Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Illinois Governor Arrested on Corruption Charges


Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested Tuesday morning in Chicago on two counts each of federal corruption charges stemming from allegations Blagojevich was trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder.

The arrest is part of a three-year probe of "pay-to-play politics" in the governor's administration. The criminal complaint by the FBI says each man was arrested on two charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery. 

The charges also relate to allegations that Blagojevich and Harris schemed with previously convicted defendants and Obama associates Antonin Rezko, Stuart Levine, Ali Ata and others to arrange financial benefits in exchange for appointments to state boards and commissions, state employment, state contracts and access to state funds. 

In addition, the case alleges that Blagojevich tried to influence the composition of The Chicago Tribune editorial board in exchange for state aid to the Tribune Company, which owns the newspaper.

The Obama transition team may be the first one in history ever to need a pardon planning team.

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