Blagoje-Watch 2008: Day 9
By Marcus Gilmer in News on Dec 17, 2008 5:25PM
It's hard to believe that we're still getting a shit-ton of news out of this scandal, but nothing really surprises us anymore.
- A Sun-Times report today sheds some light on the role that U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel played in the senate seat. The story alleges that Emanuel made a big push for Valerie Jarrett to get the seat and that Jarrett was very interested in the appointment before President-Elect Obama appointed her as a White House aide. A source told the Sun-Times, "Valerie was deciding whether she wanted to go the Senate. Others had talked to her about it. There were plenty of people who talked to her about it and thought she would be a good choice." Still, in spite of the talks, there are still no allegations of wrong-doing by anyone within the Obama team, including Rahm.
- As for Senate Candidate 5, Jesse Jackson, Jr., it seems that Gov. Blagojevich had planned to appoint Jesse's wife, Sandi, as state lottery director after the 2002 election but reneged on the deal after Jackson refused to make a $25,000 campaign contribution to the governor's campaign. The source told the AP, "Blagojevich went out of his way to say, 'You know I was considering your wife for the lottery job and the $25,000 you didn't give me? That's why she's not getting the job.'" Neither Jackson has commented on the story, but the feds say Jesse has been cooperating with them.
- ABC 7 has picked up a story reported last week by Newsalert that federal informant Robert Cooley has alleged that Governor Blagojevich was originally a bookie who paid off Chicago mobsters to operate. Cooley was a federal informant in the late 80's and early 90's as part of Operation Gambat. This is perhaps the most bananas accusation we've heard yet, but - again - nothing short of Blago eating a child whole on live television would be shocking at this point.
- Mayor Daley, presumably too busy actually getting our streets plowed, has been pretty quiet on the whole matter. He has endorsed a resignation, though in a round-about way, saying, "It's gonna be very, very difficult. You have economic problems in every home and every business. Every city and county and township and every state [has financial problems]. It's not unique. So, you need a person 24 hours [a-day], seven-days-a-week who cannot ever be distracted on any other issue."
- Speaking of the struggling economy, the scandal has cost the state $20 million in a bond sale that was delayed because of Blagojevich's arrest.
The $1.4-billion bond sale, which had been set for last Thursday, was delayed by Mr. Blagojevich's arrest two days earlier...It's reassuring to know it's not just the state's reputation that's been damaged by the scandal. Peachy.
Those charges led to a drop in the state's credit and debt ratings, forcing the bonds to be sold at a higher interest rate, said Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.
Mr. Giannoulias estimated that the $26.6 million in interest the state is paying on the bonds would have been $5.8 million had the sale gone through last week, before the scandal damaged Illinois credit rating.
- The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism is claiming that the Blagojevich scandal is one of the biggest stories of the year not dealing with the election or the economy.
Research showed that stories about Blagojevich accounted for 28 percent of print-media coverage, generating more coverage than the Russia-Georgia conflict in August at 26 percent and the March story of former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's involvement with a prostitute, at 23 percent.That's right; Chicago trumps New York once more. Suck it, Gothamist!
- And finally, with apologies to Jon Stewart, here it is, your moment of Nixonian zen.
AP Photo/Paul Beaty