF the FBI or PATRICK FITZGERALD about THE attempts that ROD BLAGOJEVICH made TO buy a Cabinet POST.
12.9.2008 2:24pm
Portland (mail):
So your response to objective evidence that Barack Obama flatly refused a corrupt governor's demand for a quid pro quo is to take it as evidence he is corrupt?

Election's over. Your delusions are past their expiration date.
12.9.2008 2:28pm
sbron:
Next up hopefully, the FBI perp walk of Bill Ayers, following the latter's admission to the NY Times concernin severald "small bombs." How far will this go? Farrakhan, Wright...? I really am hoping for the best out of the Obama administration, but something about his neighborhood and hometown really stinks.
12.9.2008 2:33pm
Daedalus (mail):
Lets see......we now have a President Elect who learned how to play politics in Chicago, and could probably write the book on it. He knows all the players on a first name basis, and knows how to play their style of hardball........Looks like we now have Chicago politics on the Potomac.........
12.9.2008 2:35pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
What site is sending these whackos over to accuse Lindgren of saying things he has not said? They're very annoying and distracting. I doubt that President-elect Obama would approve of their actions.
12.9.2008 2:39pm
Awesome-O:
So your response to objective evidence that Barack Obama flatly refused a corrupt governor's demand for a quid pro quo is to take it as evidence he is corrupt?

I assume that this was directed at me.

What "objective evidence that Barack Obama refused a corrupt governor's demand for a quid pro quo?" All we've got is some hearsay. We don't have Obama himself doing anything.

What could possibly have possessed you to select the adverb "flatly"? You seem to know not only that Obama himself refused the demand, but also that he did so "flatly." How in blazes do you know that?

And if he did do it "flatly," (and personally), you have underscored my point: if someone asks you for a bribe, you go to the cops. Did Obama or anyone in his camp do that? Time will tell, and kudos to him if he/they did. But let's not extol the virtues of St. Barack just yet.
12.9.2008 2:40pm
Felix Sulla:
That's right, Daedalus! Obama and Blagojevich have both spent a lot of time in Chicago...and often, AT THE SAME TIME! That's proof that absolutely everything going on here was masterminded by Obama, or at least, he was in on all of it! And of course he could "write the book" on it all...hell, he's already written TWO BOOKS! Non-ghostwritten! It's all proof Obama is corrupt as hell! No need for any actual evidence, we've got unsourced and logically suspect innuendo!

Who's got the tar and feathers?
12.9.2008 2:43pm
GMS:
Wonder what the chances are of ROD BLAGOJEVICH's wife getting a high-paid corporate board job anytime soon?
12.9.2008 2:46pm
AntonK (mail):

"Wonder what the chances are of ROD BLAGOJEVICH's wife getting a high-paid corporate board job anytime soon?"
Well, she's a looker, but she'd got quite the mouth which could, I suppose, be welcome if used at the right place and time.
12.9.2008 2:48pm
BGates:
Non-ghostwritten!
Obviously. Just compare the writing to pieces we know he authored for the Law Review, or his thesis at Columbia.
12.9.2008 2:50pm
calmom:
First, aren't these allegations based on the wire taps? There's no evidence from what's posted here that any of Obama's team turned in the Governor.

Which brings me to the question: Is it illegal to be approached for a political bribe and not report it? It's certainly unethical, but is it illegal?

Blagojevich knew Obama. And he thought that he could be approached for political bribes. If Obama were known around Chicago as Mr. Clean, no attempt would even have been made.
12.9.2008 2:50pm
Ben P:

What "objective evidence that Barack Obama refused a corrupt governor's demand for a quid pro quo?" All we've got is some hearsay. We don't have Obama himself doing anything.


I don't see how "objective" and "hearsay" are opposite here. Hearsay and reliable are not necessary the same thing.

But here we have the objective fact that Blajegovich was openly and repeatedly bitching about the president elect not being willing to "give him something" in exchange for naming the right person.

If the Obama transition office released a statement saying "we've certainly not promised any benefit to Blagojevich" would you find that any more reliable? I'd say it probably would be less.

On the broader topic, what someone posted above seems entirely likely too me. Obama, I suspect like most known politicians in Illinois, knew Blagojevich was a corrupt asshole. But they had to have at least some contacts with him because he was the governor. At (at the time at least) politically powerful enough to screw anyone he wanted.

Now he has his own power base and feels no obligation to talk to a corrupt asshole of a governor.
12.9.2008 2:53pm
Crunchy Frog:
You wanna know how to get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. *That's* the *Chicago* way! And that's how you get Capone.
12.9.2008 2:54pm
Awesome-O:
Non-ghostwritten!
Obviously. Just compare the writing to pieces we know he authored for the Law Review, or his thesis at Columbia.


That made me chuckle, don't think it didn't!
12.9.2008 2:55pm
IL Native (mail):
I'll assume that many of the commenters aren't familiar with Blago (who has stunk from the moment he was elected). Before all of you go crazy trying to find links between Blagojevich and Obama, I'll spare you the trouble and direct you to this thread.

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=496684

Bottom line: Blago and Obama aren't exactly friends.
12.9.2008 2:55pm
Felix Sulla:

If Obama were known around Chicago as Mr. Clean, no attempt would even have been made.
And we all KNOW Obama isn't Mr. Clean, because Mr. Clean is a bald white guy who only wears white t-shirts! So Obama is not Mr. Clean by DEFINITION! And if he isn't Mr. Clean, he's Mr. Dirty, because if he isn't [insert categorical here] then he is clearly [insert opposite categorical here]! Logic proves Obama was behind it all! It only remains to see if he was the mastermind behind the Mumbai bombings, or merely a co-conspirator!
12.9.2008 2:57pm
Awesome-O:
I don't see how "objective" and "hearsay" are opposite here. Hearsay and reliable are not necessary the same thing.

...and "reliable" and "objective" are not necessarily the same thing, either. My goodness, we are slinging words around like agitated spider monkeys slinging feces today!
12.9.2008 2:57pm
ginsocal (mail):
Mmmm. Chicago Democrats. Didn't we just elect one of them?
12.9.2008 2:57pm
kormal:
"Blagojevich knew Obama. And he thought that he could be approached for political bribes. If Obama were known around Chicago as Mr. Clean, no attempt would even have been made."

Blagojevich is also really, really, really, really stupid. Probably the more likely explanation.
12.9.2008 3:05pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
If Obama were known around Chicago as Mr. Clean, no attempt would even have been made.
I thought Joe Biden told us that Obama was clean.
12.9.2008 3:08pm
calmom:
Look. The wire tapped conversations in the criminal complaint tell us that:

1. Blago and his advisors thought Obama could be approached for a political bribe.

2. None of them are quoted as saying anything to the effect of "Forget it. We won't be able to get anything from Obama for appointing his choice to the Senate. We've never been able to do business with Obama in the past".
12.9.2008 3:09pm
josh:
Maybe we should ask the prosecutor who brought the charges about Obama's involvement (HT Kevin Drum):

"Is Barack Obama implicated in any of this? At a press conference today, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said no: "I should be clear that the complaint makes no allegations whatsoever about the president-elect or his conduct."
12.9.2008 3:09pm
Awesome-O:
I thought Joe Biden told us that Obama was clean.

"Articulate," too! Don't forget "articulate"! Obama's the first one, doncha know?
12.9.2008 3:10pm
Felix Sulla:

None of them are quoted as saying anything to the effect of "Forget it. We won't be able to get anything from Obama for appointing his choice to the Senate. We've never been able to do business with Obama in the past".
That's exactly right! Because the criminal complaint does not quote anyone affirmatively and in detail exonerating Obama for anything and everything he might have done, it is proof positively that he in fact did all of those things, named and unnamed! It is precisely for this reason that I believe both Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were also involved! Think about it, people! They aren't mentioned AT ALL!
12.9.2008 3:13pm
A Law Dawg:
Patrick Fitzgerald said no: "I should be clear that the complaint makes no allegations whatsoever about the president-elect or his conduct."


I'm definitely not on the bash-Obama bus, but that sentence alarmed me by what it carefully does NOT say.
12.9.2008 3:17pm
Ben P:

None of them are quoted as saying anything to the effect of "Forget it. We won't be able to get anything from Obama for appointing his choice to the Senate. We've never been able to do business with Obama in the past".


Have you ever seen an example of a corrupt politician who actually expected another politician to be clean? it's just that "you haven't hit his price yet."


Further, it's been pretty obvious in national media that people expected Obama to have at least some input in who was nominated to replace him even though it was really Blagojevich's choice. I think tapes make it well known that (senate candidate 1) was known to be Obama's preferred candidate. Rod's reaction was "what's in it for me" and someone obviously got back to him "gratitude." And that's why he was angry.
12.9.2008 3:19pm
Ben P:

...and "reliable" and "objective" are not necessarily the same thing, either. My goodness, we are slinging words around like agitated spider monkeys slinging feces today!


I take that to mean you don't have a real response to the argument that a tape of Party B bitching to his associates about party A not making a deal is about as objective as you can get in this kind of situation?
12.9.2008 3:21pm
Sarcastro (www):
[A Law Dawg I swear I'm not trying to be obtuse, but could you spell out what is not being said?]
12.9.2008 3:22pm
Sloth (mail):
and it looks like Rahm may have tipped off the feds...
http://thinkprogress.org/2008/12/09/rahm-blago/
12.9.2008 3:23pm
Awesome-O:
Well I'm not going to a thinkprogress link, but if that's true, then good for the Obama camp.
12.9.2008 3:24pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
kormal:
"Blagojevich knew Obama. And he thought that he could be approached for political bribes. If Obama were known around Chicago as Mr. Clean, no attempt would even have been made."


Or Blago may have assumed that because he and his associates are corrupt, so is everyone else.
12.9.2008 3:25pm
calmom:
The language "the complaint makes no allegations" about Obama is a very carefully worded answer, which is interesting for what is not said.
12.9.2008 3:26pm
NaG (mail):
I don't think there is anything here indicating that Obama or his aides did anything wrong. Obama wasn't privy to Blagojevich's internal deliberations. Just because Blagojevich rejected Obama's suggestion because Obama wouldn't give him more than mere "appreciation" doesn't mean Obama knew that Blagojevich wanted a cushy job for his wife and a cabinet appointment for himself, or an outright bribe.

Political horse-trading in politics is considered the regular course of business. As a basic matter, if a Senator leaves offices and the Governor gets to appoint the successor, I would imagine that the Governor would naturally appoint someone they wanted in office, not who the outgoing Senator wants. It's the Governor's discretion, after all. There are things that the outgoing Senator can legally offer to help change the Governor's mind, but what Blagojevich wanted was definitely beyond the pale.
12.9.2008 3:27pm
calmom:
It's hard to think of a clean Illinois pol, but the late Senator Paul Simon comes to mind. I don't think anyone thought he could be bribed. Even the corrupt ones.
12.9.2008 3:29pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
On this issue alone, I am also not on the bash O bus but I think A Law Dawg means that Fitz did not say something clearer like: "The President elect is not involved" or "the Prsesident elect is not being investigated" or "nobody on the President elect's staff did anything wrong".

A possible, but highly unlikely, inference from "complaint makes no allegations whatsoever about the president-elect or his conduct" is that other future complaints might.
12.9.2008 3:41pm
Ben P:
and it looks like Rahm may have tipped off the feds...
http://thinkprogress.org/2008/12/09/rahm-blago/


Since Awesome-O wont' go there I'll copy it.


Jack Conaty, a Chicago reporter for the local Fox affiliate, said on-air that Rahm Emanuel might have been responsible for causing federal investigators to act quickly to apprehend Blagojevich this morning:

CONATY: We did receive a tip this morning that perhaps all of this came together so quickly because the Governor may have reached out to Rahm Emanuel, the president-elect's chief of staff, in attempting to leverage filling the Senate seat. And it may have been Rahm Emanuel who tipped the scale and made this move as quickly as it did.


Youtube link to relevant TV clip


Given both parties preference for using the F word, that discussion must have been something to listen too.
12.9.2008 3:46pm
Felix Sulla:

The language "the complaint makes no allegations" about Obama is a very carefully worded answer, which is interesting for what is not said.
No, it isn't. A criminal complaint against one individual is not meant to express charges against anyone else. That's not what it is for. Fitzgerald is clearly saying that the complaint says nothing about Obama's actions, and that's the end of the matter. If Fitz does have anything to say about Obama, he will bring a complaint against him. Until then, Fitz has said NOTHING ABOUT OBAMA, up to and including any implications that Obama may have done something wrong or illegal. Anything else is intentional twisting of the complaint and what Fitz said.
12.9.2008 3:46pm
Conrad Bibby (mail):
I agree with Calmom's "Mr. Clean" post. (In fact, I made the same point on my own blog this morning, also referencing Mr. Clean!)

I would add the following equally cynical point: The fact that Obama declined to do business with Blago really is not all that probative of the president-elect's Mr. Clean credentials. Obama has clearly known for some time that Blago was being tailed by USA Fitzpatrick. For that reason alone he would have put out the word to his own people not to negotiate anything with Blago. It only makes sense. If Obama hadn't known Blago was radioactive, presumably he could have offered him SOMETHING legitimate for Illinois ( a new bridge or something). The fact that Obama's people would only offer him their "appreciation" suggests a conscious strategy of not dealing with him at all.
12.9.2008 3:51pm
Felix Sulla:

The fact that Obama's people would only offer him their "appreciation" suggests a conscious strategy of not dealing with him at all.
So, even assuming any of this is true, your evidence of impropriety on Obama's part in something Blagojevich did is a conscious strategy of not dealing with him at all? How exactly was he to get any further from Blagojevich and/or any corruption? By fleeing to another dimension?
12.9.2008 3:57pm
calmom:
Except that there's a taped interview with Obama's advisor, Axelrod, in which Axelrod says that Obama has had discussions with Blago about the open Senate seat. (An interview obviously done before today).

So they were talking to him. Blago wasn't 'radioactive' then.
12.9.2008 4:01pm
Conrad Bibby (mail):
"So, even assuming any of this is true, your evidence of impropriety on Obama's part in something Blagojevich did is a conscious strategy of not dealing with him at all?"

I don't have, and never claimed to have, any evidence of impropriety on Obama's part. I was pointing out that his refusal to bargain with Blago isn't probative of Obama's being Mr. Clean because Obama knew Blago was under criminal investigation. Perhaps Obama is incorruptible, but this episode hardly proves it.
12.9.2008 4:07pm
Felix Sulla:
calmom: It is well known that Obama had someone in mind he wanted to take up his Senate seat, and that he and/or his people refused to offer any incentive to Blagojevich to go with his pick. If you are seriously suggesting that Obama has no interest in who replaces him in the Senate...well, this thread went into Twilight Zone territory some time back.
12.9.2008 4:07pm
Ben P:

Except that there's a taped interview with Obama's advisor, Axelrod, in which Axelrod says that Obama has had discussions with Blago about the open Senate seat. (An interview obviously done before today).

So they were talking to him. Blago wasn't 'radioactive' then.


That was already out in the media. But Even then it would just imply that they knew that if he was under surveillance then they had to refrain from ANY hint of impropriety. Hence a "you'll get our gratitude" type of answer.

Blago was apparently just too stupid to pick up on it.
12.9.2008 4:09pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Have you ever seen an example of a corrupt politician who actually expected another politician to be clean?
Yup. There was a member of the California legislature whose name has now escaped me. During his corruption trial, the FBI played undercover tapes of this scumbucket explaining that "We're going to have to pass this while Rose is out of the capital" and "She's not for sale!" He was referring to State Senator Rose Vuich. Within a few weeks of this news getting out about her, she announced that she wasn't running for re-election. (Who will contribute to your campaign once the word gets out that you are getting anything for that contribution?) The scumbucket whose name I have now forgotten won re-election to his seat on th Board of Equalization some weeks after he was convicted on taking bribes. (This is California, which is just a more laid back version of Chicago.)

State Senator Alan Robbins (whoops, former state senator) wrote a marvelously thoughtful piece from his Terminal Island prison cell about how no California legislator survives his first re-election campaign without being corrupted. And he should know!
12.9.2008 4:10pm
Felix Sulla:

I don't have, and never claimed to have, any evidence of impropriety on Obama's part. I was pointing out that his refusal to bargain with Blago isn't probative of Obama's being Mr. Clean[.]
Oh, I agree. I proved Obama wasn't Mr. Clean earlier in the thread by noting that Mr. Clean is a bald white man in a t-shirt. But it seems to me refusal to 'deal' with Blagojevich, while perhaps not probative of him being "Mr. Clean," is equally not probative of him being corrupt. Which leads me to ask, since no one here has argued that he WAS Mr. Clean (only that there is no evidence of any impropriety on his part as a result of the indictment of Blagojevich): what's your point?
12.9.2008 4:11pm
Conrad Bibby (mail):
"Twilight zone" = Any forum of discussion where it is not assumed that Obama is the second coming of Jesus Christ.
12.9.2008 4:16pm
VeritasOmnibus:
Does anyone have a sense of what problems the prosecution might face, if the future White House chief of staff arguably influencd the prosecution?
12.9.2008 4:23pm
Felix Sulla:

"Twilight zone" = Any forum of discussion where it is not assumed that Obama is the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Damn, you've flushed me out as Obamessianiac! Actually, I believe him to be the avatar of Shiva, The Destroyer, but you have flushed me out nonetheless! Curses on you, Conrad Bibby!
12.9.2008 4:25pm
A Law Dawg:
Sacastro:

Fitz said: "I should be clear that the complaint makes no allegations whatsoever about the president-elect or his conduct."

Fitz did not say: "I should be clear that in all of the wiretapping and other investigations we performed, we didn't come across anything that suggests the President-elect knew about any of this."

Again I am not on the "Obama is dirty" bus, but Fitz's statement is very deliberately neutral in its precision.
12.9.2008 4:27pm
Sarcastro (www):
[I see, so allegations != investigation.

And I know you're not one of the "Obama is dirty" people. You've been quite neutral all during this election]
12.9.2008 4:30pm
Snaphappy:
Prosecutors aren't in the habit of exonerating people. That the complaint doesn't allege any involvement of Obama means no more than that it doesn't allege any involvement of Obama. A prosecutor would have to be retarded to publicly come to the conclusion that anyone is not involved unless he is 100% sure that he knows all the facts. And prosecutors are never 100% sure they know all the facts (unless they are involved themselves or are making the facts up).

The pointy heads here show convincingly that the complaint does not conclusively prove the negative that Obama's camp wasn't involved in any Senate seat-selling discussions, and Obama's defenders persuasively show that to the extent the complaint shows anything about Obama, it shows that he was unwilling to offer anything in return for his favored choice.

So: Until there is something more (i.e. the rumor about Rahm is confirmed), let's just agree that we don't know any more than that's in the complaint and that what's in the complaint does not suggest Obama was complicit. Obama is entitled to the same presumption of innocence as any other crypto-muslim terrorist.
12.9.2008 4:30pm
A Law Dawg:
We need more facts before we can draw any conclusions based on the Tea Leaves in what Fitz has given us so far. Anything else is just speculation at this point, except for the very gratifying wisdom shown by the Obama camp by telling the Governor to, uh, go jump.
12.9.2008 4:44pm
VeritasOmnibus:
But if the prosecutors had evidence that Obama and Rahm and Jarrett, et al., were witnesses, it seems it would be corrupt of them to carefully edit that out and would compromise the prosecution.
12.9.2008 4:48pm
R Nebblesworth:
Harrumph! Fitz also conveniently said nothing about A Law Dawg . . . so I'm keeping my eye on him/her/it!
12.9.2008 4:51pm
enjointhis:
Hmm... Don't get me wrong, my wallet &me were decidedly not-pro-Obama. But try as I might, I just don't sense anything that suggests Obama was playing Blag's game. "Nothing but appreciation" sounds an awful lot like "no payola for you." I grudgingly hope it holds up, because it might actually cause me to respect the man.
12.9.2008 5:12pm
Nunzio:
Obama is a White Sox fan. Blagojevich is a Cubs fan (though I don't think he'll be throwing out the first pitch again).

Obama's going to the White House and Blagojevich is going to prison.

This is justice.
12.9.2008 5:21pm
Steven White (mail):
Calmom had asked earlier: Is it illegal to be approached for a political bribe and not report it?

I don't know, I'm not a lawyer. But if I were Mr. Fitzpatrick I'd have an assistant US attorney talking today to 'Senate Candidates' 1 through 5, asking each of them: "So, when were you going to call us?"

And an aside to Mr. Clayton Cramer: as an Illinois resident, I guarantee you our politics and our politicians are dirtier than yours in Laficornia. Hell, ours are even dirtier than those in Joisey and Louisiana.
12.9.2008 5:54pm
Alligator:
Off the top of my head, I don't think failure to report a bribe attempt is illegal. Typically, the law punishes acts, not for doing nothing.

Personally, I was thrilled to see the headlines today. Much of my family lives in Illinois and I've been hearing about what a scumbag Blagojevich is for a long time. His daily commute on a private jet between Chicago and Springfield to insist on budget cuts was appalling.
12.9.2008 6:06pm
darrenm:

And we all KNOW Obama isn't Mr. Clean, because Mr. Clean is a bald white guy who only wears white t-shirts!

You forgot the ear ring.
12.9.2008 6:11pm
Bart (mail):
If true, these allegations hint that Obama or his transition team were victims of an extortion/bribery attempt.

And if true, Team Obama and perhaps Obama himself failed to report this attempted extortion/bribery attempt.

Obama &Co. need to be EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS here. This situation is ripe for a perjury trap where Obama and his team members refuse to come clean with the about their involvement, testify to the police or under oath, lie to politically protect themselves and/or their boss, then are on the hooks for perjury.

Remember that this same US Attorney Fitzgerald ended up convicting Libby for perjury when he could not prove the underlying crime of disclosing a CIA agents identity.
12.9.2008 6:12pm
calmom:
If Senate candidates 1 through 5 were approached for political pay to play and weren't the whistle blowers, it looks as though they were thinking it over, raising the funds or whatever. They didn't reject it out of hand. Once their names are known they are politically done.
12.9.2008 6:17pm
Harvey Mosley (mail):

And we all KNOW Obama isn't Mr. Clean, because Mr. Clean is a bald white guy who only wears white t-shirts!


I don't know, it may just be a disguise. Does Pres-Elect Obama have a lemony smell?

Seriously, I'm not a fan of Obama, but I was very happy when I read that he was willing to give only his gratitude.

For now, I'll do things the American way and assume Obama is innocent. Hopefully, (and I don't expect otherwise) nothing will come out of this investigation to change that. Anyone who wants Obama to have done something wrong has issues. Anyone who knows he had to have done something wrong also has issues.

Remember, whether or not you voted for Obama, he will be our president.
12.9.2008 6:45pm
p. rich (mail) (www):
these allegations hint that Obama or his transition team were victims of an extortion/bribery attempt

No, no. They were just negotiating, Chicago style.
12.9.2008 8:07pm
Portland (mail):


What "objective evidence that Barack Obama refused a corrupt governor's demand for a quid pro quo?" All we've got is some hearsay.


From the man who actually requested the quid pro quo, recorded by authorities without his knowledge. That's a highly credible source.

What could possibly have possessed you to select the adverb "flatly"? You seem to know not only that Obama himself refused the demand, but also that he did so "flatly." How in blazes do you know that?


"They didn't offer me anything but appreciation." That's what the man said. Sounds like a flat rejection to me.

And if he did do it "flatly," (and personally), you have underscored my point: if someone asks you for a bribe, you go to the cops.


You said personally; I didn't. Obama or, more likely, someone on his staff refused to offer a quid pro quo.

Of course, the idea that they should have gone to the police is nonsense. If people in Washington called the police every time someone hinted at exchanging a favor for a favor, the police would be dead of exhaustion before the week was out.

D

id Obama or anyone in his camp do that? Time will tell,


Ah, yes, the eternal cry of the internet libel "I don't have any facts to back up this serious accusation, or even to justify a reasonable suspicion, but . . . time will tell."


and kudos to him if he/they did. But let's not extol the virtues of St. Barack just yet.


Obama's not a saint; he's just a guy with integrity, unlike the incompetent and corrupt scum the Republican party has inflicted on the country they claim to care about. Obama's a better politician and a better man than Bush, or McCain, or anyone else the Republicans have on tap. You know you can't contest that, so you repeat it sarcastically, trying to make it sound like an insult, when in fact, you're just admitting that "St. Barack" is more principled, as well as smarter and tougher, than the hapless losers he is replacing.
12.9.2008 9:11pm
Portland (mail):

Seriously, I'm not a fan of Obama, but I was very happy when I read that he was willing to give only his gratitude.

For now, I'll do things the American way and assume Obama is innocent. Hopefully, (and I don't expect otherwise) nothing will come out of this investigation to change that. Anyone who wants Obama to have done something wrong has issues. Anyone who knows he had to have done something wrong also has issues.

Remember, whether or not you voted for Obama, he will be our president.


Thank you. Exactly what I was trying to say, but classier.
12.9.2008 9:13pm
gibby:
Does anyone who's more familiar with Blagojevich's background than I am have any sense of the nature of his path into corruption? I am not well-informed about Illinois politics at all, but have just been looking into his bio and found his Pepperdine degree and prosecutorial experience interesting. Is there a consensus on whether he has always been shady/a bad egg, was corrupted by the machine once he entered, or something else?
12.9.2008 9:23pm
therut (mail):
The best part is ole anti-gun Blag had to turn in his FOID card today along with a few semi-auto handguns. You know the ones he wanted to ban and only gang bangers and thugs owned. I am glad he is GONE. But it is IL and someone just like him will take his place and Obamas in the Senate. Yuck.
12.9.2008 9:39pm
Jim at FSU (mail):
I thought Blago married into the Daley family and got his start that way.

Also, I haven't heard anything exonerating Obama yet and I think it would be an error to interpret today's events as an exoneration. No one is going to accuse Obama unless they think they have an airtight case. The accusations will probably come long after the proverbial writing is on the wall.

Considering that Rezko hasn't been sentenced yet, Fitzpatrick might try to flip them so he can go after Obama with them as witnesses. I don't think he is politically motivated in the traditional sense (since he spent nearly 8 years chasing Bush over essentially nothing) so much as he is an ambitious little prick who wants to go after the biggest trophies possible.

I guarantee that if Blago and Rezko flip to save their own hides and can provide documentation of their claims, he will go after Obama in a second. We already know that Obama's real estate deals are under scrutiny, so I don't think there is a real mystery as to where the attack will likely come from.
12.9.2008 9:55pm
AK (mail):
Portland, you're moving the goalposts.

There's nothing to suggest that Barack Obama rejected anything. In fact, he now denies speaking with R-Blag. Perhaps someone on his staff had contact with someone on the governor's staff, and refused the quid pro quo. But there's nothing to suggest that Obama did anything.

You still don't know if it was a "flat" rejection of the offer. Obama or his staff could have said "we'll consider it," or "that's an interesting offer," and ultimately politely declined. That sort of rejection wouldn't be "flat." You're using words without regard to what they mean.

If people in Washington called the police every time someone hinted at exchanging a favor for a favor, the police would be dead of exhaustion before the week was out.

Are you trying to tell me that what Blagojevich did was indistinguishable from standard political horse-trading?

Ah, yes, the eternal cry of the internet libel "I don't have any facts to back up this serious accusation, or even to justify a reasonable suspicion, but . . . time will tell."

Not what I said. But whatever, man: I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. If I say "this seems odd, but I don't have any proof, so I'll just have to wait and see what comes next," I'm accusing Obama of wrongdoing? Please.

Obama's a better politician and a better man than Bush, or McCain, or anyone else the Republicans have on tap.

Politician, sure. Man? Well, I'd say "only time will tell," but then you'd accuse me of slandering your hero.

And the "St. Barack" isn't an attempt to ridicule him for how wonderful he is. It's mockery of the legions who worship this man - a man greater than anyone in the Republican party - as a secular messiah. I don't know if that includes you, but surely you know some folks who it describes perfectly.
12.9.2008 10:18pm
SamT:
Blago married the daughter of Alderman Richard Mell (not the Daley family) and that's how he got his start.
12.9.2008 10:19pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
O is a hell of a politician.
Three of his elections were against empty chairs. One by challenging the opponent's signatures to get on the ballot and two by having messy divorces unsealed.
Compared to that, fighting for votes is so twentieth-century. This is streamlined, effective, and reduces costs.
12.9.2008 10:30pm
James Lindgren (mail):
Question raised:

Is it illegal to be approached for a political bribe and not report it? It's certainly unethical, but is it illegal?

No.

There is a federal misprision statute that requires anyone knowing of a federal felony to turn the perp in, BUT it has been firmly interpreted to require more than nondisclosure, such as lying about it or receiving a payoff to keep quiet.

Jim Lindgren
12.9.2008 11:49pm

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