Dependable Erection

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Well, i guess that'll knock Sam Zell's broad daylight theft of a couple billion dollars from the employees of Tribune Corp. right off the front pages, won't it.
CHICAGO - Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and his Chief of Staff, John Harris, were arrested today by FBI agents on federal corruption charges alleging that they and others are engaging in ongoing criminal activity: conspiring to obtain personal financial benefits for Blagojevich by leveraging his sole authority to appoint a United States Senator; threatening to withhold substantial state assistance to the Tribune Company in connection with the sale of Wrigley Field to induce the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members sharply critical of Blagojevich; and to obtain campaign contributions in exchange for official actions - both historically and now in a push before a new state ethics law takes effect January 1, 2009.

Too bad. Zell's deal is, in the long-term, far more serious than your standard issue corrupt politician.

UPDATE: Harmonic convergence:
In other words, the Tribune company wanted a deal that would save them millions. Harris, the governor's aide, told them that if they removed the paper's ed board, the governor would play ball. In response, Harris got the impression that Zell had received the message and would do what Blagojevich wanted. The governor was pleased.

OK, maybe not "standard issue" corruption. Maybe this is a once in a generation fuckup.

UPDATE II: Email conversation with a friend:
Him: It’s a good thing this didn’t happen before election day.

Me: Well, the main case seems to be that he was auctioning off Obama's Senate seat, and he was pissed that Obama didn't want to give him any scratch for appointing Obama's person to the seat; so if anyone can walk away clean from this, it's going to be obama.

i wouldn't be surprised if Obama's behind this somehow.

From FireDogLake:
In the meantime, here's my question for Fitz (not like he'll answer it). Local Chicago press is reporting that Rahm Emanuel reported Blago after someone approached the Obama folks about who he wanted for the Senate seat. In other words, yes, Rahm may well be the good guy here, and Obama couldn't be cleaner. Is that true?

Like i say, don't be surprised if Fitz' initial tip came from Obama's people. He's pretty sharp, he is.

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  • A governor forcibly cleaning out an editorial board he doesn't like at the state's biggest newspaper strikes me as about as big a deal as the collapse of the Tribune company. Harmonic convergence indeed.

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 1:47 PM  

  • And the newspaper's "owner" going along with the deal. Holy fuck.

    By Blogger Barry, at 1:49 PM  

  • My understanding, from a quick reading of the complaint, was that the editor that Blagojevich wanted fired, wasn't.

    Also, the fact that Emmanuel was the tipster may be more indicative of his political smarts than his cleanliness. Only a dumb person would deal with this idiot. It was known that he was under federal investigation.

    By OpenID jumbanho, at 4:15 PM  

  • Smarts is good.

    I assume that non one was fired (yet) at the Trib because a) these things take time; and b) Zell was too busy covering his ass and getting his bankruptcy filing together to actually worry about, you know, his business dealings.

    By Blogger Barry, at 4:18 PM  

  • Happy to see a corrupt pol go down, regardless of affiliation.

    Still, I'd be happier still to see Bush, Cheney & Rove brought up on charges, but I guess that's my version of a fantasy futbol team?

    By Blogger Tony, at 9:37 PM  

  • Having lived outside of Chitown for three years and having in-laws who are long-time residents in the area, I can tell you that the only unusual thing here is Blago was dumb enough to get caught. Chicago politicians are usually more savvy than that.

    By Blogger NCReader, at 9:56 AM  

  • p.s. I have no sympathy for the Trib employees. Anyone who has been working at a print newspaper and hasn't started looking for another line of work is in denial. The writing's been on the wall for at least a decade.

    By Blogger NCReader, at 10:02 AM  

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