December 9th, 2008 12:22 EST
BREAKING NEWS: Democrat Governor of Illinois Arrested!
From USA Today, this startling story: ***
"CHICAGO " Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday at his home on corruption charges, including allegations that he solicited bribes to fill the vacated Senate seat of President-elect Barack Obama.
The governor`s chief of staff, John Harris, was also arrested, according to U.S. Attorney`s office spokesman Randall Samborn.
Blagojevich, 51, who has been the subject of a five-year federal probe, is charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery.
"The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering," said U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in a statement.
"They allege that Blagojevich put a `for sale` sign on the naming of a United States Senator; involved himself personally in pay-to-play schemes with the urgency of a salesman meeting his annual sales target; and corruptly used his office in an effort to trample editorial voices of criticism," Fitzgerald said. "The citizens of Illinois deserve public officials who act solely in the public`s interest, without putting a price tag on government appointments, contracts and decisions."
Throughout the long investigation, the governor has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
A 76-page FBI affidavit alleged that Blagojevich was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps during the last month "conspiring to sell or trade" the seat vacated by Obama "for financial benefits for himself and his wife."
It alleged that, Blagojevich, on various occasions, discussed exchanging the Senate appointment for:
*A substantial salary for himself at a either a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions;
*Placing his wife on paid corporate boards where he speculated she might garner as much as $150,000 a year;
*Promises of campaign funds " including cash up front;
*A cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself.
The statement alleged that as recently as last week, the governor told an adviser that he might "get some (money) up front, maybe" from a potential senate candidate, to make sure that the candidate kept a promise to raise money for Blagojevich`s re-election.
Blagojevich was elected governor in 2002. He previously served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in the district that was held by Rahm Emanuel before Emanuel was named Obama`s chief of staff"