FBI: Illinois Governor Sought To “Sell” Obama’s Senate Seat

Blagojevich was overheard by the FBI saying “I want to make money,” complaining he wasfinancially hurting.”

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich wanted President-elect Barack Obama “to put something together&something big” in exchange for going along with Obama’s choice to fill his vacant US Senate seat, according to an FBI affidavit unsealed following the Governor’s stunning arrest.

“I’ve got this thing and it’s f***ing golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for f***in’ nothing. I’m not gonna do it. And I can always use it. I can parachute me there,” Blagojevich said in a phone call secretly recorded by the FBI on November 5, the day after the election, according to the affidavit.

It is conduct that would make Lincoln roll over in his grave,” said U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in announcing the charges today in Chicago.


Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich arrested on corruption charges Chicago Tribune

Ill. Governor Is Charged With Corruption New York Times

Tapping the Governor’s Phone Washington Post

He said the Governor’s efforts to “sell” the Senate seat was the “most sinister and appalling” of a range of alleged corrupt acts detailed in today’s case. The FBI says Blagojevich wanted an appointment to the Obama cabinet as Secretary of Health and Human Services, a well-paying job or huge campaign contributions as the price for naming Obama’s successor.

Blagojevich was overheard by the FBI saying “I want to make money,” complaining he was “financially hurting.”

“If Illinois isn’t the most corrupt state in the United States, it sure is one hell of a the competitors,” said the head of the FBI’s Chicago office, Robert Grant.

He said veteran FBI agents were “disgusted, sick” as they listened to the intercepted conversations of the Illinois Governor.

Blagojevich also sought a high paying job for his wife, according to the FBI. “Is there a play here, with these guys, with her” to work for a firm in Washington or New York, he reportedly said.

The FBI affidavit said Blagojevich had been told by an adviser “the President-elect can get ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s wife on paid corporate boards in exchange for naming the President-elect’s pick to the Senate.”

Told by two other advisers he has to “suck it up” for two years, the FBI says it heard Blagojevich complain he has to give this “motherf***er [the President-elect] his Senator. F*** him. For nothing? F*** him.”

The Governor is heard saying he will pick another candidate “before I just give f***ing [Senate Candidate l] a f***ing Senate seat and I don’t get anything.”

According to the affidavit, one candidate for the Senate seat, identified as Senate Candidate 5 promised to “raise money” for Blagojevich. The Governor described, in a recorded call, an earlier approach by an associate of Senate Candidate Five. “We were approached ‘pay to play.’ That, you know he’d raise me 500 grand. An emissary came. Then the other guy would raise a million, if I mad him (Senate Candidate 5) a Senator.”

Affidavit Says Blagojevich Knew He Was Under FBI Investigation

The FBI affidavit says Blagojevich thought he might get some “tangible up front” from Senate Candidate 5.

Aware that he was under FBI investigation, Blagojevich apparently considered appointing himself to Obama’s Senate seat, the affidavit says. He is quoted as saying “he will be able to obtain greater resources if he is indicted as a sitting Senator as opposed to a sitting governor.”

He was arrested this morning on a two count criminal complaint, and is expected in court later today.

Click Here for the Investigative Homepage.

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