Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Ethics, PJ Media, Politics — Rick Moran @ 2:05 pm

My latest at PJ Media is about the Blagojevich arrest and details “the most breathtaking corruption in the history of Illinois politics.”

A sample:

In any other state, this would be simply unbelievable, or perhaps considered a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence to have such breathtaking and brazen corruption reveal itself at the highest levels of state government.

But all of this occurred in the state of Illinois, where the arrest of Blagojevich makes it four governors in recent history * who have been arrested and charged with wrongdoing while in office.

And that doesn’t include the steady stream of state officials, lawmakers, Chicago alderman, and others doing business with the state who are frog-marched into the federal building downtown and locked up for taking advantage of their office to personally enrich themselves and/or their cronies.

The potential sale of Obama’s senate seat in return for a Blagojevich appointment to the cabinet or a cushy union job is interesting to note if only to wonder whom he made the offer to. Someone on the Obama transition team perhaps, but more likely someone with extensive union ties who could bring pressure to bear on the Obama people.

The “pay-to-play” charges have been out in the public for more than two years. This was a scheme where Blagojevich friend and campaign financier Antoin “Tony” Rezko pressured companies doing business with the state to contribute to the Blagojevich re-election campaign in exchange for lucrative state contracts. Rezko was convicted of 18 counts of fraud in connection with the scheme and the governor’s name was prominently mentioned during his trial.

This probably will not involve Barack Obama. The next president gave Blago a wide berth and evidently went so far as to pull Valerie Jarrett, his close personal friend, out of the running for his replacement when it became clear that Blagojevich was trying to sell the seat to the highest bidder.

But it is instructive to note that this is the political culture that nurtured and raised Barack Obama. To think that it hasn’t tainted him is just plain idiocy. There are plenty of examples of Obama using his clout to help a friend or crony not to mention steer government business to campaign contributors. Obama lived, breathed, ate, and slept Illinois politics for more than a decade. And that’s something to keep in mind as his Administration rolls along.


  1. You say that Blogogate probably will not involve Obama (who in fact is exonerated in the indictment) and went so far as to pull Jarrett out of the running for his seat, but still will be tainted.

    By your tortured reasoning, you too are tainted: For continuing to live in the most corrupt state in the union.

    Move, Rick! Move!

    Heh. All I was saying that Obama has shown in the past proclivities that put him on par with the cesspool of corruption in Il and it will probably happen in the future. Earmarks for cronies (or your wife’s employer) is not ethical, sorry.


    Comment by shaun — 12/9/2008 @ 2:11 pm

  2. [...] Rick Moran writes on the indicted at Pajamas Media and at his blog. [...]

    Pingback by Fausta’s Blog » Blog Archive » Governor of Illinois busted for trying to sell Obama’s senate seat — 12/9/2008 @ 2:40 pm

  3. Amazing, he didn’t even use nuance or sophistry to hide his intention. He just came out and said “pay me”. I’m curious how much network play this is gonna get. Will olby dedicate a segment on Countdown?

    Comment by Finrod — 12/9/2008 @ 2:42 pm

  4. Dear Shaun:

    Obama is not “exonerated” in the indictment. He is simply not mentioned. That does not mean anything as far as future prosecution efforts are concerned. It means that Blago will be talking and what he has to say will be very interesting. Stay tuned.

    Comment by Jim — 12/9/2008 @ 3:45 pm

  5. Dear Jim:

    Put away your broad brush. Obama IS mentioned in the indictment and by Fitzgerald at his presser, as well.

    Pertinent quote: “In a conversation with Harris on November 11, the charges state, Blagojevich said he knew that the President-elect wanted Senate Candidate 1 for the open seat but ‘they’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation. [Expletive] them.’ “

    Comment by shaun — 12/9/2008 @ 4:36 pm

  6. Dear Shaun:

    Yours is the broad brush, not mine. I did not see the direct reference to Obama. You are reading into it far too much - as if it proved Obama’s innocence. That is a very broad brush indeed. Much will depend on court testimony and credibility of witnesses. You intentionally used the word “exonerated” which has no application here whatsoever. Already there is an apparent contradiction between Obama’s immediate response and previously quoted comments from David Axelrod (and Rahm Emaneuel). Axelrod says the governor and Obama spoke about the senate seat, Obama says he did not speak with the governor. Ooops. Moreover, the indictment says the incidents under investigation go back to 2002 - first paragraph. There is probably a lot more here that hasn’t been released. This is a statement of probable cause - not the government’s case-in-chief. It is way too early to tell where this will lead. Stay tuned it will be interesting. Sweat if you want to.

    PS: If you are honest, you will ask yourself two questions and wait for the answer before “exonerating” Obama. The questions: 1) “What was the relationship between a corrupt governor and Barrack Obama that led the governor’s faith that he could expect questionable or illegal favors from the President-Elect?
    2) Why was he so convinced Obama would grant the alleged favors that he became angry and abusive when told to wait…?”

    Sit back and relax, it will be interesting.

    Comment by Jim — 12/9/2008 @ 5:47 pm

  7. “President-elect” was mentioned 47 times in the 78 page document. It appears that Obama is well aquainted with the Illinois “Combine”. (Like we didn’t already know this). . .what cha wanta bet Blago gets “Arkancided” or just disappears? $4500 bail? hehehe! Tony Rezko is mentioned 167 times. Will Obama be hit with a mudslide? Nahhh. . . not with the MSM & elitist protection he has.

    Comment by Reland1 — 12/9/2008 @ 6:05 pm

  8. Team Barry begins to throw the Chicago machine under the bus…

    And in the process, they contradict themselves … twice. Jake Tapper reports:
    “Obviously like the rest of the people of Illinois I am saddened and sobered by the news that came out of the US attorney’s office today,” said Preside…

    Trackback by Sister Toldjah — 12/9/2008 @ 7:02 pm

  9. Jim:

    I’ll tell you the same thing I’ve been telling Republicans for months: you got nothing but your tinfoil hats.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 12/9/2008 @ 7:20 pm

  10. [...] soon to E-Bay, Senate seats! Just kidding, although one Governor  might try it. If he gets out of jail anytime soon that is. [...]

    Pingback by Coming soon to E-Bay, Senate seats! « The Daley Gator — 12/9/2008 @ 8:10 pm

  11. Let’s deal with some more important issues. Monday’s Press Conference.

    “Should the state members of the Electoral College cast their votes for Mr. Obama in the face of such overwhelming evidence, and without verification of Mr. Obama’s eligibility, they would be committing treason to the Constitution,” said Schulz.

    Comment by UGGGGG — 12/9/2008 @ 8:20 pm

  12. Mr.Michael Reynolds,
    Dont be too condescending to people who dont share your political ideals.

    Have you ever given pause to think about the fact that Obama realized that Blagojevich was asking him to “pay to play” ? And did not report this to the Federal authorities and instead simply dropped Valerie Jarret’s name from contention ? And allowed Rod to continue merrily with his bidding…

    What is it that i hear about “complicity in a crime” ? Hmm… staying silent about a crime that is about to happen doesnt exactly reflect well on a politician, let alone a President elect, does it ? Heck, it could possibly be illegal.

    Keep your eyes open - dont be so oblivious to what is happening. There is a reason that Axelrod retracted his statement about Obama having a conversation with Blagojevich saying that he “misspoke”.

    He does not even want to leave the impression that Obama spoke to the Governor about this appointment. It would lead to more inconvenient questions, such as ” why the hell did the President elect NOT REPORT a bribery attempt to the Feds ?”

    Just because he refused to play doesnt leave Obama off the hook. He willingly looked the other way after realizing that the Governor was looking for a bribe/favor/whatever you want to call it.

    There are some interesting questions to be answered. Being condescending to your political opponents is not always a good strategy.

    Comment by Nagarajan Sivakumar — 12/9/2008 @ 11:43 pm

  13. Michael

    I’d tell you to keep spinning but you are already dizzy. You don’t like the fact that Obama is named in a federal indictment of a man who felt he could get improper favors from him. Like I said, let’s see where this leads. The only tinfoil hats around here are worn by those who refuse to accept the reality of Chicago politics and Barack Obama’s role in said politics. Nothing that has come out today implicates Obama but it sure doesn’t “exonerate” him either.

    Comment by Jim — 12/10/2008 @ 3:23 am

  14. Thank You Nagarajan, very well said.

    Comment by Jim — 12/10/2008 @ 11:29 am

  15. Hi Everyone

    Volokh Conspiracy has an interesting timeline posted on their site. The argument presented about the timeline is that Barack Obama knew of the alleged scheme early and distanced himself from it. The author feels it is not a crime simply to fail to report a bribery attempt. The question the author has is essentially Nagarajan’s point: why did Obama tell a clumsy lie when he had (apparently) acted within the law?
    This returns us full circle. We just don’t know enough about the circumstances to make a judgment. We are all commenting on the first filings of an important criminal case (and the reaction to those filings) and need to be cautious about how far we take our conclusions.
    I believe that my essential point remains valid despite challenges: Blago felt comfortable approaching the Obama camp with a very questionable deal, if not an outright illegal proposal. They don’t appear to have reported it and seem to have, at the very least, heard him out and offered him “apreciation”.
    There will be more to come. Bet on that.

    Comment by Jim — 12/10/2008 @ 11:54 am

  16. Jim,
    Thanks for hearing me out. But there is one thing that kind of leaves me uneasy. Why did Fitzgerald act so fast? Why could he not have waited for this to play out? I suppose, it is easy to make a judgement without knowing all the facts - hopefully Fitzgerald made the right call at the right time.

    My biggest fear is that Obama will “promote” him to a bigger postion that will re-assign him away from probing corruption in Chicago. I dont know if some one could fill Fitzgerald’s shoes. I highly doubt it.

    Comment by Nagarajan Sivakumar — 12/10/2008 @ 10:22 pm

  17. Hi Nagarajan

    As I have been saying, we are all playing a little guessing game. I love to guess too, I guess that makes me a pundit. From my experience with Fed Court it is wise to remember that the prosecutors only give up the information they have in small pieces so as not to tip their hand. Trial is where the real case comes out. What we have been given is the document that led to arrest. It is not the “case in chief.” But it does seem safe to say that Barack Obama is probably not directly involved in this particular case. I don’t think you can say Team Obama is out of the woods. As I said to the Obots we know there are taped conversations not released. What they say and the nuances on those tapes will be important - for both sides. We also have no clue about other information obtained. Just that Fitzgerald thinks that he can convict B of trying to sell a seat.

    It is possible that the arrest came because of a fact that was not discussed much in last day or so - that Fitzgerald went to a judge for authorization for wiretaps. Those taps probably came with strings attached limiting the authority for the taps. So he may have wrapped it up as soon as he had the case he had outlined to the judge.

    This is ALL speculation on my part, but Fitz’ future may be in a bit of flux as Obama is able to fire him as well as promote him. He is said on some sites to want to stay in Chicago and bringing a high profile case to trial may help keep him in place as the political risk of firing him increases.

    Fitzgerald may also be stepping in to prevent a crime he discovered in progress. He has been investigating Blago and Chicago for years. Perhaps he was made aware of this and jumped quickly.

    I am certain of one thing: This isn’t good news for anyone who has been politically active in the Chicago machine since 2002. I don’t believe this is the material he has been working on since he nailed Rezko. I think this is supplementary. Be patient I am sure there will be more.


    Comment by Jim — 12/11/2008 @ 2:04 pm

  18. [...] closely at Obama’s history, and raising questions it should have been asking all along. As Rick Moran pointed out day before yesterday: But it is instructive to note that this is the political culture that nurtured [...]

    Pingback by Nightly Ramble:Upgrade this weekend; Blago; More | BitsBlog — 12/11/2008 @ 4:05 pm

  19. Gentlemen,
    Fitzgerald had to act before Blagojevich could actually sell the Senate seat. This would have been a true disaster. Imagine the effect on the confidence of Americans in their government if they knew that a Senate seat could be literally purchased. Not that it isn’t already pretty low. Remember that the Democrat-controlled House and Senate were flirting with single digit approval ratings just prior to the election.

    Comment by irish19 — 12/12/2008 @ 1:31 am

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