Wow.

Rod Blagojevich, the governor of Illinois, was arrested on corruption charges, including an allegation that he was trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat.

Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat, called his sole authority to name Mr. Obama’s successor “golden,” and he sought to parlay it into a job as an ambassador or secretary of Health and Human Services, or a high-paying position at a nonprofit or an organization connected to labor unions, prosecutors said. He also suggested, they said, that in exchange for the Senate appointment, his wife could be placed on corporate boards where she might earn as much as $150,000 a year, and he tried to gain promises of money for his campaign fund.

If Mr. Blagojevich could not secure a deal to his liking, prosecutors said, he was willing to appoint himself.

“If I don’t get what I want and I’m not satisfied with it, then I’ll just take the Senate seat myself,” the governor said in recorded conversation, prosecutors said.

A 76-page affidavit from the United States Attorney’s office in the Northern District of Illinois says Mr. Blagojevich (pronounced bluh-GOY-uh-vich) was heard on wiretaps over the last month planning to “sell or trade Illinois’ United States Senate seat vacated by Pres-elect Barack Obama for financial and personal benefits for himself and his wife.”

The charges are part of a five-year investigation into public corruption and allegations of “pay to play” deals in the clubby world of Illinois politics. Federal authorities said Mr. Blagojevich’s chief of staff, John Harris, was also indicted on Tuesday. Both men are expected to appear in federal court for the first time later Tuesday.

At a news conference, Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor, said that Mr. Blagojevich had gone on a “political corruption crime spree,” and that his actions had “taken us to a truly new low.”

“The conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave,” Mr. Fitzgerald said.

“The complaint makes no allegations about the President-elect whatsoever,” he added.

An official at the governor’s office had no immediate comment on Tuesday. A telephone message left at Mr. Obama’s transition office was not returned.

Mr. Blagojevich, 51, now serving his second term portrayed himself as a reformer after the one-term of the former governor, George Ryan, who was convicted of racketeering and fraud in 2006.

For more than a year, members of Mr. Blagojevich’s administration have been under investigation. But few here have imagined that the decision on replacing Mr. Obama might have resulted in criminal charges.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t there speculation awhile back that Blagojevich was going to take over Obama’s Senate seat himself?

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9 thoughts on “Wow.

  1. verdeluz December 9, 2008 at 1:43 pm Reply

    Ah, Illinois.

  2. Grump December 9, 2008 at 1:58 pm Reply

    I miss home sometimes, especially for intrigue like this.

    One would think that if your predessors have been indicted and arrested for corruption, you’d keep your head straight and follow the legal path….

  3. Louis December 9, 2008 at 3:58 pm Reply

    Yeah, he was thinking about taking it himself… to put himself in a better position to weather the indictments he thought might come down. What a scumbag!

  4. geo December 9, 2008 at 8:29 pm Reply

    i’m curious as to how often a governor appoints him/herself to the senate seat. seems to me that action would be taken in dire circumstances.

    rumors are swirling that rahm blew the whistle to fitzgerald about the gov’s dealings.
    gotta love, rahm!
    he DOES NOT play. lol

  5. scott December 10, 2008 at 11:27 am Reply

    ABC News is now reporting that “Chicago Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) is the anonymous “Senate Candidate #5″ whose emissaries Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich reportedly claimed offered up to a million dollars to name him to the U.S. Senate.” First Obama can’t remember if he spoke with Blagojevich about potential candidates and now this, it just keeps getting better.

  6. ladyfresshh December 10, 2008 at 11:38 am Reply

    Is it just me? I am wondering how you get through ‘the most politically corrupt state’ practically untouched, unindebited and become president…

  7. Grump December 10, 2008 at 12:16 pm Reply

    Ladyfresshh:
    Its akin to dancing underwater and not getting wet! It takes SERIOUS skils….

  8. ladyfresshh December 10, 2008 at 12:33 pm Reply

    Grump – i’m in awe

  9. scott December 11, 2008 at 10:37 am Reply

    Before we become too enamored of Obama dancing skills there are a lot of interesting unanswered questions. Questions it looks likes Obama or his minions won’t answer despite their self professed transparency. From reading portions of the federal complaint Rod seemed to be angling for a spot with a federal agency or some organization dependent on the Executive Branch in return for his naming the new senator. The complaint also references talks with an unnamed person called “Presidential Elect Advisor.” There is nothing about if the talks ever took place but it is quite interesting.

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