Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"I want to make money" (updated)

I don't think anyone would call me naive about the role of money in politics, but I have to say I'm shocked that a Governor of a state like Illinois who knows full well he's under a federal corruption investigation, would be so arrogant or foolish.

From USA Patrick Fitzgerald's press release (pdf),
A 76-page FBI affidavit alleges that Blagojevich was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps during the last month conspiring to sell or trade Illinois’ U.S. Senate seat vacated by Obama for financial and other personal benefits for himself and his wife.

At various times, in exchange for the Senate appointment, Blagojevich allegedly discussed obtaining:

• A substantial salary for himself at a either a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions.

• Placing his wife on paid corporate boards where he speculated she might garner as much as $150,000 a year.

• Promises of campaign funds — including cash up front.

• A cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself.

On Dec. 4, Blagojevich allegedly told an advisor that he might “get some (money) up front, maybe” from Senate Candidate 5, if he named Senate Candidate 5 to the Senate seat, to insure that Senate Candidate 5 kept a promise about raising money for Blagojevich if he ran for re-election. In a recorded conversation on Oct. 31, Blagojevich claimed he was approached by an associate of Senate Candidate 5 as follows: “We were approached to ‘pay to play.’ That, you know, he’d raise 500 grand. An emissary came. Then the other guy would raise a million, if I made him (Senate Candidate 5) a Senator.”

On Nov. 7, while talking on the phone about the Senate seat with Harris and an advisor, Blagojevich said he needed to consider his family and that he is “financially” hurting, the complain states.

Harris allegedly said that they were considering what would help the “financial security” of the Blagojevich family and what will keep Blagojevich “politically viable.” Blagojevich stated, “I want to make money,” adding later that he is interested in making $250,000 to $300,000 a year, the complaint alleges.
UPDATE: Criminal Complaint here (pdf)

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