I am willing to go out on a limb here and question the timely investigation into the practices of pay-to-play politics as evident with the storm that surrounds the Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich. While I may be proven wrong here, speaking of this practice is far different than any money actually exchanging hands which in itself is a crime.
First columnist David Sirota cited this in his most recent column, “But at the last minute, the Bush administration insisted on a one-sentence change to the provision, congressional aides said...The small change looks more like a giant loophole, according to lawmakers and legal experts...Lawmakers and legal experts say the change has effectively repealed the only enforcement mechanism in the law dealing with lavish pay for top executives." Is this move by Bush preferential treatment for bank executives at the expense of the taxpayers of this country?
Second, senators such as Shelby, Sessions and Corker who are all southern senators with foreign automakers in their state have consistently attacked unions and the wages their members receive. Is the heart of this investigation into attacking Blagojevich his support of unions and their members?
I am willing to wait for whatever evidence that U.S. Attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald has which will come out next week and has hampered the start of impeachment proceedings against Blagojevich.
The day before this investigation came crashing down on Governor Blagojevich he was openly speaking out in support the workers at Energy Star Windows and called upon the state of Illinois to stop doing business with Bank of America. He (Blagojevich) called upon that bank to lend moneys out to support these union workers and their families who like many others across this country have been hit hard by this economic crisis. Blagojevich unlike many other governors does not come from wealth but as reported in the news came from a blue-collar background where it has been stated one of the reasons he may not be resigning is that he cannot afford to do so.
In researching where he stands in helping workers, I came across this report dated, January 29, 2007, in which he called for $6 million grant program to expand employment opportunities for millions in the construction industry. As you will read, it was to create better jobs for those living in Illinois. Please take note of this passage and ask yourself if union busting is at the heart of this investigation, “the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), EOGP’s goal is to expand the number of people in historically underrepresented populations who enter and complete building trades apprenticeship programs and achieve journey-level status within building trades unions.” As you will see his stance at that window factory is consistent with his support of workers and unions.
Another interesting read is where Governor Blagojevich stood in solidarity with Telemundo workers against NBC as evident in this article. This passage within this article jumped off the page, “Joining the protest against this inequality was the Illinois Democratic candidate for Governor, Rod Blagojevich, along with Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Illinois AFL-CIO President Margaret Blackshire, and many others. Support from other Illinois unions included members of HERE Local 1, IBEW, Chicago Teachers Union, Teamsters, Jobs with Justice, and AFSCME as well as major support from AFTRA and SAG, whom Telemundo employees seek representation from.”
As you will see Governor Blagojevich stood up to two powerful forces namely the Bank of America and NBC (National Broadcasting Company), so that any reporting coming from NBC should remain suspect. Can any reporting on this story by NBC and their subsidiaries be truly objective?
Back in September of 2006, CBS News in Chicago reported the Illinois Federation of Teachers endorsed Governor Blagojevich in his re-election bid. Jim Dougherty said of Blagojevich, "We have not always agreed with the governor...But, we believe in his overall record of accomplishments for education and labor merit our continued support."
Presented to you here are three examples where this governor has stood in solidarity with unions and their members and went up against a financial industry namely Bank of America. I have never in my lifetime seen a prosecutor stop a crime from being committed, but only seek and indictment where an actual crime has been committed.
Did the U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald jump the gun in protection of this financial industry, Bank of America? I really cannot say at this moment in time. Something within this case does not seem right and in this country all are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Is the state legislature of Illinois jumping the gun in trying to impeach Governor Blagojevich? Is the Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan as well jumping the gun by asking the Illinois Supreme Court in finding him unfit to carry out the duties of his office?
If you are questioning my gut feel of this case, on yesterday’s Hardball with Chris Matthews even he discussed whether or not Blagojevich actually committed any crime. Former mayor, Willie Brown of San Francisco even opined of U.S. Attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald that it was “a way to force this guy (Blagojevich) out of office.” Coming to Blagojevich’s rescue was none-other than Pat Buchanan who stated that there was “no act consummated here” He went onto say, “There is a difference between a sin and a crime” when it came to selling the vacated seat of President-elect Barack Obama.
In closing, I may be wrong concerning this case against Governor Blagojevich, but having served on a jury at one time, I cannot render any verdict unless I am given the evidence to convict. So far, I have not seen any evidence of criminality, only supposition.
Author’s email address is, firstname.lastname@example.org
An addendum to this piece: I wrote this piece early in the morning on Wednesday, December 17th, 2008 and where I opined that the Illinois AG, Lisa Madigan may have jumped the gun. By the afternoon of that same day, it was learned that the Supreme Court denied her petition.