Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Federal Corruption Probe Nails Illinois Governor

Federal agents arrested the governor of Illinois today, on charges that while the rest of us were busy buying Christmas presents, he was merrily trying to sell the newly vacant Senate seat of President-elect Obama. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, was charged after a Federal wiretap caught him conspiring to hand the seat to the highest bidder---and also threatening to block assistance to the Chicago Tribune---a newspaper encountering financial difficulties during the current economic meltdown---unless they fired members of the paper's editorial board with whom he was having problems. Among the sweeteners that prospective bidders could offer were handsome salaries and fees for his wife, as well as himself, through various corporate or community enterprises. Among the allegations is that the governor and others were scheming to raise millions of dollars to funnel in the direction of Blagojevich and his wife, before new and more restrictive rules took effect at the end of the year.

Ironically, among Blagojevich's money men was Anthony "Tony" Rezko, a Chicago-area political fundraiser who has, in the past, been linked to Barack Obama, and is now awaiting sentencing on a variety of charges. And Blagojevich is the second straight Illinois governor to encounter legal problems. His predecessor, George Ryan, is currently serving a six-year sentence for fraud and racketeering.

JEFFREY CAMINSKY, a veteran public prosecutor in Detroit, Michigan, specializes in the appellate practice of criminal law and writes on a wide range of topics. His books include the science fiction adventure novel The Star Dancers, the exciting second volume in the Guardians of Peace-tm series, The Sonnets of William Shakespeare, and the acclaimed Referee’s Survival Guide, a book on soccer officiating. All are published by New Alexandria Press, and are available on Amazon, as well as directly from the publisher.

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