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Blagoje-Watch 2008: Day 10

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Dec 18, 2008 5:10PM


AP Photo/Paul Beaty

As the Supreme Court has rejected Attorney General Lisa Madigan's request to remove Governor Rod Blagojevich from power - and, it seems, correctly so - we now have to wait for the impeachment proceedings to take their course. We're getting comfortable.

  • Perhaps a little angry at her request being turned down, Lisa Madigan tried again and rejected Gov. Blagojevich's request to have taxpayers foot the bill for his defense during the impeachment proceedings and at the potential criminal trial. The debate stems from an assertion by Blagojevich's attorney, Ed Genson, that the attorney general is responsible for defending the governor but that her request to the Supreme Court provides a conflict of interest and, therefore, the state of Illinois should have to pay for Blago's defense. Said Genson, "We can't very well ask her to defend him for this. And if he has an obligation to be defended by her, I felt that they should pay -- they being the state of Illinois." State law says the attorney general must "defend all actions and proceedings against any state officer, in his official capacity, in any of the courts of this state or the United States," but Madigan's office is having none of the argument. Said Madigan chief of staff Anne Spillane, "This assertion is meritless."
    "A suit is against a state official in his official capacity when the state, not the individual, is the 'real party in interest.' That is not the case in impeachment proceedings," Spillane said.

    That prevision of the law, she said, "therefore cannot entitle the governor to legal representation at the State's expense in the proceedings before the House of Representatives.

    It seems the impeachment committee agreed.
    That request and just about all others were denied by Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, the Chicago Democrat who chairs the panel, with a reminder that the impeachment hearing is not bound by courtroom rules. The House committee said it was not authorized to make such a decision, and Madigan's office said she would respond Thursday to Genson's request that she step aside.

  • Meanwhile, the feds are putting their own financial squeeze on Blagojevich and have notified his office they intend to put a freeze on his campaign fund. At last report (June), the fund stood at $3.6 million. There is precedence for such a move: $1 million from then-Gov. Ryan's campaign funds were frozen in 2002.

  • Speaking of Genson, he confirms what we knew all along: Blago won't be selecting the new Senator. "(U.S. Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid said that they're not going to accept anybody he picks. Why would he do that?" said Genson. Blago has previously supported a special election to choose the replacement, something that looked likely until discussions amongst Democrats in the General Assembly broke down and angered Republicans. So, for now, we make due with one senator in D.C.