10 December 2008

Home state antics

As an Illinois expat, this story comes as no surprise to me: Governor Accused in Scheme to Sell Obama’s Senate Seat. Among the allegations against Rod Blagojevich:

The governor is accused of racing to solicit millions of dollars in donations from people with state business before an ethics law bars such behavior in January, and threatening to rescind state money this fall from businesses, including a Chicago hospital for children, whose executives refused to give him money. He is also accused of putting pressure on The Chicago Tribune to fire members of its editorial board who had criticized him or lose the governor’s help on the possible sale of Wrigley Field, which is owned by the Tribune Company and is home to the Chicago Cubs.

What about Barack Obama himself, whose Senate vacancy was the occasion for Blagojevich's less than savoury fund-raising activities?

Mr. Obama, who Mr. [Patrick J.] Fitzgerald said was not implicated in the case, sought to put distance between himself and the governor during brief remarks on Tuesday afternoon and later in an interview with The Chicago Tribune, saying he did not discuss his Senate seat with Mr. Blagojevich.

“I had no contact with the governor or his office, and so we were not — I was not aware of what was happening,” Mr. Obama said. “And as I said, it’s a sad day for Illinois. Beyond that, I don’t think it’s appropriate to comment.”

It is just possible that our own Conrad Black will soon have a new cellmate. In the meantime, with Christmas just round the corner, Obama's Senate seat is up for sale on ebay, with a promise of free shipping. Gift-wrapping goes unmentioned.

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