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December 9, 2008

United States Senator Position is (was) up for sale in Illinois by Governor Rod Balgojevich

Yes that’s right. Corruption is everywhere. When you thought it can’t get any worse in the mist of all these corruption charges in US political domain, one more to add. Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich was arrested trying to *sell* the Senate seat of President-Elect Barack Obama. What was he thinking? Not only that, his chief of staff John Harris was also arrested on corruption charges. Each of them was officially charged with a count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and count of solicitation of bribery.

The arrest is a culmination of several years of investigation. Both the Governor and the Chief of staff were apparently trying to gain financial benefits by selling the Senate seat which happens to be at sole discretion of the Governor of the state when the seat of a senate becomes vacant. They also tried to threaten to withhold state assistance to the Tribune Company, the company that owns Chicago Tribune, in connection with the sale of Wrigley Field baseball stadium. The company also owns the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field. In exchange of providing state assistance, they wanted the newspaper to fire Chicago Tribune editorial board members who were sharply critical of the governor. What a surprise there? We bring our personal feelings to a government office!

Federal affidavit which is 76 pages long, authorities say wiretaps caught Blagojevich conspiring to sell the vacant Senate seat in exchange of financial gains for himself and his wife. Maybe the Governor position in Illinois is corrupted by default, because Blagojevich is the second Governor in a row to be charged in corruption charges. According to the affidavit, on December 4, Governor allegedly told an adviser he might *get some* money *up front, maybe* from one candidate for Obama’s senate seat. He was also a loving husband nonetheless. Governor wanted a *substantial salary* at a nonprofit foundation or organization connected to labor union, by placing his wife on paid corporate boards where she might earn as much as $150,000 a year and trying to gain promises of campaign money, or even a cabinet or ambassador post for himself. Affidavit also indicates, it was heard on the wiretaps, which was approved by the court last month that the Governor was trying to sell the United States Senate seat. Maybe this was not a surprise to most of those who remembers Bglagojevich’s close encounter in the Tony Rezko corruption case as well.

Now I don’t want to shake the tree or want to start a rumor but, if I am correct then we all know that a cabinet post and ambassadorships can only come from one place and which is from the White House. If Governor Blagojevich was thinking about this kind of positions then did he talk to President-Elect Obama or any of his representatives about this? Apparently not. According to U.S. attorney’s office, President-Elect Obama was oblivious. However he knows the recent development and have not discussed this in public yet. Lets see what happens in coming days or hours. This also makes me wonder what is next? Well I guess we know the answer to what is next – which is a corruption charge for a politician. But, WHO is next?

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