Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff were arrested in Chicago Tuesday on two counts each of corruption charges relating to trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat. FOXNews.comFrom USAToday:
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.
Since approximately 2003, the government has been investigating allegations of illegal activity occurring in State of Illinois government as part of the administration of Governor Rod Blagojevich. As further detailed below, the investigation has developed evidence that: (a) beginning not later than in or about 2002, Rod Blagojevich has conspired with multiple individuals, including, beginning not later than in or about October 2008, John Harris, to devise and participate in a scheme, which used and contemplated the use of the mails and interstate wire communications, to defraud the State of Illinois and its residents of the honest services of Rod Blagojevich and John Harris by corruptly using the office of Governor of the State of Illinois to obtain and attempt to obtain personal gain, including financial gain, for Rod Blagojevich and third parties with whom he is associated; and (b) beginning no later than November 2008, Rod Blagojevich and John Harris have corruptly solicited and demanded the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members responsible for editorials critical of Rod Blagojevich, intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with State of Illinois financial assistance in connection with the sale of Wrigley Field. The evidence demonstrates that the corrupt conduct undertaken included but was not limited to the following:
a. Defendant Rod Blagojevich and at times defendant John Harris, together with others, obtained and attempted to obtain financial benefits for Rod Blagojevich, members of the Blagojevich family, and third parties including Friends of Blagojevich, in exchange for appointments to state boards and commissions, state employment, state contracts, and access to state funds; b. Defendants Rod Blagojevich and John Harris, together with others, offered to, and threatened to withhold from, the Tribune Company substantial state financial assistance in connection with Wrigley Field, which assistance Rod Blagojevich believed to be worth at least $100 million to the Tribune Company, for the private purpose of inducing the controlling shareholder of the Tribune Company to fire members of the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune, a newspaper owned by the Tribune Company, who were responsible for editorials critical of Rod Blagojevich; c. 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.