Ill. governor and aid arrested. From TPM:
Beleaguered Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was taken into custody by law enforcement authorities at his home this morning, reports the Tribune Company, sourcing a US Attorney’s office spokesman. The governor’s chief of staff, John Harris, was also arrested.
Hours earlier, the Chicago Tribune reported that the federal probe of pay-to-play politics in the Blagojevich administration had expanded to include the question whether the process of filling Barack Obama’s US Senate seat — for which the governor is responsible — had become tainted.
Quite the turn of events. Don’t know much if anything about Illinois politics or Blagojevich. Obviously these are very serious allegations.
Then again, it’s not as if the Bush Justice Department has ever been accused of targeting a Democratic governor for political reasons.
I guess we’ll just have to see how this sorts out.
UPDATE 9:15 AM–Here’s one quick take by Josh Marshall on the charges against llinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D):
A few of you have written in to ask whether this is a case of Siegelman redux — that is, something akin to the case of former Gov. Don Siegelman of Alabama, a Democratic governor sandbagged by Republican partisans in the US Attorney’s office.
Short answer: Don’t bet on it.
Needless to say, I haven’t had any real chance to evaluate the specific charges themselves. But I would be extremely cautious about jumping to such conclusions. Patrick Fitzgerald, the US Attorney in Chicago, put the previous Illinois governor away too. That was Republican George Ryan. Fitzgerald was also the special prosecutor who investigated the Plame Leak case.
I remember a few years ago I was having lunch with a prominent Democratic consultant who told me that Fitzgerald was “naive” about how politics worked — relative to his work in Chicago. I just listened and waited to move on to another subject. What is true is that Fitzgerald takes a pretty stringent view of political corruption. But that’s not such a bad thing.
Goldy has also stated sentiments along the same lines. I think that’s a fair analysis at this point, and as the story unfolds, it’s becoming clear that those familiar with Illinois politics are not exactly surprised. I’ve read the word “idiot” associated with Blagojevich about ten times in the last twenty minutes.