December 10th, 2008
04:56 PM ET
9 years ago

Land of Lincoln once again mired in controversy

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is accused of scheming to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder.

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is accused of scheming to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Illinois state politics read more like a script from "The Sopranos" than a page out of the history books.

On Tuesday, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, and his chief of staff, John Harris, were arrested on federal corruption charges involving an alleged pay-for-play scheme to award Barack Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder - among other accusations.

Each was charged with a count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and a count of solicitation of bribery, authorities said. If convicted, the two could spend a maximum of 30 years in prison.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald called Blagojevich's actions a "political crime spree" and said his behavior would make Abraham Lincoln "roll over in his grave."

Lincoln, after all, is one of the state's most famous figures, having served as a congressman and later as president.

The FBI special agent in charge of the case, Robert Grant, went so far as to say that "if [Illinois] isn't the most corrupt state in the United States, it's certainly one hell of a competitor." Video Watch more on the complaints against the Illinois governor »

But accusations of corruption like those against Blagojevich are nothing new to Illinois.

"Corruption is in the DNA of this state," said CNN contributor and Chicago resident Roland Martin. "The voters in this state, when I talk to people, since I have been here, they're pretty much like, 'You know what? This is what we expect.' "

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Filed under: Rod Blagojevich
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. Mike, Syracuse NY

    The question of the day: What did Obama know, and when did he know it?

    December 10, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  2. Connie, NY

    Obama is trying to lead the country to a better place and you have this muckety muck in Illinois trying to derail everything. Get this man out of dodge, he's a disgrace to our Constitution.

    Note to future governors:


    Send this son of a so-in-so to the big house.

    December 10, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  3. chuck


    December 10, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  4. Simmy

    His mentality is couple of degrees below that of Forest Gump! I can almost hear him saying: "Life is like a box of chocolate....." What a character!

    December 10, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  5. lol election

    anyone notice that there are no democrats defending this guy? Had he been republican the entire party will be up there supporting him and blaming the liberal media and what not.

    Had blago been republican he would've blamed democrats for not allowing him to make money.

    December 10, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  6. Paul C.

    Ah, the nonsense is starting! Something the righties need to do is listen and learn. The FBI has stated this till they're blue in the face, Obama had nothing to do with the illegal activities with the gov. And there are documented and recorded conversations where the gov. called Obama derogatory remarks. You want to know why? Because he wouldn't stoop to the gov.'s level and isn't an idiot. Now to the pitiful nonsense posted here by laughable and uninformed mindless idiots like Daniel in IN, I guess someone has to take a shovel of reality and hit you over your thick head with it, all you're doing is making a fool of yourself. You have no proof whatsoever and your posts are nothing more than nonsensical rants from an impotent mind. Try understanding reality before you mock yourself in public the way you do here constantly.

    December 10, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  7. big daddy

    get ride of the bozo !!!!

    December 10, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  8. Scott Tucson

    I guess this is all part of that CHANGE we're going to see for the next four years from Obama and the democrats.

    December 10, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  9. Mike H.

    Chicago plans to put in a strong bid to host the next Olympic games. Given the corruption in that city, the politicans would have a field day with graft . There is no way we shoud allow Chicago to be the lead US city in efforts to win the gmaes..

    December 10, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  10. Jobu

    Another indicator of the questionable ties and circles that Nobama has been around while mired in the political cesspool of Chicago.

    December 10, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  11. Jeremy

    he didn't do it....look at him....he's a Who
    Who's are perfect.

    December 10, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  12. Uncle Fester

    Brenda C
    Pull your head out of your backside and get a life.

    December 10, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  13. NJVote08


    December 10, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  14. Lolita

    I think the media and rep. are just trying to find any little "LIE" in order to destroy Obama. But I pray these tricks do not work, in my opinion there are a lot of more important things that need to be focused on at this time. America has spoken Obama is our next president...I believe that it is time for all those people who don’t agree to move on with their lives and STOP trying to bring down our leader and instead left him up and stand behind him! FOR SOME REASON IT WASN'T HARD FOR MANY TO STAND BEHIND BUSH AND HIS STUPIDITY. SO I think we should give Obama a fair chance and get ready for the next four years and leave the crap behind us not just individually but as a NATION together and NOT divided!

    December 10, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  15. Carl Justus

    Lincoln must have been first honest man in Ilinois and Dirkson must have been the last.

    It must be the water in the state that makes them a little on the wild side and maybe a little greedy at least in my opinion and what is in the so called news or from the media.
    It seems that every four years or so we have another governor or some in politics idicted for something other that doing his job in an honest forthright fashion.

    December 10, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  16. Concerned Democrat

    Illinois the LAND OF CORRUPTION.

    December 10, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  17. truth hurts

    sometimes i think americans are their own worst enemies, can't we put our country and our values first and stop all of these crimanal acts.

    December 10, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  18. DP in CA

    I lived in Illinois for nine years, and corruption was never what I 'expected' from the governor or anyone else. Blame the individuals involved, not the entire state, please.

    December 10, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  19. LF Oneto

    Sorry AlasKKKa, you are now in second place.

    December 10, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  20. GeeGee

    I just want to know, what in the hell does this have to do with the thousands of AMERICANS losing their jobs. We need to get on with letting President-Elect Obama pick his cabinet members so that we can get our economy going again. You guys are worried about this Governor putting a position on Ebay when Bush and Cheney sold the COUNTRY!!!!!

    Fire the man if he does not step down, send him to jail if necessary and SHUT UP ABOUT IT.

    Peace Out!!!

    December 10, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  21. james

    Campbell Brown does not now or ever offer objective comments regarding key issues. Her bias reference in suggesting that President Elect Obama was aware of the criminal activity of Governor Blagojevich is absurd. Her program is not predicated on objective journalism, but rather on her slanted disgraceful opinions.

    Is this CNN or the National Enquirer? Quite frankly, she does CNN an injustice based on her coverage of very important issues. She is BIAS and FULL OF BULL!!!

    Brown needs to be replaced in order to maintain the credibility of CNN.

    December 10, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  22. annie - Palin 2012

    To california gold – which scoundrel are you referring to – obama or obaggie or orezko or owright or oayres or ophlegm or just or mrs. obaggie who was obama's realtor for the chicago mansion? No one can 'accidently' have that many criminal friends.

    December 10, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  23. Jan Oeltjen

    I am an Illinois resident, or should I say a southern Illinois resident. I believe all the political rot in this state comes from the Chicago machine. It is my wish that Chicago form their own state so they can keep the dirt up there. We have a lot of decent hard working God fearing people in our state and I am tired of the mockery cast on us because the politicians think they are above the law. Perhaps Blagojevich can find a cell right next to the last crook, George Ryan.

    December 10, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  24. T

    Someone stop Mayor Bloomberg and the MTA from increasing the fares on buses and fares.

    December 10, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  25. Clark

    I applaud our Gov for his outstanding example of what a TRUE
    American really is.

    December 10, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
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