Panel recommends Blago impeachment

posted at 1:32 pm on January 8, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The Illinois House panel investigating the behavior of Governor Rod Blagojevich has returned a recommendation for impeachment, despite setbacks from US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald on cooperation.  They argue that grounds for impeachment extend beyond explicitly illegal activity, and necessarily also includes the inability to perform the duties of his office.  Besides, according to the wiretaps, it sounds as if Blagojevich doesn’t want the job anyway:

The special Illinois House panel investigating Gov. Rod Blagojevich issued a draft report today recommending impeachment of the two-term Democratic chief executive, putting lawmakers on a path toward removing the governor from office.

“The citizens of this state must have confidence that their governor will faithfully serve the people and put their interests before his own. It is with profound regret that the committee finds that our current governor has not done so,” says the draft report (full text), posted by Democratic and Republican members on the House Web site.

“For all the reasons stated in this report and the evidence contained in the record before the committee, the special investigative committee for the Illinois House of Representatives, 95th General Assembly, finds that the totality of the evidence warrants the impeachment of the governor for cause,” the draft report concludes.

The language in the 69-page draft report reflects the sentiments of the 21 members on the House panel, who began looking into impeachment proceedings against the governor on Dec. 16–a week after Blagojevich was arrested at his North Side home on federal criminal charges of allegedly using the governor’s office for personal and political gain.

If adopted, Blagojevich could be impeached by Friday.  The report has to pass out of committee, where little opposition is expected, and where both Democrats and Republicans have serious motivation to expedite the effort.  By next week, the Illinois Senate could begin holding hearings on removal.  Unfortunately, that comes a little late to prevent Blagojevich from making the Senate appointment that started the whole mess in the first place.

Blagojevich will undoubtedly do his best to slow down the process, but the committee points out that his desire to remain Governor seems fairly recent in nature (page 16 of the report):

Finally, it is worth noting that the Governor was overheard on four different occasions stating that he no longer wished to serve in office.  He indicated in one conversation that he did not want to be Governor for the next two years. … He later referred to remaining in office as Governor as having to “suck it up” for the next two years.  … In an undated conversation, the Governor was overheard expressing frustration at being “stuck” as Governor. … He stated that he was also considering appointing himself Senator as a means of avoiding impeachment by the Illinois legislature.

That could make a compelling argument for impeachment on its own, at least on political terms.  If Blagojevich spent so much of his time trying to find a way out of Springfield’s prison of a governor’s mansion, it speaks to a certain unfitness for office that the legislature should address.  Clearly, he no longer has the state’s interests foremost in his mind, but on finding ways to use his power to “parachute” out of Illinois government.

If Blagojevich or his attorney show up to fight impeachment in the House — they surely will defend themselves in the Senate — they can expect some pointed questions as to why Blagojevich suddenly wants to stay in office.  The correct response, “Because no one will hire him now,” will not cut much ice.


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How does the Springfield mansion compare to the HAY ADAMS? Chicago people sure have a different view of where they stay…

originalpechanga on January 8, 2009 at 1:36 PM

Sorry for this OT Ed, but go vote for HotAir. Sullivan is only 1.5% ahead right now.

BadgerHawk on January 8, 2009 at 1:37 PM

Don’t let the door hit you. Or better yet…DO.

latinchic on January 8, 2009 at 1:39 PM

The Corruptocrat KABUKI SHOW IS ON in Illinois! It seems a little late to me.
***
John Bibb

rocketman on January 8, 2009 at 1:42 PM

I sure hope it’s on TV. I want to watch this.

dalec on January 8, 2009 at 1:43 PM

CHIMPEACH!

Good Lt on January 8, 2009 at 1:45 PM

Sorry for this OT Ed, but go vote for HotAir. Sullivan is only 1.5% ahead right now.

BadgerHawk on January 8, 2009 at 1:37 PM

Yes, & you can vote once a day. Thanks, Badger.

jgapinoy on January 8, 2009 at 1:45 PM

It would be wonderful to see a long and wordy “trial”.

But of course, if he does get impeached, he will not have the opportunity to say what he knows.

And he won’t be impeached anyway. The legislature isn’t about to give him the least opportunity for a forum to tag them all and Obama with the crimes they have all committed, which make his pale in comparison.

notagool on January 8, 2009 at 1:46 PM

Go vote, here.

Entelechy on January 8, 2009 at 1:51 PM

I doubt he’ll be impeached. If impeached I doubt he will be convicted. I think he’s got too much dirt to spill on the people who vote to impeach/convict for them to allow it to get that far. My guess is that they are continuing to do this because they feel obligated to do something, for political purposes but they will in the end avoid doing something meaningful.

t.ferg on January 8, 2009 at 1:58 PM

The big questions remain: What sort of civil and/or criminal charges will Blago face? Will Fitz be around to do it? (Even if Obama cans him, his replacement wouldn’t dare drop or even stonewall this case; it’s too hot.)

And (you heard it here first) will Blago try to cop to a mental-illness plea? Given his seemingly erratic behavior, it’s not such a long shot… and it would most likely spare him serious jail time.

Paul_in_NJ on January 8, 2009 at 2:00 PM

Let’s see now… What future is there for a narcissistic Democrat with roots in Illinois and a reputation for playing fast and loose with the truth? (BTW, those are not negatives to Democrats) Hmmm. I wonder if there are any vacant Senate seats in any states amicable to carpetbaggers…say…New York?

whitetop on January 8, 2009 at 2:05 PM

That could make a compelling argument for impeachment on its own, at least on political terms.

Are you serious? I don’t think that expressing discontent with your job in what you thought was a private conversation is relevant grounds for impeachment. I’m sure all politicians express similar feelings at some point in their tenure.

That said, it seems as though they have enough evidence of taint to at least try to remove him from office… and I am looking forward to what else Blago has up his sleeve. He really has outmaneuvered the Democrat leaders so far.

Y-not on January 8, 2009 at 2:05 PM

Let’s see now… What future is there for a narcissistic Democrat with roots in Illinois and a reputation for playing fast and loose with the truth?
whitetop on January 8, 2009 at 2:05 PM

Cable news show?

Y-not on January 8, 2009 at 2:06 PM

If Blagojevich spent so much of his time trying to find a way out of Springfield’s prison of a governor’s mansion

?? He’s already done that. He doesn’t stay in the mansion. He stays at home and takes a private (yet, publicly funded) jet between Chicago and Springfield.

yo on January 8, 2009 at 2:22 PM

Regarding a mental health plea – The problem with narcissism and grandiosity is that they preclude admission of a problem.

There’s no way he thinks he’s ill. My guess is he’d be unlikely to allow his lawyer to proceed in that direction.

Dubya Bee on January 8, 2009 at 2:58 PM

Let the IL legislator who is without sin cast the first stone. Perhaps Obamessiah can be made an temporary member to do the honor. He is a man nutured in the bordello of Chicago/Springfield politics and yet has emerged immaculate.

Mark30339 on January 8, 2009 at 3:10 PM

“The citizens of this state must have confidence that their governor will faithfully serve the people and put their interests before his own.”

Um, these people realize that they’re talking about Illinois, right?

Kafir on January 8, 2009 at 3:33 PM

Let’s see now… What future is there for a narcissistic Democrat with roots in Illinois and a reputation for playing fast and loose with the truth?

Sorry, The Presidency has been filled already.

Kelligan on January 8, 2009 at 3:45 PM

hey, i am rooting for blago.

kelley in virginia on January 8, 2009 at 3:56 PM

A case of pot calling the cattle black. How ’bout Blago now recommending the impeachment of the panel. Why not throw in that attorney general Lisa Madigan in for good measure. She used to be a community organizer sometime prior to her meteoric rise to the office of the IAG. Interesting , no ?

runner on January 8, 2009 at 4:37 PM

Was Obama unfit and impeachable from the US Senate, because he felt trapped in the US Senate and sought to rise to the US Presidency mere months after taking office? How about Mayor Bloomberg of NYC who has had higher aspirations since taking office? If ambition is an impeachable offense, then let the games begin.

eaglewingz08 on January 8, 2009 at 5:19 PM