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)
  1. No Hillary = No Obama

    This guy is going to do alot singing and I wonder who will get snitched -out.

    December 12, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  2. Mack

    If Springfield is the capital of Illinois, why does Blagojevich live in and work out of CHICAGO???

    December 12, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  3. Democrat

    No, he is a Democrat, and no one can touch him. Remember Bill Clinton?

    December 12, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  4. Bleep

    Bleeping bleep bleep bleepity bleep "Golden" bleepers bleeping bleepily

    "My hunch is that this is just the tip of the Iceberg,........from the Clintons, to the Bushs down through every hall in every state, its a climate accepted over the past 20 years by these "Boomer's"..........whats happened on Wall St., the corruption, the greed?.......Heck our governments... Federal and State , along with Justice have the SAME trend.....its just as bad.....but instead of financial bankruptcies.....its leadership bankruptcies.....

    And WE the People are always the ones penalized for that type of corruption.

    December 12, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  5. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    All you dems talking about Obama not taking part in any wrongdoing are right. But he still broke the law. He is legally bound to report this and it is clear he had knowledge of this before Blago was arrested. This is a bad thing for the country and you can't hide behind your worship of him for long. Sooner or later we all will have the facts and it is not going to be nice. Get over it and move on. Trust me any republican that voted for bush was put through the same thing by you for the last 8 years. You even blamed the housing crises on him. Clinton was in office when we started to make banks make loans to people with no credit.

    December 12, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. arc, Lugano CH

    libbssuck1 December 12th, 2008 1:20 pm ET
    Get rid of all lib politicians!
    ...On the same day that George Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and co. are indicted in The Hague.

    December 12, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. Accountant Guy

    It's about time he gets impeached. He should become a Republican as he would fit in perfectly.

    December 12, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. arc, Lugano CH

    Alysandra December 12th, 2008 12:50 pm ET
    Oh, yay for those good 'ol democrats! ...thought only Republicans were corrupt…? Print the whole truth people.
    Members of both parties have been found to be corrupt. It is just Republicans who are War Criminals.

    December 12, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  9. Accountant Guy

    Hopefully we can get rid of all the corrupt governors, next stop needs to be Alaska!! You Betcha!!

    December 12, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  10. Accountant Guy

    It's funny how all the conservatives are trying to tie Obama with this guy, when it is obvious to anyone with an IQ in the double digits that there is not one. Maybe this guy can join the Republican party, as he would fit in perfectly!!

    December 12, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  11. Accountant Guy

    Time to take out the trash. Start with this guy, then move onto Bush and Cheney and finally head to Alaska!! You Betcha!!

    December 12, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  12. Brenda R. Harris

    Well, all the ugly things are coming out . I for one am glad that before president-elect-Obama gets into office these people will all be gone either to jail or not holding any form of office. Pray for the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

    December 12, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  13. Accountant Guy

    Well I guess he could always join the Republicans and move to Alaska. He would fit in great there!!

    December 12, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  14. Larry

    The Mayor of Chicago and Democratic leader of the "Chicago Machine" has spoken,he has said to the Gov. and everybody involved,"DO THE RIGHT THING"or...................................

    We have the fox guarding the hen house

    December 12, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  15. Beau Wiseman

    Colin Powell should listen to the Rush Lindbaugh show before making comments, because he clearly hasn't listened to the show, and he doesn't have a clue about what Rush talks about. The common sense of what Rush says is so apparent, I'm amazed that General Powell would make such foolish statements.

    I hope he was more careful in his various leadership roles when judging information or opinions that he used for as a basis to make his command decisions.

    Beau Wiseman

    December 12, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  16. yellow dog democrat

    Mr. Johnson – you sir, are ignorant!

    I live next to someone who is ignorant just like you – I have been astricized for voting for Obama – so much for a free country!

    December 12, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  17. Dan

    @ christopher Johnson, 12:51 -

    You need to be thrown in jail. Why? I have no valid reason. Just because I think you're a complete moron and also a crook. Now see, that argument makes about as much sense as yours, because I don't have proof you should be in jail ... just like you have no proof obama should be in jail. Get a life you neocon freak!

    December 12, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  18. Jason

    Why doesn't any major news outlet show Blagojevich's party affiliation. I am sure that if he were a Republican instead of a Democrat, CNN would have that big (R) right there after his name. Who said CNN is not biased?

    December 12, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  19. Dan

    Alysandra - Why is no one mentioning that the governor is a Democrat? All we hear is how the moral/upstanding Democrats are ousting this corrupt politician. Oh, yay for those good 'ol democrats! What is in fact happening is that another corrupt democrat was discovered. Hmmm. I thought only Republicans were corrupt…? Print the whole truth people.


    If nobody's pointing out that he's a democrat, then why are you moaning about how corrupt democrats are? I'll tell you why ... because you know he's a democrat. If it weren't posted anywhere, all the neocon idiots wouldn't be coming out of the woodwork trying to lamely connect the dots that don't exist between Blagojevich and Obama.

    December 12, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. tim

    The Country should hold up the swearing in of President elect Obama
    until these tapes and the Rezko tapes are released. Notice that
    Jesse JacksonJr. and Mr. Obama are "absolutely certain" no contacts
    were made on the Gov. deal. Well Jesse Jackson Jr. story is falling
    apart and Obama's will too. More importantly we need to hear
    the Rezko tapes and find out what is going on with his lack of
    sentencing. His case would have been resolved long ago if he did
    not have some big fish on the line.

    December 12, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. redneck

    While your at it add Obama to the list !

    December 12, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  22. Jeremy

    I'd like to meet those 8% of people who approve of Blag's job as Governor. They are probably ones who were bidding on the senate seat in the first place. doesn't have anything to do with him being democrat or rebpublican... he is neither, he is simply a self serving crook of a politician who never should have been re-elected. A lot of politicians have been found to be corrupt, look at Illinois History, both our current and previous governor have either been charged or accused of corruption. The current governor is democrat, the previous republican.

    We need to get out of this continuous cycle of bad politics in this country. If we do not we're no better than the countries we attempt to FORCE our beliefs on.

    December 12, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  23. Broadway Joe

    Ah shucks the Bush presidency is just as bad
    no one calling for any investigations.

    December 12, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  24. PRObama

    Hahahaha Christopher you are soooo funny. Obama a thug? Dems thrown in jail??? Yeah that would mean the majority of the country would be thrown in jail at the tax payers expense!! Maybe you are the one who should just go away because your remarks are foolish 🙂

    December 12, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9