CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday on charges he brazenly conspired to sell or trade President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder as part of what federal prosecutors called a "political corruption crime spree."Obama is not implicated as knowing anything about what Blagojevich was doing. He seems as surprised and amazed as anyone. I bet he is rather ticked off too because now his replacement in the senate is up in thin air. No one seems to know if there is any other way to replace Obama's seat nor how long Blagojevich will be in office. One thing everyone agrees with is they aren't going to let him make the selection now. But it could be held up for many months as the wheels of justice grind on.
"We were in the middle of a corruption crime spree, and we wanted to stop it," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said, calling the charges against Blagojevich "a truly new low." He added: "The conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave."And Fitzgerald is the guy on the case. He's the one who investigated and prosecuted Scooter Libby and is said to be damn good and damn thorough. Blagojevich is finished for sure. What is really unbelievable is how blatant he was about asking for a payoff for the senate seat even though he knew he was under investigation and there was a good possibility his phones were tapped.
The FBI said in court papers that the governor was intercepted on wiretaps over the last month conspiring to sell the Senate seat for campaign cash or plum jobs for himself or his wife, Patti. He spoke of landing a job with a nonprofit foundation or a union-affiliated group, and even held out the possibility of a Cabinet appointment or ambassadorship for himself.Who talks like that when the FBI might be tapping your phone? Hell, I wouldn't talk like that even though there is very little chance the FBI even knows who I am or has tapped my phones. Nor would my trying to sell the senate seat mean anything since I have no authority to do anything about it. But I still wouldn't talk like that - just in case.
"I've got this thing and it's fucking golden," he said of his authority to appoint Obama's replacement, "and I'm just not giving it up for fucking nothing. I'm not gonna do it."
Blagojevich also considered appointing himself to the Senate seat, telling his deputy governor that if "they're not going to offer me anything of value, I might as well take it," prosecutors said.
And the guy's a "bleeping" democrat! I hate to see dems act like this, the Republicans are the thugs who think they can get away with anything. One big difference is that the Democrats are not going to rally around him and try to excuse what he's done, unlike how all right wingers will tell the most outrageous lies to defend one of their own caught with his hands in the cookie jar. The only thing they won't do that with is if you're accused of being gay. Just ask Senator Larry Craig.
In court papers, the FBI said Blagojevich expressed frustration at being "stuck" as governor. "I want to make money," the governor, whose salary is $177,412, was quoted as saying in one conversation.Fucking unbelievable! Somebody is on the phone right now about making a movie of this thing, dontcha think? I would be absolutely ecstatic if I was making $177,412 a year as salary. I can't get over that last line from Blagojevich: "The whole world is listening, You hear me?" As Bugs Bunny would say "What a (expletive) maroon!"
The head of the FBI's office in Chicago said he phoned Blagojevich at 6 a.m., telling him of a warrant for his arrest and that there were two FBI agents at his door of his Chicago home. Blagojevich's first comment was, "Is this a joke?" said agent Robert Grant.
Nothing in the court papers suggested Obama had any part in the discussions or knew of them _ something Fitzgerald repeatedly made clear at Tuesday's news conference.
In fact, Blagojevich was overheard complaining at one that Obama's people are "not going to give me anything except appreciation." He added: "(Expletive) them."
The conversations took place between Election Day and as recently as last week. On the recordings, Blagojevich was clearly aware authorities might be listening, warning one person not to use the phone and saying, "The whole world is listening. You hear me?"