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Fix Pick: Blagojevich's Tentacles

The criminal investigation into Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his administration broke out into the open two weeks ago when "Pay-Rod" was arrested for allegedly attempting to sell the Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

But, the Senate seat was only the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to Blagojevich and the allegations of corruption that have dogged him almost since he was sworn-in (ironically on an ethics reform platform) as governor in 2002.

In today's Post, reporters Carrie Johnson and Kimberly Kindy have a terrific story that shows just how widespread the graft allegedly was -- breaking out the various allegations against Blagojevich as well as the wide web of people implicated in the various pay to play scams.

The piece is filled with great nuggets -- the name of the federal investigation into Blagojevich is "Operation Board Games" (!) -- and you need to read it all (and check out the amazing graphic that shows visually how many people could eventually be dragged down).

But, here's the nub of the piece -- for those of you too busy with Christmas shopping to read the whole thing -- as written by Johnson and Kindy:

"Many of the developments in Operation Board Games never attracted national headlines. They involved expert tactics in which prosecutors used threats of prosecution or prison time to flip bit players in a tangle of elaborate schemes that Fitzgerald has called pay-to-play 'on steroids.'

But now, Fitzgerald's patient strategy has led to uncomfortable questions not only for Blagojevich but also for the powerful players who privately negotiated with him, unaware that their conversations were being monitored. Democratic Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. faces queries about his interest in the Senate seat, and key players in the Obama presidential transition team -- White House Chief of Staff-designate Rahm Emanuel and adviser Valerie Jarrett -- are being asked about their contacts with the governor on the important appointment."

Great stuff. Make sure to check it out.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 22, 2008; 3:58 PM ET
Categories:  Blagojevich , Fix Picks  
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Comments

Blago has a set of Brass Tentacles.

Posted by: newbeeboy | December 27, 2008 7:19 AM | Report abuse

Since the Obama camp has offered to let people listen to the tapes of their conversations with the governor or anyone else for that matter, I would suggest that reporters work a deal with Fitzgerald to listen to those conversations. That should settle things and we could go on discussing things that matter.

Posted by: Opa2 | December 25, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Another really - really bad day for the DEMOCRUDS

Posted by: hclark1 | December 24, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I just cannot warm up to Obama ... I tried during the Democratic primary and have attempted to remain open minded .. just can't get there from here.

This Hot Rod thing sort of confirms what I felt all along .. that Obama's rhetoric is hollow .. he's no different than most of the other politicians in the mix.

The only consolation is that McCain was so lame and that Palin was so scary!

Posted by: newbeeboy | December 24, 2008 6:15 AM | Report abuse


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Psst. Now that all the liberals have left after seeing the dots, we can talk. Please, let me know where the conspiracy is so that I can join it. Thanks. And mum's the word.

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Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 23, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I prefer to wait for the Special Prosecutor to make his case on the facts, instead of some nasty innuendo about "Rahmbo" that so obviously is loaded with bias. However, after the scandal riddled Bush Administration, I guess I can see how the suspicion is so close to the surface in the minds of the people. But I guess the theory of assumed innocence is a legal nicety that many just chose to ignore.

Posted by: mari2JJ | December 23, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Considering Blagos knowledge of Chicago politics,were I he,I would ask for police,no, FBI protection. Could you feel safe with their police?

Posted by: 1uncle | December 23, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

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officermancuso


Sure sounds like you an broadwayjoe are a part of a conspiracy to limit the civil rights of internet posters - by attempting to scheme to limit the free speech rights of internet posters, that is a civil rights violation.


well.


Seriously, if you have done this, it is a violation of Federal Civil Rights Acts.


It is a serious violation.


I would invite the Washington Post to investigate if there is a concerted effort to limit free speech rights on this website BASED ON CONTENT - and report those findings to the Justice Department for prosecution.


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Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | December 23, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

armpeg writes
"The fact is that nobody goes anywhere in Chicago politics unless they're 'players', so both Obama and Emanuel had to be players to get to the top of the Chicago political food-chain."

If the GOP weren't so incompetent at everything they do, they would have already dug up proof of Obama/Emanuel wrongdoings. Instead all they have is "But, but, but, they're from CHICAGO!"

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 23, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

One would have to be dumb as a post to believe that Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel stayed squeeky-clean in Chicago's Democratic Party pay-to-play political swamp, while all the other Chicago Democratic Party swamp-critters were getting rich playing the corrupt political system all around them. The fact is that nobody goes anywhere in Chicago politics unless they're 'players', so both Obama and Emanuel had to be players to get to the top of the Chicago political food-chain. While I'm sure both Obama and Emanuel will get free passes by the Democratic Party--controlled MSM, who'll do everything they can to protect them from any political fallout because they're Democrats, both I'm sure where knee-deep in the pay-to-play Chicago corruption swamp and covered with the same swamp-muck of corruption as Blago, Rezko, Jackson Jr., et al. It's lucky for them that they have the MSM in their hip-pocket, who'd turn this scandal into another Watergate if this had been a Republican scandal.

Posted by: armpeg | December 23, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

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broadwayjoe


Quite the contrary - that is exactly what the nation voted for - Post-partisan, post-racial transparent government.


NOW deliver.


The thing is the cabinet is not any of those things - starting with Hillary the one person in America who does her best to hide EVERYTHING IN EVERY SCANDAL.


I would be happy if Obama really did appoint half Republicans and half democrats to ALL THE CABINET POSTS AND ALL THE PRESIDENTIAL APPOINTMENTS.


I would be happy to see Obama leave his ultra-liberal agenda at the door and govern in a centrist manner.

I would be happy to see Obama denounce affirmative action - and choose the best person WITHOUT REGARD for race, sex or any diversity goals.

Let's see it.

Make me happy Broadwayjoe.


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Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | December 22, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Posted by 37andOdrools: "The democratic party is the biggest FRAUD in the history of the nation - and Obama has won an election based on offering the country a candy-land notion of post-partisan, post-racial transparent government which he has NO intention of putting in place."
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37, I'm sure you will do your best to see that this Nation is never fully post-partisan or post-racial. BTW, isn't lock down in 15 mins.?

Posted by: broadwayjoe | December 22, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

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I will give you three examples of how bad the democratic party is: take all three senatorial sucessions we are witnessing.


In Illinois, the corruption and graft of the democratic party has been laid bare.


In Delaware, the nepotism and downright ugly politics of the internal democratic party is a stark example - if Illinois was not so bad, Delaware would be taking the cake.


In New York, the fight over Caroline has shown how corrupt and pathetic the internal workings of the democratic party is.


In New Jersey, a high-level Assemblyman, who recently resigned, was finally indicted on child porn charges - in addition to the multitude of democratic party officials indicted this year.


OK Sorry that is four examples of ugly the democratic party is.


Do you really want your country run this way???


The latte liberals have this fantasy that the democratic party officials are out helping the poor every day.


The democratic party forgets about the poor, forgets about the poor neighborhoods, the day after every election.


The democratic party is the biggest FRAUD in the history of the nation - and Obama has won an election based on offering the country a candy-land notion of post-partisan, post-racial transparent government which he has NO intention of putting in place.


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Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | December 22, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

First, as to Mr. "37":
More important than any questions about the Blags matter or even Health Care is why the robo-troll currently posting as "Yes37thandORulesForever" has changed his/her handle yet again? By my count, this is his/her 16th troll handle change. Previous troll handles include: 37thandORulesForever, 37thandORules, 37thandOStreet, 37thandO, DorchesterandCongress, and, for a couple of days, some goofy handle that had "army" in it. Before any more posts, 37, would you, as McEnroe might say, ANSWER THE QUESTION. Please.

As for Blags, the issue of Rahm's contacts, as I understand it, is a non-issue. Reports are that O's internal investigation reveals Rahm had one (1) direct conversation with Blags about the Senate seat and offered only his appreciation for anything Blags could do for Jarrett. Other than that, Rahm had nothing to say, no involvement in "dealmaking." O, of course, was exonerated at the outset. This is entertaining but in the end just a local Illinois story pumped up by the bloviators. To his credit in his recent interview of Biden, Stephanopoulos didn't ask Joe one question about Blags.

Finally, Jeffrey Dunn has a very disturbing piece in HuffPo today on the main Phalin supporter site, teamsarah.org. We cannot repeat here any of the racist and hateful anti-O material on the site (as Dunn has described the site); yes, it's that offensive. Hopefully Powell and Hagel will take back the party from this kind of dangerous 1950s extremism.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/geoffrey-dunn/watermellon-roll-more-rac_b_152743.html

Posted by: broadwayjoe | December 22, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

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Let us all remind everyone that Blago is a democratic scandal - just like all the other democratic scandals - they show how corrupt the democratic party is.


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Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | December 22, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse


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Funny how the country has to wait so long for Obama to start to fulfill his pledge of "Transparency" - at list point Obama is looking like a blend of Nixon and Bush Jr.


What is going on here?


Obama has set the standard for his own administration: Transparency and post-partisanship.


AND he promised to be post-racial.


So far the grades are: F F and F.


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Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | December 22, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

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How can anyone in the right mind view George Stephanopolous as anything other than a "FRIEND OF RAHM" - they worked together in the Clinton campaign in 92 and in the Clinton White House ????


George is completely "in the tank"

What is wrong with the media that they appear to be taking the transition team's investigation of ITSELF as the definitive word - AND they were going to let George Stephanopolous give it the seal of approval???

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Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | December 22, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

George Stephanopoulos reported that Obama’s investigation found Emanuel and Blagojevich had only one contact. However, in the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle, in legendary California Democrat Willie Brown’s column “Willie’s World,” he disclosed that Governor Blagojevich called him, and in their chat told him that he had “many heated conversations” with Rahm Emanuel. I have more and the links to both columns in my blog post: http://strongasanoxandnearlyassmart.blogspot.com/2008/12/obama-blagojevich-emanuel-cover-up.html

Posted by: MajorMike | December 22, 2008 6:48 PM | Report abuse

As far as Rahm Emanuel goes, there should be a long pattern one way or the other. Either he did favors for Blagojevich or he did not. Blagojevich's own words show that he did not expect that the Obama team would grant him any favors. People may not like hearing Emanuel lobby for Valerie Jarett or probably hear someone suggest to him that Blagojevich is looking for a favor. But as long as Emanuel has avoided compromising himself by actually doing favors for Blagojevich, he has no real ethical problem.

Posted by: dnjake | December 22, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

I like the graphic -- the name of "Fast Eddie" Vrdolyak brings back memories of Chicago Machine politics of yore. Battles with Mayor Washington, switching to the R party and getting spanked by Richie Daley. If Fitzgerald could flip Vrdolyak, that graphic would fill a couple of pages of agate type.

Posted by: mnteng | December 22, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

I think more should be made of the courage of Pam Davis. She could have had approval for the hospital expansion she had worked for years to achieve simply by agreeing to use designated vendors. No sweat to anybody, just bury the costs in the project. Instead, she knew right from wrong and had the guts to follow through. In all the sorry headlines of this story, the financial meltdown, regulatory failures, etc. that have dominated the news lately, there have been very, very few profiles of courage. Pam Davis is one and the story should be told over and over with props to her. It's too bad there aren't more folks like her, particularly inside the beltway and at statehouses around the nation.

Posted by: jturner1 | December 22, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

"No way Obama's internal report clears Rahmbo or anyone else on the transition team completely. Nobody will say what really happened - and no one knows what may come out of a Blago trial."

I agree, but this might provide a nice little test to see how prone Obama is to cronyism.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 22, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

"No way Obama's internal report clears Rahmbo or anyone else on the transition team completely. Nobody will say what really happened - and no one knows what may come out of a Blago trial"

The only person that could officially 'clear' Emmanual, or Jarret, or Jackson, is Fitzgerald. The lesson to be learned from the Scooter Libby trial is: tell the truth, the whole truth & nothing but the truth.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 22, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

No way Obama's internal report clears Rahmbo or anyone else on the transition team completely. Nobody will say what really happened - and no one knows what may come out of a Blago trial.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | December 22, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

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