Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Blue Sky and Sunshine

Does Obama know this Rod Blagojevich?

"I don't believe there's any cloud that hangs over me. I think there's nothing but sunshine hanging over me." -- Indicted Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, Dec. 8, 2008

Oh, really?

Count One:
From in or about 2002 to the present, in Cook County, in the Northern District of Illinois, defendants did,conspire with each other and with others to devise and participate in a scheme to defraud the State of Illinois and the people of the State of Illinois of the honest services of ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH and JOHN HARRIS, infurtherance of which the mails and interstate wire communications would be used, in violation of Title 18, UnitedStates Code, Sections 1341,1343, and 1346; all in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 1349.

Count Two:

. . .corruptly solicited and demanded a thing of value, namely, the firing of certain ChicagoTribune editorial members responsible for widely-circulated editorials critical of ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH,intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with business and transactions of the State of Illinois involving a thing of value of $5,000 or more, namely, the provision of millions of dollars in financial assistance bythe State of Illinois, including through the Illinois Finance Authority, an agency of the State of Illinois, to theTribune Company involving the Wrigley Field baseball stadium; in violation of Title 18, United States Code,Sections 666(a)(1)(B) and 2.

Paragraph 13:

Defendants ROD BLAGOJEVICH and JOHN HARRIS, together with others, attempted to use ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s authority to appoint a United States Senator for the purpose of obtaining personal benefits for ROD BLAGOJEVICH, including, among other things, appointment as Secretary of Health & Human Services in the President-elect’s administration, and alternatively, a lucrative job which they schemed to induce a union to provide to ROD BLAGOJEVICH in exchange for appointing as senator an individual whom ROD BLAGOJEVICH and JOHN HARRIS believed to be favored by union officials and their associates.
Paragraph 60:

In response to questions posed by agents, Individual A has described efforts by ROD BLAGOJEVICH and Fundrasier A to obtain campaign contributions from state contractors by the end of the year. Specifically, Individual A advised that ROD
BLAGOJEVICH is seeking a total of approximately $2.5 million in campaign contributions by the end of the year, principally from or through individuals identified on a list maintained by Friends of Blagojevich. The FBI has obtained a copy of that list, which identifies individuals and entities targeted for campaign contributions, as well as amounts sought from those individuals and entities. A comparison of the names and entities on that list with information available from public sources and FBI investigative files reflects that numerous of the individuals and entities on that list have state contracts or have received public benefits conferred by ROD BLAGOJEVICH, such as appointments to positions in state government.
Paragraph 63:

According to Individual A, after Individual B left the meeting on October 6,2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH told Individual A that he was going to make an upcoming announcement concerning a $1.8 billion project involving the Tollway Authority. ROD BLAGOJEVICH told Individual A that Lobbyist 1 was going to approach Highway Contractor 1 to ask for $500,000 for Friends of Blagojevich. ROD BLAGOJEVICH told Individual A that, “I could have made a larger announcement but wanted to see how they perform by the end of the year. If they don’t perform, fuck ‘em.” According to Individual A, he/she believed that ROD BLAGOJEVICH was telling Individual A that ROD BLAGOJEVICH expected Highway Contractor 1 to raise $500,000 in contributions to Friends of Blagojevich and that ROD BLAGOJEVICH is willing to commit additional state money to the Tollway project but is waiting to see how much money Highway Contractor 1 raises for Friends of Blagojevich.
Paragraph 65:

According to Individual A, on October 8, 2008, during a discussion of fundraising from various individuals and entities, the discussion turned to Children’s Memorial Hospital, and ROD BLAGOJEVICH told Individual A words to the effect of “I’m going to do $8 million for them. I want to get [Hospital Executive 1] for 50.” Individual A understood this to be a reference to a desire to obtain a $50,000 campaign contribution from Hospital Executive 1, the Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Memorial Hospital. Individual A said that he/she understood ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s reference to $8 million to relate to his recent commitment to obtain for Children’s Memorial Hospital $8 million in state funds through some type of pediatric care reimbursement. As described in further detail below, intercepted phone conversations between ROD BLAGOJEVICH and others indicate that ROD BLAGOJEVICH is contemplating rescinding his commitment of state funds to benefit Children’s Memorial Hospital because Hospital Executive 1 has not made a recent campaign contribution to ROD BLAGOJEVICH.
Paragraph 71:

During the course of this investigation, agents have intercepted a series of communications regarding the efforts of ROD BLAGOJEVICH and JOHN HARRIS to corruptly use the power and influence of the Office of the Governor to cause the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members as a condition of State of Illinois financial assistance in connection with Wrigley Field. The phone calls reflect that ROD BLAGOJEVICH directed JOHN HARRIS to inform Tribune Owner and an associate of Tribune Owner, Tribune Financial Advisor (Tribune Financial Advisor is believed to be an individual identified in media accounts as a top assistant and financial advisor to Tribune Owner, who played a significant role in Tribune Owner’s purchase of the Tribune), that State of Illinois financial assistance for the Tribune Company’s sale of Wrigley Field would not be forthcoming unless members of the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board were fired.
Paragraph 73:

In another call between ROD BLAGOJEVICH and Deputy Governor A that occurred a short time later on November 3, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH and Deputy Governor A discussed an editorial from the Chicago Tribune regarding the endorsement of Michael Madigan and calling for a committee to consider impeaching ROD BLAGOJEVICH. During the call, ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s wife can be heard in the background telling ROD BLAGOJEVICH to tell Deputy Governor A “to hold up that fucking Cubs shit. . . fuck them.”
Paragraph 76:

ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that because of the impeachment articles, “we don’t know if we can take a chance and do this IFA deal now. I don’t want to give them agrounds to impeach me.” ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that “our recommendation is fire all those fucking people, get ‘em the fuck out of there and get us some editorial support.”
Paragraph 87:

During the course of this investigation, agents have intercepted a series of communications regarding the efforts of ROD BLAGOJEVICH, JOHN HARRIS, and othersto misuse this power to obtain personal gain, including financial gain, for ROD
BLAGOJEVICH and his family. In particular, ROD BLAGOJEVICH has been intercepted conspiring to trade the senate seat for particular positions that the President-elect has the power to appoint (e.g. the Secretary of Health and Human Services). ROD BLAGOJEVICH has also been intercepted conspiring to sell the Senate seat in exchange for his wife’s placement on paid corporate boards or ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s placement at a private foundation in a significant position with a substantial salary. ROD BLAGOJEVICH has also been intercepted conspiring to sell the Senate seat in exchange for millions of dollars in funding for a non-profit organization that he would start and that would employ him at a substantial salary after he left the governorship.
Paragraph 89:

On November 3, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH talked with Deputy Governor A. This discussion occurred the day before the United States Presidential election. ROD BLAGOJEVICH and Deputy Governor A discussed the potential Senate seat vacancy. During the conversation, ROD BLAGOJEVICH told Deputy Governor A that if he is not going to get anything of value for the open Senate seat, then ROD BLAGOJEVICH will take the Senate seat himself: “if . . . they’re not going to offer anything of any value, then I might just take it.”
Paragraph 90:

During the call, ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated, “unless I get something real good for [Senate Candidate 1], shit, I’ll just send myself, you know what I’m saying.” ROD BLAGOJEVICH later stated, “I’m going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain. You hear what I’m saying. And if I don’t get what I want and I’m not satisfied with it, then I’ll just take the Senate seat myself.” Later, ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that the Senate seat “is a fucking valuable thing, you just don’t give it away for nothing.”
Paragraph 92:

On November 4, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH spoke with JOHN HARRIS regarding the potential vacant Senate seat. ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that the “trick . . . is how do you conduct indirectly . . . a negotiation” for the Senate seat. Thereafter, ROD BLAGOJEVICH analogized his situation to that of a sports agent shopping a potential free agent to various teams, stating “how much are you offering, [President-elect]? What are you offering, [Senate Candidate 2]? . . . Can always go to . . . [Senate Candidate 3].” Later ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that he will make a decision on the Senate seat “in good faith . . . but it is not coming for free . . . .It’s got to be good stuff for the people of Illinois and good for me.” ROD BLAGOJEVICH states “[President-elect], you want it? Fine. But, its got to be good or I could always take [the Senate seat].”
Paragraph 93:
On November 5, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH spoke with Deputy Governor A regarding positions that ROD BLAGOJEVICH might be able to obtain in exchange for the soon-to-be vacated Senate seat. Among the potential positions discussed were Secretary of Health and Human Services and various ambassadorships. Deputy Governor A noted that 58 the cabinet position of Secretary of the Energy is “the one that makes the most money.” Deputy Governor A stated that it is hard not to give the Secretary of Energy position to a Texan, but with ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s coal background it might be a possibility.
Paragraph 94:

On November 5, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH spoke with JOHN HARRIS regarding what ROD BLAGOJEVICH could obtain for the Senate seat. After discussing various federal governmental positions that ROD BLAGOJEVICH would trade the Senate seat for, ROD BLAGOJEVICH asked about “the private sector” and whether the Presidentelect could “put something together there. . . .Something big.” Thereafter, HARRIS suggested that the President-elect could make ROD BLAGOJEVICH the head of a private foundation. ROD BLAGOJEVICH told HARRIS that he should do “homework” on private foundations “right away.” ROD BLAGOJEVICH asked whether he could get a high-ranking position at the Red Cross. HARRIS stated that “it’s got to be a group that is dependent on [the President-elect],” and that a President probably could not influence the Red Cross. ROD BLAGOJEVICH told HARRIS to “look into all of those.”
Paragraph 96:

On November 5, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH talked with Advisor A about the Senate seat. During the phone call, ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that the President-elect can remove somebody from a foundation and give the spot to ROD BLAGOJEVICH. In regards to the Senate seat, ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated “I’ve got this thing and it’s fucking golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for fuckin’ nothing. I’m not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there.”
Paragraph 99:

ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that he is interested in making $250,000 to $300,000 and being on some organization boards. Advisor B said they should leverage the Presidentelect’s desire to have Senate Candidate 1 appointed to the Senate seat in order to get a head position with Change to Win and a salary. Advisor B agreed that the three-way deal would be a better plan than ROD BLAGOJEVICH appointing Senate Candidate 2 to the Senate seat and getting more done as Governor.
Paragraph 101:

On November 10, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH, his wife, JOHN HARRIS, Governor General Counsel, and various Washington-D.C. based advisors, including Advisor B, discussed the open Senate seat during a conference call. (The Washington D.C.-based advisors to ROD BLAGOJEVICH are believed to have participated on this call from Washington D.C.). Various individuals participated at different times during the call. The call lasted for approximately two hours, and what follows are simply summaries of various portions of the two-hour call. ROD BLAGOJEVICH expressed his interest in figuring out a way to make money and build some financial security, while at the same time potentially participating in the political arena again. ROD BLAGOJEVICH mentioned the Senate seat, the dynamics of a new Presidential administration with the strong contacts that ROD BLAGOJEVICH has in it, and asked what if anything he can do to make that work for him and his wife and his responsibilities as Governor of Illinois.

ROD BLAGOJEVICH asked what he can get from the President-elect for the Senate seat. ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that Governor General Counsel believes the President-elect can get ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s wife on paid corporate boards in exchange for naming the President-elect’s pick to the Senate. Governor General Counsel asked, “can [the President-elect] help in the private sector. . . where it wouldn’t be tied to him? . . .I mean, so it wouldn’t necessarily look like one for the other.” ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s wife suggested during the call that she is qualified to sit on corporate boards and has a background in real estate and appraisals. ROD BLAGOJEVICH asked whether there is something that could be done with his wife’s “series 7" license in terms of working out a deal for the Senate seat. ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that he is “struggling” financially and does “not want to be Governor for the next two years.”

ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that the consultants (Advisor B and another consultant are believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to “suck it up” for two years and do nothing and give this “motherfucker [the President-elect] his senator. Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him.”
Paragraph 116:

In addition, in the course of the conversations over the last month, ROD BLAGOJEVICH has spent significant time weighing the option of appointing himself to the open Senate seat, and has expressed a variety of reasons for doing so, including frustration at being “stuck” as governor, a belief that he will be able to obtain greater resources if he is indicted as a sitting Senator as opposed to a sitting governor, and a desire to remake his image in consideration of a possible run for President in 2016, avoid impeachment by the Illinois legislature, make corporate contacts that would be of value to him after leaving public office, facilitate his wife’s employment as a lobbyist, and assist in generating speaking fees should he decide to leave public office.