Blagoje-Watch: Day 31
By Marcus Gilmer in News on Jan 8, 2009 4:45PM
Blagojevitch lawyers Sam Adams, Jr. (left) and Ed Genson (right) confer while facing the state's impeachment committee. AP Photo/Seth Perlman
We admit that we've grown weary of the ongoing Circus in Springfield, but things are picking up steam as The Lord's Senate Appointee™ prepares to testify and an impeachment seems imminent. A draft report calling for impeachment has been released by the investigating committee and could be amended and sent to the House as soon as tonight, which would most likely lead to a House vote on impeachment tomorrow, though the report does not yet include an official article of impeachment (which would need to be added before the vote). It might be wishful thinking, but this may happen sooner rather than later.
Read the full report here. [PDF]
- The Lord's Senate Appointee™, Roland Burris, is in Springfield to testify in front of the Balgojevich impeachment committee as part of a deal that will lead to Burris eventually being seated as Senator. The primary reason for the Burris questioning is to make sure there is no taint with the Burris appointment, but lawmakers are promising to be tough. Said Rep. Mike Bost (R-Carbondale), "I would like to specifically ask, under oath, if there was any quid pro quo for the appointment." But that's not all.
Committee members also plan to ask Burris about contributions to the governor's campaign, how Blagojevich's wife got a job with a group affiliated with Burris' business partner and why the governor's criminal lawyer approached Burris about the Senate instead of a staff member.No word if the committee also plans to ask Burris about his use of "the royal we."
- Aside from Burris, the committee is also waiting today's federal court ruling on whether or not they'll get to hear excerpts of The Blago Tapes. Blago attorney filed his objection with U.S. District Chief Judge James Holderman late yesterday afternoon. The specific tapes focus on Blago's attempt to secure campaign contributions in exchange "for signing legislation that diverted casino funds to the state's horse racing industry." In spite of the objections, the panel promises they will press on, tapes or no.
- Yesterday's session focused on Blago's hiring shenanigans based on a 2004 inspector general's report.
The focus on hiring revolved around a September 2004 inspector general report about a probe into the Illinois Department of Employment Security that found Blagojevich's patronage office was driving hiring even for jobs that were supposed to be free of political influence.The then-inspector general, Zaldwaynaka Scott, said the behavior, "reflects not merely an ignorance of the law, but complete and utter contempt for the law."
The confidential report, disclosed by the Tribune during Blagojevich's 2006 re-election campaign, said Blagojevich's office sought to circumvent hiring laws for veterans, falsify hiring records, hire unqualified employees and boost vacation time and pay by faking the background and experience of workers.
- CBS 2 is reporting that the subjects of one of the largest shakedown charges against Blagojevich is Bridgeview concrete contractors Prairie Materials Corporation. The company was asked for a half-million dollar campaign contribution in return for getting a contract on a billion-dollar Tollway project. The Vice President of Prairie Materials that was approached by the Governor's administration is now cooperating with prosecutors.