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Blagoje-Watch 2008: Day 8

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Dec 16, 2008 4:52PM

2008_12_16_blagowatch.jpgIt's been a week since Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested on corruption and fraud charges. We aren't surprised so much with the what as with the why. Still, it's a week later and, besides becoming the laughing-stock of the country, not all that much has changed. Gov. Blagojevich is still in charge, he's still signing bills, and - yes - he even still has the power to appoint a senator to replace President-Elect Barack Obama.

  • Yesterday, the Illinois House voted 113-0 to pass a resolution allowing impeachment proceedings against Gov. Blagojevich to begin immediately. House Speaker Michael Madigan formed a 21-member, bipartisan committee who will work between now and the January 14 end-of-session date to decide whether or not to recommend impeachment. The panel consists of 12 Democrats and 9 Republicans. State Rep. Barbara Currie reiterated the process will be slow and deliberate. "This is not a kangaroo court. Just because people are calling for his head, it doesn't mean we should cut off his head and do the trial later."

  • And what of that vacant senate seat? As of now, Gov. Blagojevich still has the power to appoint a senator, though it's unlikely he would do that now. After failing to come to an agreement over costs, House Democrats scrapped plans for a special election to select the new senator. The decision angered Springfield Republicans. Representative William Black, deputy leader of Republicans in the House, protested, “Shame on you. We had an opportunity to limit the power of this governor and you refused.” Robert Duncan, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said in a statement, “It’s extremely disappointing that Democratic leaders in Illinois are ignoring bipartisan calls for a special election.” For his part, Lt. Gov. Pat "The Mighty" Quinn still prefers a temporary appointment to the senate seat with a primary election in February and a general election to follow in April.

  • None of this, of course, is deterring Gov. Blagojevich from his duties as Governor. His office released a list of bills he worked on yesterday [via], signing 10 and vetoing one (an extension of the Hoffman Estates TIF district). Even as it looks more and more like Gov. Blagojevich will fight calls for his resignation, members of his staff are mulling over their options, including resignations for themselves. Several of the governor's top aides have allegedly considered resigning en masse as a means of protesting the governor's conduct, but have not followed through out of fear of paralyzing a state government already in crisis.

  • Meanwhile, more trouble for the governor in regards to the case we thought would be the one to bring him down in the first place: Tony Rezko. Rezko's sentencing, originally set for January, has been delayed indefinitely and that decision has court-watchers speculating it's giving Rezko more time to talk to the feds to tell them what he knows about the governor and other government officials.

  • The Governor has yet to officially address the arrest, but this morning as he was leaving his house for work, he shouted to reporters, "I'm dying to talk to you." Yes, because the last time you addressed a group of reporters, there was nothing but sunshine hanging over you.

  • Finally, between the economy and our governor, it's feeling like a pretty gloomy holiday season around these parts. Thankfully, there are still ways of making us laugh, including these Christmas cards, which are [bleep]-ing golden.

AP Photo/M. Spencer Green