Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Who tried to Buy Off Rod Blagojevich?

In an interview Tuesday with Fox's Greta Van Susteren, former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich disclosed that shortly after his arrest on federal corruption charges, leading state senators from Illinois tried to strike a deal with him and sought to buy him off:

BLAGOJEVICH: ...Right after our world changed on December the 9th, there were offers made to me by leading state senators, some direct and some through emissaries, that if I stepped aside, they would agree to protect my pay for two years and give me a security detail for two years, but that part of the deal was that I could not pick the United States Senator.

I did not feel comfortable with doing that. I did not want to be a ghost payroll governor. I didn't want to be bought off, because I didn't do anything wrong and I did not feel [comfortable] stepping aside was the right thing to do. And when I chose not to do that, I was then told through intermediaries that they would accelerate the impeachment process and throw me out of office...

VAN SUSTEREN: ...Who made you those offers?

BLAGOJEVICH: They were purported from the Senate leadership through emissaries close to me. - [Read the full transcript here]

Several questions beg to be asked: Who tried to buy off Rod Blagojevich by offering to protect his pay for two years if he agreed to step aside? Where the deal makers [buyers]trying to protect Barack Obama and the reputation of the Democratic Party? Or where they simply trying to protect themselves and their own involvement in a possible pay-to-play scheme? And finally, does this kind of deal - providing two years' pay to a governor who agrees to step aside - conform with the law?

Blagojevich also revealed that shortly after his impeachment, Pat Quinn, the new governor of Illinois, promptly removed the security detail from him and his family:

BLAGOJEVICH: ...That is a little bit unprecedented, because, generally, it's my understanding that former governors are granted a period of adjustment for security purposes before the security detail is stripped away. But that too was part of, I think, the decision I made in December when I rejected their offer to get paid for two years, not work as governor, and keep a security detail. I think that was a response to the fact that I would not be bought off by them....

But who were those people who tried to buy Rod Blagojevich off? Will Patrick Fitzgerald look into this matter?

He should.

Click here to see the interview.

To view the first half of the interview, click here

Update: It seems there may be a loophole in the Illinois constitution that would have allowed Rod Blagojevich to temporarily step down from office and pass his governing powers to the Lt. Governor. Blagojevich would still be the Governor, he would collect his full salary and maintain his security detail, but the Lt. Governor would be the 'Acting Governor'.

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