By Robert Weiner and Ben Lasky
Why is Trump possibly about to pardon or commute the sentence of disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich?
Consider the following: Trump built the Trump International Hotel Tower in Chicago from 2005-2009. Blagojevich was Governor from 2003-2009. The Trump Tower Hotel, a 92 floor glistening glass monument on the Chicago River, visible from throughout the city with a glaring golden multi-story "TRUMP" sign, opened the day after Blagojevich's impeachment and removal from office for pay-to-play corruption convictions.
Mark Suppelsa reported on WGN TV on February 17, 2016, "Donald Trump's multi-million dollar Chicago tax break" was "a sweet deal" of assessments with portions reduced by over two-thirds, from $10.5 million to $3 million." Supplesa states that "as the building was underway," Trump gave $12,500 to the Cook County Democratic Party, $50,000 to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, $20,000 to House Speaker Michael Madigan, and $7,000 to Blagojevich. Before the Governor went to prison, Trump made him a cast member in 2010 on "Celebrity Apprentice."
That is how Trump plays. He gave the campaign of Pam Bondi, Florida Attorney General, $25,000 of his foundation money in September 2013. Less than a week later, Bondi told reporters she was dropping the investigation of the fraud against Trump University that New York prosecutors still pursued, won, and forced a $25 million settlement.
Robert Weiner is a former White House spokesman in the Clinton and Bush administrations and former communications director of the House Government Operations Committee. Ben Lasky is senior policy analyst at Robert Weiner Associates and Solutions for Change Foundation.