December 12th, 2008
09:50 AM ET
14 years ago

Illinois Democratic lawmakers begin impeachment effort for gov

[cnn-photo-caption image="" caption="Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday on federal corruption charges."]CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Key Illinois Democratic legislators are circulating a letter urging support for the impeachment of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was arrested this week on federal corruption charges relating in part to the selection of President-elect Barack Obama's successor as a U.S. senator.

State Rep. John Fritchey, head of the House Civil Judiciary Committee, sent out the letter Thursday asking Democratic colleagues to say by Friday whether they support a move for impeachment and would like to be added as a co-sponsor of legislation.

"Faced with a significant budget shortfall, a national recession, and a vacant United States Senate seat, we cannot afford to allow Illinois to operate without effective leadership in the (Illinois) executive branch," said the
letter, also signed by Reps. Thomas Holbrook, David Miller and James Brosnahan.

"Simply put, it is imperative to replace Governor Blagojevich as soon as is practicable."

The letter said the impeachment filing was being prepared, and the lawmakers said they expected the process - the state House would bring charges against Blagojevich and he would be tried by the state Senate - would take "a matter of weeks rather than months."

The lawmakers' move coincided with increasing calls for Blagojevich's resignation.

President-elect Barack Obama called again Thursday for Blagojevich to step down, saying the embattled governor can no longer effectively serve the people of Illinois.

"I hope that the governor himself comes to the conclusion that he can no longer effectively serve and that he does resign," Obama said, speaking ahead of announcing his pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

Obama said he was as "appalled and disappointed as anyone" by the allegations against the Democratic governor, and said he was confident none of his staff members were involved in the alleged scandal.

Federal officials said Blagojevich was looking to sell or trade Obama's now open seat in the U.S. Senate.

Obama said he had never spoken to the governor on the subject, adding he was confident that "no representatives of mine would have any part of any deals related to this seat."

He had asked his staff to gather the facts of any contacts with the governor's office about the vacancy, he said.

"This Senate seat does not belong to any politician to trade. It belongs to the people of Illinois, and they deserve the best possible representation," he said. "They also deserve to know that any vacancy will be filled in an appropriate way so that whoever is sent to Washington is going to be fighting for the people of Illinois."

Earlier Thursday, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said she is prepared to go to the Illinois Supreme Court to have Blagojevich declared unfit to serve if he does not resign.

"Obviously the easiest way for us to move on in the state of Illinois is for Gov. Blagojevich to do the right thing for the people and to resign," she told CNN's "American Morning."

She added, "If he fails to, the two other options are obviously the legislature moving forward on impeachment, or I have the opportunity to actually go to our Illinois Supreme Court and ask them to declare, basically, that our governor is unable to serve," she said.

In that case, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn would become acting governor, she said.

Madigan said she won't wait "terribly long" to take action.

"We would like a signal from the legislature if they're going to move forward on impeachment proceedings. ... I think there are obviously numerous members of the legislature calling for impeachment proceedings," she said, noting that the legislature, which is currently adjourned, will meet Monday to discuss the possibility of holding special election for Obama's successor.

Fritchey, in the letter to Democratic lawmakers, commended Madigan's willingness to initiate that procedure, but said "both the duration as well as the outcome of such a proceeding are inherently uncertain and speculative."

"We would also note the comments of the Attorney General indicating her support of impeachment proceedings as an appropriate course of action at this time," the letter said.

Filed under: Illinois • Rod Blagojevich
soundoff (224 Responses)


    December 12, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  2. Tina

    As always Obama will say ...oh I did not know or I did not hear that guy like he did to Rev Wright, Tony Rezko, and Bill Ayer …..LOL!

    December 12, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  3. V A

    How about impeaching bush and cheney for outing cia agent Valerie P and taking the country to bankruptcy by needless idiotic wars?

    How about abolishing the fed which only causes inflation and destroys the dollar by printing money like crazy and bailing out their buddies in the banking industry?

    Anyone thinking about addressing the root causes instead of just the visible effects of what's going on?

    December 12, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  4. Joyce Becker

    The sooner Blogo is out of office the better it is for Obama and the country. A honest election should be held to pick a Senator for his old seat and then he can start his new administration without any taints on it, even though he did nothing wrong. We really have to get on to the real problems of this country.

    December 12, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  5. Super D

    I'm afraid that Blago has something on Obama and that's why he's so defiant.

    Sorry, the love affair is going to end before it even starts.

    December 12, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  6. Mike-Pittsford,NY

    If you comb his hair back – I think you will find an off-shore account number tattooed backwards there so he wouldn't forget it when looking in the mirror. Considering his actions – it was the only way he could face himself in the morning. A reminder that probably brought a smile to his face. I don’t mean to be mean, but his knowing he was being looked at –let’s face it – we all know rocks that are smarter than him.

    December 12, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. Nancy

    Enough with corrupt elected officials! This country needs a benevolent dictator appointed by the pope.

    December 12, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. xcusme

    He needs to go. Whatever it takes. As for the hate Obama crew it will not change that he is going to be the President so you can spin and connect the dots however you like. It is what it is. Deal with it

    December 12, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. tom

    Typical liberals...this has nothing to do with Sarah Palin or Bush, this is just "normal" Chicago democrats in action, been going on for decades...and where is OHB from?

    And could I please get some of what Phoenix is smoking?

    December 12, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  10. FreeNLovIt

    What a mess! He'll be in my prayer. I dont know him but he's done a lot of good things to defend the poor, the blind and the helpless. He inherited a NEGATIVE budget from previous predecessors and had to cut a lot of the budget, thus, I think, angering a lot of people, plus, I think he doesnt know how to make friends.

    December 12, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  11. Jack Walden

    This and the corrupt politicians who also have New Jersey in similar corrupt death grip goes to show that that they may all flock to the land of milk and honey, yet they simply cannot get over their rotten central European corrupt heritage. In this case Serbia.

    December 12, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  12. Walt, Belton,TX

    I'm sure Obama had nothing to do with selecting his replacement just as sure as he didn't listen to 20 years of Rev Wrong's abominating of the United States. You hang around crooks long enough, you begin to smell like them, act like them and behold you are them!

    December 12, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. deb

    He needs to go. Just another crooked politician. Why do so many of these "powerful" people think they are entitled to do anything they want? They always think they are above the law and are so brazen and arrogant and actually think they'll get away with it! And, for those who insist on making Obama a part of this...get over it! Why would Obama get involved in something like this?? There would be no benefit, not to mention, I think and hope I'm right, that Obama has more integrity than this idiot.

    December 12, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  14. jubei

    Not to sound like an Obama pleap, but the facts of the matter are that this guy is a user, and user's use whatever they have to get ahead. The only tie this has to Obama is that Obama's senate seat provided him an oppourtunity to prosper, in his mind. any other allegation of ties between the two is foolish at this point. I beleive that he cooked up angles in which to garner money from all the people on his radar which were gunning for his "golden prize". and he was going to get something out of it.
    Simple case of corruption.

    December 12, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  15. Jack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN

    Throw the greedy, arrogant bum out on his behind, and pronto!

    December 12, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  16. Republican

    the root cause of all evils in america is that we follow "Innocent until proven guilty". We should start following "Guilty unless proven innocent" if america needs some sanity.


    December 12, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  17. obama-mama

    CHANGE HAS COME TO AMERICA – FINALLY!!! (Hair'rible). That's funny....

    December 12, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  18. Callie

    Maybe he knew as he stated he was being listen to ans a lot of this is just junk because of that, but if he cares for his state it would seem to me he should step aside until this is all cleared up and he find himself in jail for what he done.

    December 12, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  19. DX in TX

    Is Gov. Rod Blagojevich the offspring of Tattoo from Fantasy Island?

    December 12, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |

    Jackson must go as well he is in the mix . the chip never fly too far the block. what Jesse said about Obama was bad as a so called minister and a so called civil rights leader he should have known better he is a backbiter didn't he read it in the holy bible . what he wishes for others may very well come to his family .amen i hope this is lesson to others whoever they maybe .

    December 12, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  21. curious

    Innocent until proven guilty............

    December 12, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  22. sandee in Portland

    Go get him guys! Let him know what it's like to be unemployed! I don't think there will be too many employers wanting to hire either him or his wife.

    December 12, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  23. Joe the Barber

    Is Blagojevich Serbian for "whack job"? Sounds like it.

    If this guy had any clue about reality, he'd get out before someone blames an outbreak of "cooties" on the North Side on his hair. Looks like an illicit beaver pelt.

    Oh and don't forege "Pottie Mouth Patti". She's going into the "Guiness Book of World Records" for the most use of the "f-word" in one paragraph.

    December 12, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  24. Robe


    You two have so much hate in your hearts. What has Mr. Obama done to you to cause you too continue spewing your hate comments? The American people have spoken; please move on with your lives and stop the hating. Please!!

    December 12, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  25. LA

    Hey "Phoenix", What planet are you on? The media is controlled by the RIGHT??? Are you nuts?

    December 12, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9