Friday, 30 January 2009

A dishonourable exit for governor of Illinois

The most corrupt politician in the States has left the building. Governor Rod Blagojevich, of the state of Illinois and a former political ally of Barack Obama, was removed from office yesterday.

The Illinois Senate unanimously voted to oust Blagojevich, after he was arrested in December on corruption charges. It is alleged he was trying to sell or trade the Senate seat that became available after Obama was elected president. His phone was tapped and one of his quotes became crucial evidence (see left).

It was an embarrassment for the governor, since no state senator, not even from his own Democratic party, seemed to be willing to reach out to the politician. The state house voted overwhelmingly to continue Illinois politics without the Chicago based Blagojevich. The Senate vote was 59-0.

That voters in Illinois will hear his name ever again, is not very likely. Moments after he was removed from office, the Senate voted, also unanimously, to prevent Blagojevich from ever holding political office in the state again. "I'm obviously sad and disappointed, but not at all surprised, by what the state senate did today," Blagojevich said at night in front of his Chicago home. It was a dramatic performance: he answered reporters' questions, hugged supporters and promised a neighbor's child he'll play basketball with him this summer. "It's something I knew
they would do a long time ago," he said. "The fix was in from the very beginning."

President Obama released a statement late on Thursday saying he welcomed the end of the Blagojevich era. "Today ends a painful episode for Illinois," he said. "For months, the state had been crippled by a crisis of leadership. Now that cloud has lifted, I wish Governor Quinn the best and pledge my full cooperation as he undertakes his new responsibilities."
"Honest and competent governors don't act like Rod Blagojevich," Republican Senator Kirk Dillard said. "Rod Blagojevich needed to be removed from office."

Only a few hours later, workers were seen at the Illinois Capitol Building changing the face of state government, after Governor Pat Quinn was sworn in and replaced Blagojevich. Shortly after the Senate vote, the "welcome" sign with Blagojevich's face on it, at the Capitol’s building, was quickly removed. Then maintenance crews arrived and removed Blagojevich’s gold nameplate.
(,, pictures,, Reuters)