Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Business as Usual in Illinois

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday and charged with carrying on the business of a long line of politicians from the state, conspiracy to benefit financially. When cuffed and given an explanation of the charges, the governor said "I earned that money." Not really, that is just me pondering his thoughts.

What really happened here was the governor offering up the U.S. Senate seat appointment to the highest bidder. According to the criminal complaint, Blagojevich also was charged with illegally threatening to withhold state assistance to Tribune Company, the owner of the Chicago Tribune and about a dozen other papers in the U.S., in the sale of Wrigley Field. In return for state assistance, he wanted members of the paper's editorial board who had been critical of him fired. Strike two. He discussed getting appointments to boards along with his wife that would yield big checks with no work. And to put the cherry on top...he wanted an ambassadorship in the Obama administration once he left office. Strike three, you're out. He is also tied to Tony Rezko and Stuart Levine in the affidavit. Ok, that one gets you tossed from the game pal.

Blagojevich took the chief executive's office in 2003 by 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. 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. See, Illinois is an equal opportunity state. Democrats and Republicans can co-exist in a plethora of greed and crime. Ahh, the Land of Lincoln today looks more like the land of Capone.