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Rod Blagojevich Arrested *Updated*

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been taken into Federal custody.

Authorities in Chicago have arrested Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich on federal charges.

U.S. Attorney’s office spokesman Randall Samborn says both Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors have investigated Blagojevich’s administration for at least three years. They’ve been looking at everything from how he hired people for state jobs to the actions of friends and contributors.

Chalk up another politician who’s fallen into Patrick Fitzgerald’s sights. It’s unclear right now what, if any, charges are being brought though. Fitzgerald will be holding a press conference in a couple of hours, though, so we’ll no doubt know more then.

(via Steve Benen)

UPDATE: You can read the indictment here. It looks like what was the primary mover for the arrest was the fact that Blagojevich was looking for a little quid pro quo in exchange for Obama’s vacant Senate seat.

UPDATE (Dave Schuler)

I’ve been covering this over at my place. Check the Tribune coverage. They’re “live-blogging” it.

This comes as little surprise, indeed, the only surprise is that it took so long.

UPDATE (James Joyner):   Josh Marshall nails it:

Even setting aside the primordial level of corruption of trying to sell the senate seat of the President-elect of the United States, I never fail to be amazed at the brazenness and stupidity of some political crooks. I mean, I think everyone involved in politics or interested in political corruption in the country had to know that Blagojevich’s phones were tapped and probably his offices were bugged, and that Pat Fitzgerald had him under the craziest level of scrutiny. And he tries to sell the senate seat with that hanging over his head? That’s simply amazing. I guess you could say he’s just a traditionalist, trying to keep up heritage of Chicago machine politics. But with some of these characters, it must just be pathological.

UPDATE (Dave Schuler)

Josh is understating it. Just within my lifetime three Illinois governors have been convicted of corruption and served time in prison after serving their terms as governor. It’s not just a few bad apples here, not just “political crooks”. The system itself is corrupt.

UPDATE (Dave Schuler)

Over at my place I explain why it’s urgently necessary for the Illinois legislature to impeach Gov. Blagojevich now and remove him from office.

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About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp writes about pretty much everything under the sun, including politics, art, religion, philosophy, sports, music, culture, and science.

Comments

  1. PD Shaw says:

    A little score settling here. Back in September, James poo-poohed an ad linking Obama to Blagojevich as obscure. I pointed out that it was rumored that Blagojevich was going to be indicted by the end of the year. If it came before the elections, the ad would pay dividends.

    Always trust anonymous commentary on blogs. Comment

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  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Sheesh, PD, you’re quick. I was typing in my post on the arrest when you commented at my place that I hadn’t mentioned it.

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  4. Floyd says:

    Of course Blagojevich is linked, Obama publicly endorsed him this year!
    Even David Axelrod eschewed Blago’s 2008 campaign, and we all know he seldom refuses refuse.
    And so, yet another former Axelrod protege’ bites the dust.

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  5. James Joyner says:

    PD: Not sure where we disagreed. Indeed, you allowed as to how my analysis was “probably true” which, as it turned out, it was. Not only does the arrest come well after the election but there’s zero evidence that Obama is even remotely tied to the corruption — aside from that his getting elected president gave Blagojevich something else to sell.

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  6. PD Shaw says:

    James, I’m just trying to pat myself on the back for calling it, but I think I should take it back. Around September I heard convincing rumors that the Governor was going to be indicted by the end of the year. The indictment appears to lay out events that occurred in October through December of this year. So to a certain extent the rumors were untrue, but the Governor should still have listened to them anyway.

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  7. Triumph says:

    James, I’m just trying to pat myself on the back for calling it, but I think I should take it back. Around September I heard convincing rumors that the Governor was going to be indicted by the end of the year.

    Yes good work, you have shown us that you read the Chicago Tribune. Blago’s impending indictment was no secret–it has been in the papers for months.

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  8. Steve Verdon says:

    But if we could elect just the right guy…why everything would be peachy.

    LOL

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  9. tom p says:

    Illinois politics… the gift that keeps on giving.

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  10. PD Shaw says:

    C’mon Triumph, I’m being a bit tongue and cheek here. But my source certainly wasn’t a newspaper story.

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  11. PD Shaw says:

    re Obama:

    The Governor apparantly sought compensation from Obama for choosing his preferred replacement, but “they’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation. [Expletive] them.”

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  12. So, Josh Marshall nails it.

    … and that Pat Fitzgerald had him under the craziest level of scrutiny.

    Mr. Marshall just can’t keep his own hobby horses out of an otherwise laudable sentiment. Why would any level of scrutiny for this bastard be considered crazy? He has been a crook from day one and everyone who follows Ilinois politics has known it. I’d question the timing of the arrest, but I guess the Governor had to wait until Obama won before he could practically consider selling the seat.

    While I cannot imagine President Elect Obama being tied to this in any way it is worth noting that he came out of the very same political hothouse of Blago. Even if you keep your shoes clean you can’t stroll through the sewer without picking up some of the stink.

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  13. […] Althouse: Governor Blagojevich Arrested!, Hot Air, Instapundit, Michelle Malkin, Gateway Pundit, Outside the Beltway, Classical Values, Real Clear Politics Blog, Don Surber convey_url = […]

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  14. tom p says:

    Mr. Marshall just can’t keep his own hobby horses out of an otherwise laudable sentiment. Why would any level of scrutiny for this bastard be considered crazy?

    Charles, I think you are reading too much into Josh’s word choice. If you go to TPM you will find that he currently has the “craziest level of scrutiny” of this whole mess…

    Including a defense of Fitzgerald to several readers who thought that this might somehow, some way, be a “Siegelman?” redux.

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  15. It’s beginning to look a lot like Fitzmas…

    Isn’t the obvious, if not the only possible choice for Senator Obama’s replacement now Patrick Fitzgerald? Who else could possibly be untainted amongst the “name” politicians in Illinois? And the Big Media establishment just loves him, even if he is a Republican, right?

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  16. Triumph says:

    Who else could possibly be untainted amongst the “name” politicians in Illinois?

    The only untainted Illinois politician who is remotely qualified for the seat is the guy who narrowly lost to Obama in the 2004 race–Alan Keyes.

    Given the fact that it was Blagojevich’s shakedown practices that threw the ’04 election to Hussein, it would only be just if Keyes found his rightful place as Senator of Illinois.

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  17. nevrdull says:

    The only untainted Illinois politician who is remotely qualified for the seat is the guy who narrowly lost to Obama in the 2004 race–Alan Keyes.

    if by close you mean 43%, then yes it was close – about as close as keyes is qualified.

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  18. Bithead says:

    And the Big Media establishment just loves him, even if he is a Republican, right?

    well, since this investigation will eventually enter the realm of the relationship between Obama and Blagojevich, along with Tony Rezko, a name you also may have heard, I have reason to think that love will find it’s limit shortly.

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  19. Dodd says:

    With apologies to Sir Thomas More… Why Rod, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world… but for Health and Human Services ?

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  20. just me says:

    I think Dave makes a good point with regard to Illinois politics in general.

    My guess is Blagovich probably thought he could get away with it, because everyone else had. Sure a few people have gone down, but they were just the rotten apples you could see-the real rot is throughout the whole system and isn’t a problem for just one party, but both. Illinois politics seems to operate on the quid pro quo and corruption. I am not convinced this will go away anytime soon, and the majority of corruption will go unchecked with the occasional head rolling here and there.

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  21. Floyd says:

    nevrdull,
    Of course Alan Keyes is qualified,and if you knew anything about that election, you would have to consider 43% an AMAZING VICTORY in the most corrupt state in the union, especially for a stand-in!
    Triumph is exactly right, even though he knows the impossibility of the idea.

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  22. Timmer says:

    I’m from Chicago, one of the HR people I see every day is from Chicago. Just the other day she was telling me how “smart” and “dynamic” Governor Blagojevich is.

    Seen on Twitter: You can’t spell Blagojevich without J.A.I.L.. Hehe.

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  23. nevrdull says:

    Of course Alan Keyes is qualified,and if you knew anything about that election,

    floyd,
    that presuppose that we knew each other, which we don’t, so you should probably be less bigheaded about it. calling a loss by 43% anything less than ginormous would be sheer ignorance, which i fear in your case it is. btw, which elective offices did your enormously qualified out-of state candidate hold before 2004? his career seems to be dotted with electoral defeat.

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  24. Bithead says:

    I think Dave makes a good point with regard to Illinois politics in general.

    Perhaps true. Yet, this doesn’t seem overly complimentary of Hillary Clinton who grew up in Chicago, or of The Chosen One, for that matter.

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  25. anjin-san says:

    I think Dave makes a good point with regard to Illinois politics in general.

    I think you can find levels of corruption that are pretty staggering in every corner of the country.

    And while we are on the subject, what did become of all those planeloads of cash we flew into Iraq.. how much is unaccounted for.. 10 billion? 15 billion?

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  26. Drew says:

    As anyone who lives in Chicago or follows Chicago/IL politics knows, and obviously several here do…..the Daley/Blago/Emil Jones nexus was/is an ethically challenged mess. (And I didn’t even mention Cook County President Todd Stroger – has he appointed his entire family tree to government positions yet?)

    Emil Jones was Obama’s political godfather, and Obama is a product, and part of, this chronic and blatantly corrupt system here.

    But, just as he has downplayed his other unsavory associations, I am sure Obama will tell us “Who knew? I guess Blago just isn’t the man I thought he was.”

    And many will believe. We have a term for those people: “comatose.”

    It reminds me of the movie line Whitey Bulger knockoff Jack Nicholson gave: “I don’t want to be a product of my environment, I want my environment to be a product of me.”

    Indeed.

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  27. PD Shaw says:

    Seen on Twitter: You can’t spell Blagojevich without J.A.I.L..

    Hillarious and useful! I always have trouble misspelling Blago with a “y” instead of a “j.” Now, I can remember the Governor is going to J.A.I.L., not Y.A.L.E.

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