“The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering,” says U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. We’ll say. Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, whom Fitzgerald had arrested today, faces an awesome array of charges, including angling for high favors — “appointment as Secretary of Health and Human Services in the new Obama administration, or a lucrative job with a union,” per the Tribune — from persons yet unnamed in exchange for picking an agreeable candidate to replace the outgoing Senator; muscling the Chicago Tribune for editorial favors in exchange for help with the management of its properties, including Wrigley Field; and various quid-pro-quos involving state contracts and appointments. Blagojevich’s chief of staff has also been arrested.
The Tribune‘s timeline of Blagojevich misdeeds going back to 2004 also makes noxious reading, including an account of how, after the state legislature targeted the Democratic Governor’s corruption with an ethics bill this spring, he nonetheless continued “collecting more than a quarter of a million dollars from those with business before the state.”