Well, the long-running investigation of Illinois Governor Blagojevich just got interesting:See more discussion on this in Bob Johnson's diary.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff were arrested today by FBI agents on federal corruption charges.
A three-year federal corruption investigation of pay-to-play politics in Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration has expanded to include his impending selection of a new U.S. senator to succeed President-elect Barack Obama, the Tribune has learned. [...]
Update: Better and better:What an ass.
According to a federal criminal complaint, Blagojevich also was charged with illegally threatening to withhold state assistance to Tribune Co., the owner of the Chicago Tribune, in the sale of Wrigley Field. In return for state assistance, Blagojevich allegedly wanted members of the paper's editorial board who had been critical of him fired.
Update II: The allegations are detailed here.
Illinois Governor Taken Into Federal Custody For Abusing His Authority To Appoint Obama Successor
Think Progress has more, with several updates:
Federal authorities took Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) and his chief of staff John Harris into custody this morning on federal corruption charges. Before the arrest, the Chicago Tribune had reported that a “three-year federal corruption investigation of pay-to-play politics in Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration has expanded to include his impending selection of a new U.S. senator to succeed President-elect Barack Obama.” According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s office:FireDogLake has more.
A 76-page FBI affidavit alleges that Blagojevich was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps during the last month conspiring to sell or trade Illinois’ U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama for financial and other personal benefits for himself and his wife. At various times, in exchange for the Senate appointment, Blagojevich discussed obtaining:
– a substantial salary for himself at a either a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions;
– placing his wife on paid corporate boards where he speculated she might garner as much as $150,000 a year;
– promises of campaign funds – including cash up front; and
– a cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself.
Illinois Governor Taken into Custody for Abusing His Authority to Appoint Obama Successor
Federal authorities have taken Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) and his chief of staff John Harris into custody on federal corruption charges. Before the arrest, the Chicago Tribune had reported that a "three-year federal corruption investigation of pay-to-play politics in Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration has expanded to include his impending selection of a new U.S. senator to succeed President-elect Barack Obama." [...]
Blagojevich told reporters yesterday, "I don't believe there's any cloud that hangs over me. I think there's nothing but sunshine hanging over me."
According to the Illinois constitution, the Lt. Governor is first in line to take over as Governor, "[i]f the Governor is unable to serve because of death, conviction on impeachment, failure to qualify, resignation or other disability." Should Blagojevich be subject to any of these conditions in the near future, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn would assume power and be responsible for appointing Obama's successor.
Download a copy of the indictment HERE.
Fitzgerald On Blagojevich’s ‘Political Corruption Crime Spree’: It Would ‘Make Lincoln Roll Over In His Grave’
In a press conference explaining the arrest and the corruption charges filed against Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-IL), U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald — who successfully prosecuted Scooter Libby — declared the current case as a “new low.” Fitzgerald described the charges as a “political corruption crime spree.”
Noting that Blagojevich has been under investigation for years for pay-to-play corruption charges, Fitzgerald expressed his amazement that the activity would continue. “You might have thought in that environment, pay-to-play would have slowed down. The opposite happened. It sped up,” he said.
Chicago reporter suggests Rahm Emanuel may have ‘tipped’ off federal investigators about Blagojevich.
Rahm Almost Certainly Didn’t Bust Blagojevich