My neocon suit is urging me to ask questions.
Justice Department Briefing on Blagojevich Investigation
Published: December 9, 2008
The following is a transcript of a news briefing about the investigation into Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, as provided by CQ Transcriptions.
Patrick Fitzgerald, United States attorney general for the Northern District of Illinois
Robert Grant, Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent in charge
After some intro and explanations, Fitzgerald gets down to the brass tacks.
Originally Posted by Fitzgerald
I'll give you two examples set forth in the 76-page complaint. One involves Children's Memorial Hospital, a hospital that obviously takes care of children. At one point, the governor awarded funding, reimbursement funding to that hospital to the tune of $8 million. But he also indicated privately that what he wanted to get was a $50,000 personal contribution from the chief executive officer of that hospital.
In the ensuing weeks, that contribution never came. And Governor Blagojevich was intercepted on the telephone checking to see whether or not he could pull back the funding for Children's Memorial Hospital.
A second example is legislation that is pending concerning horseracing. There is a bill that I believe sits on the governor's desk that would take money from casino revenues and divert a percentage of it to horseracing tracks. While this was pending, the interceptions show that the governor was told that one person who he was seeking to have raise $100,000 also was working with a person who was seeking that money to have a bill pending.
So the Governor was about to receive two illegal payoffs totaling $150,000!!! Wonder what else was cause for concern for Mr. Fitzgerald?
Originally Posted by Fitzgerald
But the most cynical behavior in all this, the most appalling, is the fact that Governor Blagojevich tried to sell the appointment to the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Obama. The conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave.
So this is really bad. Not only is the Governor corrupt but people are lining up to pay for the job. Sounds like an ideal sting operation to pull in some real trophies! We sure can't have Honest Abe skinning his long dead knuckles with all that spinning!
Let's skip on down a bit to the Q & A after Pat and Bob wrapped up their presentation.
QUESTION: Mr. Fitzgerald, was this done today in an effort to head off the appointment of someone to fill Barack Obama's Senate seat? Was it -- was it so imminent that that's why you had to step in?
MR. FITZGERALD: I would say that we decided that this required unusual measures and there are a lot of things going on that were imminent. There's a bill sitting on a desk that we think a person who was supporting that bill has been squeezed to give $100,000. And to let that bill be signed, to me, would be very, very troubling.
There's a hospital -- a children's memorial hospital -- believing that it's getting $8 million, but its CEO has not coughed up a campaign contribution, and the thought that that money may get pulled back from a children's memorial hospital is something that you cannot abide. There is an editor that they'd like fired from the Tribune, and I laid awake at night, worried whether I'd read in the paper in the morning that when there were lay-offs, that we'd find out that that person was laid off.
The complaint -- the complaint lays out, in there in fact, when there were layoffs, there were conversations to find out whether the editor who should of -- they thought should be fired, and he wasn't. And the governor was asking whether there would be more layoffs. So we have a governor in this modern times, the only one who's looking for more layoffs. You take that, what's going on and add it to the fact that we have a Senate seat that seemed to be, as recently as days ago, auctioned off to, you know, to the highest bidder for campaign contributions. And Governor Blagojevich, own words, on the -- on the tape or the bug that set forth in the complaint, talked about selling this like a sports agent.
QUESTION: Couldn't you...
MR. FITZGERALD: So -- so -- I'm just -- and so, we stepped in for a number of reasons. Basically, as I said before, we're in the middle of a clutching crime spree, and we wanted to stop it.
So here's an AG in the middle of the biggest thing ever in his legal career. He can conceivably bag an undetermined number of powerful, highly placed corrupt criminal/political types and instead...
He steps in and pulls the plug on the whole covert thing "in the middle of a clutching crime spree
" so that he can stop a couple of low rent payoffs and save the jobs of some newspaper folks. Now his investigation is "overt" and he is pleading for everyone to come forward and tell the truth so they can identify and catch the really big fish.
Or perhaps not. Perhaps Fitzgerald had the plug pulled FOR him.
Man, this suit is fun. Where can I get a neocon hat to match?