GOP Self-Implodes - Again
Just when things were really starting to get hot for Governor Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois Republican Party rides to the rescue! This week Republicans contributed to Rod's Rescue through the indictment of Michael Tristano, former chief of staff to former Illinois House Republican Leader, Lee Daniels. Tristano, in a nine count federal indictment (read it here), is charged with sending state employees to do campaign work while on the state payroll from 1998 to 2000, and extorting a downstate real estate partnership to ghost payroll a failed political candidate.
Specifically, Tristano is accused of sending House staff to work on campaigns, while pretending they were really doing non-political work for incumbents. This indictment has been a long time coming, and Rich Miller of Capital Fax has been following this story for a while. According to Miller, the House GOP's illegal campaign practices had been an open secret for some time.
Lee Daniels, still a House member, resigned his leadership post of twenty years in 2002, amidst reports of illegal activity. It's very possible that Daniels, who has not been accused of wrongdoing, had no idea any of this stuff was going on, but could everyone be Reaganesque and be completely clueless about their own office's operations?
Regardless, the hapless Illinois GOP continues to do everything it can to make Governor Blagojevich's polling numbers moot.