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Unfortunately I believe that we are limited in what we can focus on. I think that if we proceed with the partisan sideshow of prosecuting Bush admin. officials, healthcare will get lost in the brouhaha.
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Tapping the Governor's Phone

POSTED: 12:39 PM ET, 12/ 9/2008 by Derek Kravitz


Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (Amanda Rivkin / AFP / Getty Images)

Despite being the focus of a three-year investigation by the FBI, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich hit the phone lines before Election Day to figure out how to profit from his opportunity to fill Barack Obama's soon-to-be-vacant "golden" Senate seat.

The governor did not suspect that federal agents had started tapping his home phone on Oct. 29. By Nov. 3, according to a 76-page complaint, Blagojevich's plans to sell the seat were in full gear.

Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, are charged with orchestrating an elaborate scheme to accept payoffs for the Senate seat.

Blagojevich, a Democrat, allegedly was seeking to leverage a new job for himself -- an appointment to Secretary of Health and Human Services (a job that went to Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) or a post at a private foundation at a "substantial salary." He also sought to get his wife placed in paid corporate board positions.

Blagojevich and Harris also are accused of demanding the firing of members of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board in exchange for helping the Tribune Co. with the sale of Chicago's Wrigley Field.

Chris Cillizza of washingtonpost.com called Blagojevich's arrest "far-reaching, with tentacles into the Senate, governor's mansion and the national political scene."

In Pontiac, Ill., where townspeople are fighting the governor's plan to close the local prison, Mayor Scott McCoy told The Associated Press that his first thought after hearing about about the indictment was that Christmas came early.

Meanwhile, Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna called on Blagojevich to immediately resign.

After the jump, some of the most notable quotes from those wiretaps of Blagojevich's phone, according to federal court documents:

BLAGOJEVICH ON TAKING THE SENATE SEAT HIMSELF

"If . . . they're not going to offer anything of any value, then I might just take it."

"Unless I get something real good for (unnamed Senate candidate), [expletive], I'll just send myself, you know what I'm saying."

"I'm going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain. You hear what I'm saying. And if I don't get what I want and I'm not satisfied with it, then I'll just take the Senate seat myself.

(The Senate seat) "is a [expletive] valuable thing, you just don't give it away for nothing."

BLAGOJEVICH ON THE NEGOTIATIONS

(The ) "trick . . . is how do you conduct indirectly . . . a negotiation."

"How much are you offering, (President-elect Obama)? What are you offering, (second unnamed Senate candidate)? . . . Can always go to. . . (third unnamed Senate candidate)."

"It's got to be good stuff for the people of Illinois and good for me."

"I've got this thing and it's [expletive] golden, and, uh, uh, I'm just not giving it up for [expletive] nothing. I'm not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there."

BLAGOJEVICH ON STARTING A NON-PROFIT

"His (President-elect Obama's) friend Warren Buffett or some of those guys to help us
on something like that."

BLAGOJEVICH ON WHY HE WAS SELLING THE SENATE SEAT

"Our legal situation, our personal situation, my political situation. This decision, like every other one, needs to be based upon on that. Legal. Personal. Political."

"I want to make money," adding that he was hurting "financially."

"The immediate challenge (is) how do we take some of the financial pressure off of our family."

(I do) "not want to be Governor for the next two years."

HARRIS ON THE NEGOTIATIONS

"We wanted our ask to be reasonable and rather than. . .make it look like some sort of selfish grab for a quid pro quo."

BLAGOJEVICH ON BEING UNDER INVESTIGATION

"You gotta be careful how you express that and assume everybody's listening, the whole world is listening. You hear me?"

By Derek Kravitz |  December 9, 2008; 12:39 PM ET Blagojevich Scandal
Previous: Freddie Mac Documents, Lawyer Accused of Fraud, Tenants, Lenders Exposed to Scams | Next: The Blagojevich Files: The Unnamed 'Senate Candidates'

Comments

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The governor's political affilitation is not mentioned as far as I could see. I had to look it up. Otherwise, a good article packed with information. In my mind, this is going to be a new era in government accountability and I am very excited about that. It won't come easily or quickly, but I am confident that one-by-one, we will rid our nation of the blood-sucking thieves at the top. Please inform yourselves and vote accordingly. The many must rise up to defeat the few.

Posted by: 1OntheWay | December 9, 2008 1:11 PM

The governor's political affilitation is not mentioned as far as I could see. I had to look it up. Otherwise, a good article packed with information. In my mind, this is going to be a new era in government accountability and I am very excited about that. It won't come easily or quickly, but I am confident that one-by-one, we will rid our nation of the blood-sucking thieves at the top. Please inform yourselves and vote accordingly. The many must rise up to defeat the few.

Posted by: 1OntheWay | December 9, 2008 1:13 PM

And so it begins. Welcome to Obama's rough and tumble world of Chicago politics.
Expect a litany of corruption scandals during this Recession President's one and only four-year term.

Posted by: mediahack | December 9, 2008 1:23 PM

Our entire country is rotten with greed. As a Republican, I voted for Obama on the theory that he hadn't been in the Senate long enough to be corrupted by it. It will be a sad day for this country if it turns out Chicago politics has already done it to him.

Apart from the brazen and ridiculously stupid behavior of the Governor, I'd like to know what's worse: trying to sell a Senate seat, or members of Congress who have already received millions (both personally and in the form of campaign contributions) to be guiding legislation through Congress that will hand over $15-Billion to 3 companies and a labor union who collectively deserve to go bust.

Posted by: thomas777 | December 9, 2008 1:38 PM

I am so pleased that the Governor was calling Obama names and saying all he would do was offer his "appreciation". Not a hint of scandal there on Obama's part. Obviously this Gov. guy is an idiot--if you are under federal investigation, you have to assume your phones are tapped. The WaPo should tell us who the Lt. Gov. is and what the likely scenario for the Lt. Gov. to make the appointment is as Gov.

Posted by: clsvail | December 9, 2008 3:35 PM

For basic information such as Blagojevich's party affiliation and the name of the Lt. Governor, check out the main article on wapo's front page. This blog post is solely about the more controversial quotes culled from the wiretaps, as indicated in the blog post's headline, introductory paragraphs, and overall content.

Posted by: jack28 | December 9, 2008 5:14 PM

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