I have seen this all over the political blogosphere. Blagojevich is reputed to have been under investigation for corruption and wire-tapping charges for quite a while. They finally decided to pull the trigger and arrest him over this.
Here is a very good account by Michael Scherer from Swampland. Note the reference to a story I covered regarding the Tribune company filing bankruptcy. Here, the governor attempts to use his political power to affect the bankruptcy proceedings. Very nasty stuff.
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested by FBI agents Tuesday morning on federal corruption charges, officials said.
His chief of staff John Harris was also charged, the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed in a statement. Blagojevich, 51, and Harris, 46, both of Chicago, were each charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery. A 76-page FBI affidavit alleges that Blagojevich was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps during the last month conspiring to sell or trade for personal gain the state’s U.S. Senate seat, which is being vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
Just when you think that the Global Financial Meltdown is the worst of our problems. Bam!
UPDATE: It’s even worse than that. The U.S. Attorney says that Blagojevich threatened “to withold substantial state assistance to the Tribune Company in connection with the sale of Wrigley Field to induce the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members sharply critical of Blagojevich.” Wow. Read the complaint and press release here. No need to guess who prosecutor is. It’s the man who convicted Scooter Libby, sent Judith Miller to jail, and even created some turmoil here at TIME magazine. Patrick J. Fitzgerald.
ANOTHER UPDATE: This is one of those scandals that will just get bigger. According to DOJ Press release, Blagojevich claimed he was approached by an associate of “Senate Candidate 5.” Said the governor: “We were approached ‘pay to play.’ That, you know, he’d raise 500 grand. An emmisary came. Then the other guy would raise a million, if I made him (Senate Candidate 5) a Senator.” No word yet on the identity of Senate Candidate 5.
Read the link below for more. It is pretty ridiculous stuff. Throw the book at this guy.
Earthquake: Illinois Gov. Arrested; Charged With Selling Obama’s Senate Seat – Swampland