Thursday, January 03, 2008

Another Hall of Shame candidate

Following in the footsteps of his predecessor, convicted Republican Gov. George Ryan, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, is at the center of a deepening federal probe.

Federal prosecutors for the first time brought their corruption investigation to the desk of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, making public Friday the allegations of two convicted insiders who say the governor offered them state business for their political backing.

In a 78-page court filing that identifies the governor only as "Public Official A," federal authorities detailed the accusations of the two former political operatives who have already pleaded guilty in a shakedown scheme and are cooperating with prosecutors.

Blagojevich told one of the men he "could award contracts, legal work and investment banking to help with fundraising," according to the filing.

The other insider, Stuart Levine, described a flight home from a New York trip during which he thanked Blagojevich for reappointing him to an influential and allegedly corrupt state hospital board.

"You stick with us and you will do very well for yourself," Blagojevich replied, according to the court document.

This is Illinois, of course, where corruption is a bipartisan endeavor. But that hardly excuses it.

For now, all we have is unsealed accusations -- no charges, much less a trial or conviction. But it doesn't look good, so Blagojevich goes on our Hall of Shame watch list.

(h/t: The Glittering Eye)

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