WBEZ | political corruption http://www.wbez.org/tags/political-corruption Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Will Jesse Jackson Jr.'s personal items make the cut in Chicago's archives? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/will-jesse-jackson-jrs-personal-items-make-cut-chicagos-archives-108755 <p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-4e161ccb-5204-f385-5bc8-8aecb07f6ab8">For those who were interested in buying the furs or celebrity memorabilia once owned by former Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., the opportunity was fleeting. &nbsp;Just three days after they were been posted on <a href="http://www.txauction.com/" target="_blank">TXAuction.com</a>, US Marshals yanked them, <a href="http://www.txauction.com/forms/USM%20Press%20Release.pdf?CFID=1089729&amp;CFTOKEN=3c87d548eb01990a-33A62555-5056-8125-308FE8E4057D2835&amp;jsessionid=2F0E7FF131365245A793B883F4B5D312.cfusion" target="_blank">after concerns over their authenticity.</a></p><p dir="ltr">While the US Marshals determine whether Jackson&rsquo;s belongings will return to the auction block, the capes and signed photographs of 80&rsquo;s actors and musicians have become the butt of jokes.</p><p dir="ltr">But will they make the cut in Chicago&rsquo;s historical archives? And how will these items be judged by the arbiters of Chicago political history?</p><p dir="ltr">There is only one place to start to answer that question:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagohistory.org/" target="_blank">The Chicago History Museum</a>, formerly known as the Chicago Historical Society.</p><p dir="ltr">John Russick, director of curatorial affairs at the museum, is the tour guide du jour for what he calls the &ldquo;cook&rsquo;s tour&rdquo; of the museum. Russick has a pretty big hand in choosing what lives on the four floors of the building on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side, and its two additional storage areas across the state.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/brucelee.jpg" style="height: 201px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Bruce Lee memorabilia that Jesse Jackson, Jr. purchased with campaign dollars. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Marshals)" />The top floor of the Clark Street building is like a well-organized attic. Hundreds of thousands of items are hidden from public viewing in cabinets or covered with big white sheets. Quarters are pretty tight. Only a small group of people could wind their way through the stacks of toys, dinnerware, political buttons and more. There&rsquo;s everything from a trophy made of melted dimes for Admiral George Dewey to a replica of Mrs. O&rsquo;Leary&rsquo;s cow that actually kicks.</div><p dir="ltr">Then down in the basement, more Chicago relics. On one side, in the sculpture storage room, carved heads and busts of all shapes and sizes stare you down as if you&rsquo;ve disturbed them. Around the corner, there are rows upon rows of more faces - many of them belonging to Abraham Lincoln - but this time, on hanging portraits. In another corner, costumes; in yet another, architectural models and maps.</p><p dir="ltr">Russick says deciding what else to add to this vast collection is a pretty complex process.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Everything that happens in Chicago could be a great Chicago story,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;But not everything is a great Chicago story, so we are charged with that - to try and figure out what stories, especially recent stories, are really going to wind up being important stories in the future.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">There are a few criteria the museum staff must follow when they receive a donation or come across an item they might want to acquire.</p><p dir="ltr">First: Collecting in 2013 isn&rsquo;t the same as collecting when the museum was founded in 1856. Curators and staff ponder if the new item provides more insight into a story. Or might they already have something better in their massive collection so the museum isn&rsquo;t bursting at the seams?</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Badge.jpg" style="height: 236px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="A diamond-studded, gold star badge that was given to former first ward Alderman Michael “Hinky Dink” Kenna from a group of constituents. Museum officials say this is the perfect material representation of political corruption. (WBEZ/Lauren Chooljian)" />Second: Can this item evoke a larger story? Is there something that makes it more than just a costume or a document?</div><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We&rsquo;re not just here for researchers and scholars who want to tap into Chicago historical material,&rdquo; Russick explains. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re also here for citizens of the city who want to see objects that spark their imagination, that inspire them to look more.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">And Russick doesn&rsquo;t answer these questions alone. He&rsquo;s one of five curators that review possible items for the collection - and they&rsquo;ll also work with archivists, library staff and the collections department as things are processed and catalogued.</p><p dir="ltr">Take the Jesse Jackson Jr. items, for example.</p><p dir="ltr">Russick said he and his team talked it through, and decided in the end, the furs or signed photos, while intriguing, don&rsquo;t really tell the full Jackson story, or any other Chicago story, for that matter. The items ranged from a red cashmere cape with mink trim to Bruce Lee and Michael Jackson memorabilia.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We thought these might be evidence of some measure of personal style or even somewhat of maybe excess in his life, but it wasn&rsquo;t truly evidence of corruption or anything of that nature,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">Instead, he points to a gold, <a href="http://blog.chicagohistory.org/index.php/2013/02/a-star-with-a-storied-past/" target="_blank">diamond-studded sheriff&#39;s badge</a> that belonged to Michael &ldquo;Hinky Dink&rdquo; Kenna. He was one of two aldermen who represented the first ward in the late 1800&rsquo;s. Back then, the area south of the Loop was home to brothels, saloons and gambling halls. Kenna and Alderman &ldquo;Bathhouse John&rdquo; Coughlin profited from the schemes to keep them open.</p><p dir="ltr">Russick says some constituents gave Kenna the star in 1897. And this, he says, is a great fit for the museum&rsquo;s collection. It&rsquo;s material evidence of a culture of political back-scratching, and it could even be used for research.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It has sort of the markings of a gift,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Even in our culture today, we would see that as sort of suspicious and I think that it sort of builds on story we already know about Kenna and his times and the notion of first ward politics.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Russick says Jackson&rsquo;s personal items wouldn&rsquo;t fit in the collection in the same way. The items could end up at universities or political libraries or in someone&rsquo;s home, depending on the outcome of the auction.</p><p dir="ltr">Paul Green, director of the Institute for Politics at Roosevelt University, says the museum is making the right call.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;What would be the purpose of it?&rdquo; Green said. &ldquo;This is the stuff that got a guy sent to the slammer? &nbsp;You know, if we did that for everybody in Chicago and Illinois, we&rsquo;d have to turn Soldier Field into a museum and put a cover on it.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">According to Green, Chicago politicians are conscious of the material legacy they&rsquo;ll leave behind.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We like to put our names on everything, you know, sooner or later, Millennium Park will be the Richard M. Daley Millenium Park. I&rsquo;m not wishing the mayor any ill but when he goes to great precinct in the sky, that&rsquo;s gonna happen.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But Green says, in this case, it&rsquo;s not the stuff that will secure Jackson&rsquo;s legacy in the city&rsquo;s history of corruption. &nbsp;And coming from a professor whose office could give the History Museum a run for its money, that&rsquo;s a significant statement.</p><p dir="ltr">Green&rsquo;s office walls are filled with signed photos of the last few mayors, and multiple keys to the city. He even has a picture of Kenna by his office door.</p><p dir="ltr">But Green says Jackson Jr.&rsquo;s story will survive without any relics. His story is one of a promising young politician whose future came to a <a href="http://www.fbi.gov/washingtondc/press-releases/2013/former-congressman-jesse-l.-jackson-jr.-sentenced-to-30-months-in-prison-for-conspiring-to-defraud-campaign" target="_blank">screeching halt by his own devices</a> - through illness or otherwise.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;There will be some people who think government is all corrupt and filled with bad people and they&rsquo;ll do a little giggle and say, &lsquo;oh, there goes another one,&rsquo; but people who are a little more conscientious [might] think what pressures [might he] be under that we don&rsquo;t understand?&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">There is one thing about Jackson&rsquo;s loot that sticks with Green: The guitar that was supposedly signed by Eddie Van Halen and Michael Jackson. That&rsquo;s the item that brought the whole auction down after reports that it might not be real. Green says he&rsquo;s surprised Jackson would spend that kind of money and not get certification for his purchase.</p><p dir="ltr">The US Marshals are still checking to see if the guitar is real or not - and whether they&rsquo;ll repost Jackson&rsquo;s belongings is also still up in the air. The auction was supposed to pay into the $750,000 of campaign funds that Jackson and his wife Sandi, a former Chicago alderman, admitted to using on personal items. Jackson has also been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison. &nbsp;His wife is sentenced to serve a year after that. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, The Chicago History Museum&rsquo;s John Russick says items can become more interesting over time. The twist in the auction story shows the Jackson saga isn&rsquo;t over - and something might give the items more historical significance down the road.</p><p dir="ltr">Russick says curators aren&rsquo;t in any rush. As historians, they can wait.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ Reporter/Producer. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 24 Sep 2013 16:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/will-jesse-jackson-jrs-personal-items-make-cut-chicagos-archives-108755 Profiling Illinois' political criminals before Blagojevich sentencing http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-05/profiling-illinois-political-criminals-blagojevich-sentencing-94585 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-December/2011-12-05/AP060417021403-ryan Charles Rex Arbogast.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was scheduled to be sentenced in federal court this week after being found guilty on 18 corruption charges and was expected to join a long line of Illinois politicians that have served time behind bars. Some of those former Illinois politicians were Gov. Dan Walker, Congressmen Dan Rostenkowski and Mel Reynolds, Gov. George Ryan and, of course, Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Blagojevich is likely to get a longer sentence than any of them. WBEZ's political reporter Sam Hudzik joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to review <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/more-prison-time-blagojevich-illinois-other-convicted-governors-94538" target="_blank">the history</a> of Illinois' politicians convicted of political crimes.</p><p><em>Music Button: Calibro 35, "La Polizia Sta A Guardare", from the CD Rare, (Nublu)</em></p></p> Mon, 05 Dec 2011 14:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-05/profiling-illinois-political-criminals-blagojevich-sentencing-94585 Before verdict, breaking down the charges facing Blagojevich http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-06-17/breaking-down-charges-against-blagojevich-88004 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2010-October/2010-10-27/AP070418059617 Seth Perlman.jpg" alt="" /><p><div class="dipity_embed" style="width: 600px; text-align: center;"><iframe src="http://www.dipity.com/ElliottRamos/The-trials-and-tribulations-of-Rod-Blagojevich/?mode=embed&amp;z=0#tl" style="border: 1px solid rgb(204, 204, 204);" width="600" height="400"></iframe></div><p>Everyone knows that Rod Blagojevich has been on trial, that he’s charged with committing crimes, but who actually understands the charges?&nbsp;</p><p>Well, here’s a breakdown.</p><p>To understand any of the particular charges, prosecutors say you have to answer only one question:</p><p>“Did the defendant try to get a benefit for himself in exchange for an official act?”</p><p>Before we get to the actual charges let’s take a brief look at the evidence.&nbsp; Prosecutors say there are five basic schemes.&nbsp; Each of the charges is related to one of these schemes.&nbsp;</p><p>This probably goes without saying, but let it not go unsaid, everything following is the prosecutor’s version of events.&nbsp; Blagojevich denies the charges.<!--break--></p><p><strong>THE SCHEMES</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-26/AP110526118820.jpg" style="margin: 10px; width: 280px; height: 221px; float: left;" title="(File/AP)"></p><p><strong>1 – The Senate Seat Shakedown</strong> – Blagojevich tried to use his power to appoint a successor to the senate seat Barack Obama vacated when he won the presidency.&nbsp;</p><p>Among the benefits he sought:</p><p>a) An appointment to Obama’s cabinet in exchange for appointing Obama friend and advisor Valerie Jarrett senator</p><p>b) The establishment of a non-profit that would pay him a fat salary in exchange for appointing Jarrett</p><p>c) $1.5 million in contributions from supporters of Jesse Jackson Jr. in exchange for appointing Jackson.</p><p>Blagojevich was arrested before he made any appointments.&nbsp; He eventually appointed Roland Burris.</p><p>&nbsp;– Blagojevich delayed signing a bill that would benefit the horseracing industry in Illinois because he wanted a $100,000 campaign contribution from a racetrack owner first.&nbsp; The contribution was never given.</p><p><strong>3 – Tollway Shakedown</strong> – Blagojevich wanted hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the road building industry before he would sign a $6 billion tollway plan that would have benefited that industry.&nbsp; The campaign contributions were never given.</p><p><strong>4 – Children’s Memorial Shakedown</strong> – Blagojevich held up a rate increase that would have benefited the hospital to the tune of $8 million because the CEO of the hospital wasn’t willing to hold a fundraiser for $25,000.&nbsp; The fundraiser never happened.</p><p><strong>5 – School Shakedown</strong> – Blagojevich was holding up a $2 million grant for a school in Congressman Rahm Emanuel’s district until Rahm’s brother agreed to hold a Blagojevich fundraiser.&nbsp; The fundraiser never happened.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>THE CHARGES</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-26/AP110502161232.jpg" style="margin: 10px; width: 280px; float: left; height: 184px;" title="(File/AP)"></p><p>The first 10 charges are wire fraud charges.&nbsp; That means simply that the governor made a phone call to further one of the illegal schemes listed above.&nbsp; You’ll notice that most of the calls are about the senate seat.&nbsp; That’s not terribly surprising as that was the big thing Blagojevich was thinking about when prosecutors started recording his calls in the fall of 2008 when Obama’s election to the presidency seemed more and more certain.</p><p><strong><a name="Count1"></a>Count 1 – Wire Fraud – Children’s Memorial Scheme</strong> – Blagojevich called the CEO of Children’s Memorial hospital to share good news: Blagojevich was approving a rate increase that would net the hospital $8 – 10 million.&nbsp; The good news was followed a few days later by a request to hold a fundraiser.&nbsp; The call was not recorded, but the CEO testified.</p><p><strong><a name="Count2"></a>Count 2 – Wire Fraud – The Senate Seat Scheme</strong> – This is a call Blagojevich had on November 7, 2008 with a couple of his advisors.&nbsp; Blagojevich recounts a meeting he had with Tom Balanoff.&nbsp; Balanoff was delivering a message to Blagojevich on behalf of President-elect Obama suggesting Valerie Jarrett for the Senate.&nbsp; Blagojevich tells his advisors that he told Balanoff that he wanted to be the Secretary of Health and Human Services in Obama’s cabinet.&nbsp; Here’s the kicker:</p><blockquote><p><em>"And if I'd get that, and, and, and if, if that was somethin' available to me and maybe it's really unrealistic, but if that was available to me I could do Valerie Jarrett in a heartbeat."</em></p></blockquote><p>Despite this comment and others like it Blagojevich insisted to jurors that he was never going to trade one appointment for the other.</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483523-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Count 2.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><strong><a name="Count3"></a>Count 3 – Wire Fraud – The Senate Seat Scheme</strong> – This is a call Blagojevich had with several of his advisors and his wife on November 10, 2008.&nbsp; The backdrop is that Obama wants Blagojevich to name his advisor Valerie Jarrett to the senate.&nbsp; Blagojevich and his advisors are discussing what Obama can do for Blagojevich in return.&nbsp; One advisor, Bill Knapp, asks, “What can Obama do that, at the end of two years makes you better able to earn a living?”&nbsp; Blagojevich seemingly comes unhinged and then unleashes this kicker as he talks about Obama’s unwillingness to make a trade of some sort:</p><blockquote><p><em>“I mean you guys are telling me I just gotta suck it up for two years and do nothing. Give this mother fucker, his senator. Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him!”</em></p></blockquote><p>Here’s an extra kicker from this phone calL - Blagojevich "unhinged", if you will:</p><p>“<em>I gotta tell ya, I don't wanna be governor for the next two years. I wanna get going.&nbsp; I'll, I, this has been two shitty fucking years where I'm doing the best I can trying to get through a brick wall and find ways around stuff but it's like just screwing my family and time is passing me by and I'm stuck, it's no good. It's no good. I gotta get moving. The whole world's passing me by and I'm stuck in this fucking job as governor now. Everybody's passing me by and I'm stuck</em>.”</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483523-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Count 3 Kicker plus.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483523-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Count 3.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><strong><a name="Count4"></a>Count 4 – Wire Fraud – The Senate Seat</strong> – On this November 12<sup>th</sup> &nbsp;call Blagojevich discusses with an advisor a plan where he would appoint Jarrett to the Senate and in return Obama could start up an advocacy group that Blagojevich could lead for a fat salary.&nbsp;</p><p>“<em>Yeah, and you know, they'd have to help us, they'd have to put it, get the resources for it to put it together.&nbsp; That'd be, you know, now, again, maybe she doesn't want to be senator anymore, maybe that's not of interest to them, but...</em>”</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483523-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Count 4.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><strong><a name="Count5"></a>Count 5 – Wire Fraud - The Senate Seat -</strong> In this call on November 12, 2008, Rod Blagojevich made “an ask” -- taking his talk out of the realm of brainstorming and into the realm of committing crimes.&nbsp; Here’s what went down.&nbsp; Tom Balanoff came to Blagojevich on behalf of Obama to say that Obama thought Valerie Jarrett would be a good pick to replace him in the U.S. senate.&nbsp; While discussing Jarrett, Blagojevich brings up the idea of a non-profit that he would be the director of and get a big salary from.&nbsp; The kicker:</p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>And creating a 501(c)(4) that if I'm no longer an elected official I can possibly work with but right now...</em></p><p>BALANOFF: <em>Right.</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: ...<em>while I'm an elected official it would help me push stuff here and at the federal level, which helps us here in Illinois, that'd be very attractive.&nbsp; And you know George Soros and Buffet and all those guys.</em>..</p><p>BALANOFF:<em> Right.</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: ...<em>You know, overnight can put 10, 15,20 million dollars in an advocacy group like that couldn't they?</em></p><p>BALANOFF: <em>Right. Yeah, they could.</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: Yeah, and then we could help our new Senator Valerie Jarrett go out and, uh...</p><p>BALANOFF: Yeah, there you go.</p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>Push that.</em></p><p>BALANOFF: <em>So let me, uh, let me, uh, see if I can't, well, I can. Let me move this idea and see where it, let me put that flag up and see where it goes.</em></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483523-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Count 5.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><strong><a name="Count6"></a>Count 6 – Wire Fraud - The Senate Seat</strong> - On this November 12, 2008 call Blagojevich once again pushes the idea of heading up a non-profit funded by supporters of Obama in return for appointing Obama’s preferred candidate Valerie Jarrett to the Senate.&nbsp; Blagojevich says that if Jarrett “really wants to be a senator” then “it's a very real possibility. It could happen.”&nbsp; Blagojevich transitions from that to tell Balanoff to push the non-profit idea:</p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>Okay, 501(C)(4), I mean use your judgment on how we talk about that, but.</em></p><p>BALANOFF: <em>Yeah.</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>What do you think about that concept, that idea?</em></p><p>BALANOFF: <em>Hey, I think it's great, you know. But hey, what you, you and I, a lotta times think something's great...</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>Yeah.</em></p><p>BALANOFF:.<em>..it's unfortunate that other people don't. I think it's a great idea.</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>And don't forget, we always, we always have the option of me, just fucking sending me there.</em></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483523-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Count 6.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><strong><a name="Count7"></a>Count 7 – Wire Fraud – The Senate Seat -</strong> On this November 13<sup>th</sup> call Blagojevich tells his advisor Doug Scofield that he wants to get the idea of a trade into Rahm Emanuel’s head.&nbsp; He wants Emanuel to know that he’s willing to appoint Jarrett to the senate if Obama will use his power to get a non-profit funded that could hire Blagojevich as the director.&nbsp;</p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>Anyway, so do we talk to Tom Balanoff to see if Andy Stern can go to Rahm and say heylook, will you help this guy with his501(c)(4) on health care. You follow me?</em></p><p>SCOFIELD: <em>Okay.</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>And I, and, ah, my, my strategic goal would be to have Rahm have it in his head sooner rather than later. Like today, tomorrow. Not in connection withSenate appointment or, or anything in his 5th CD.</em></p><p>SCOFIELD: <em>Okay.</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>You know just sort of like hey, this iswhat, is there a way to help him. Youguys get Buffett and Warren Buffett and all these guys to fund it. You see what I'm sayin' Doug?</em></p><p>SCOFIELD: <em>I do, but this, this, we're not talking as part of discussions for anything else.</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>Well, it's unsaid. You understand what I'm sayin'?</em></p><p>On the stand Blagojevich insisted that he wasn’t seeking to trade one for the other and that these tapes prove he wasn’t trying to make a trade.</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483523-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Count 7.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><strong><a name="Count8"></a>Count 8 – Wire Fraud – The Senate Seat –</strong> In this November 13<sup>th</sup> &nbsp;call Blagojevich instructs an advisor to get a message to Rahm Emanuel to that Blagojevich would like $10 or 20 million put into a non-profit for him to lead.&nbsp; Blagojevich says he never appointed anyone to the senate so he therefore couldn’t have committed any crimes.&nbsp; Prosecutors say calls like this represent substantial steps that Blagojevich took to try to get something for himself in exchange for official action.</p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>Ah, can you call Wyma?</em></p><p>SCOFIELD: <em>Yeah, and what's the, what's the message?</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>The message is ah, you know ah, a-, ask him if he can call Rahm and just say hey look, ah, this is unrelated to the other stuff but ah, you know, is there, we would, I'd like, I wanna put together a501(c)(4) for health care. An issue advocacy, put, we'll put, we're putting together an org, we are putting together an organization, a 501(c)(4) advocating children's health care, you know, health care for working families.&nbsp; Okay? We'd like to be able to use that, I would, to, you know, play a role to help them, well, I'd like to use that for our efforts here in Illinois, but, you know, to the extent that it can help Obama's efforts on healthcare, that's good too.</em></p><p>SCOFIELD: <em>Right.</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>You know what I'm saying?</em></p><p>SCOFIELD: <em>Yep.</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>And could they, ah, you know and is there, you know, can they talk to, is there George Soros and Warren Buffett all that whole, all those Democrats, can, can he think, start thinking about how he can help us fund it?</em></p><p>SCOFIELD: <em>Okay, and it's as simple as that. You, he should say it's unrelated to the other thing.</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>If he feels like he needs to even say that.</em></p><p>SCOFIELD: <em>Okay.</em></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483523-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Count 8.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><strong><a name="Count9"></a>Count 9 – Wire Fraud – Racetrack bill –</strong> On this December 4<sup>th</sup> call, Blagojevich is talking to Lon Monk, his law school roommate who worked on the governor’s campaign.&nbsp; The two are trying to figure out how to get a $100,000 campaign contribution from John Johnston.&nbsp; Johnston owns horse-racing tracks and the governor has a bill awaiting his signature that would benefit Johnston and others in the horse racing industry.</p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>I mean, you want me to call him directly, I will, whatever's the best thing. I'm just a little bit...</em></p><p>MONK:<em> I think it's better if you do it.</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>Okay.</em></p><p>MONK: <em>For... It, it's better if you do it just from a pressure point of view.</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>Yeah, good. I'll call him and say yeah, we'll, and we want to do an event down, down so-, down so-, downstate.</em></p><p>MONK: <em>Right.</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>I'll say we wanna do it and we hope, we hope to do this so we can get together and start picking some dates to do a sign-, bill signing? Right?</em></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483523-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Count 9.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><strong><a name="Count10"></a>Count 10 – Wire Fraud – The Senate Seat –</strong> On December 4<sup>th</sup> Blagojevich had a conversation with two advisors where he talks about possibly picking Jesse Jackson Jr. to take Obama’s senate seat.&nbsp; One of the advisors asks repeatedly why he’d pick Jackson.&nbsp; The tortured conversation that follows is the kicker:</p><p>YANG: <em>Is this, is essentially the deal with Jesse Jr. will be that the Jacksons will support you for re-election?</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>No there's more to it.</em></p><p>YANG: <em>What else?</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>There's tangible, concrete tangible stuff from supporters.</em></p><p>YANG: <em>Like what?</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>Well like, you know. You know what I'm talking about. (UI)...later.&nbsp; Political, tangible political support Fred.</em></p><p>YANG:<em> Okay, alright.</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>You know. Specific amounts and everything.</em></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483523-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Count 10.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><strong><a name="Count11"></a>Count 11 – Attempted Extortion – Chicago Academy –</strong> Blagojevich was holding up a grant for a school in Congressman Rahm Emanuel’s district until Emanuel’s brother held a fundraiser for the governor.&nbsp; Prosecutors are relying heavily on the testimony of former Deputy Governor Bradley Tusk. Tusk is one of the more credible witnesses as he didn’t testify with a grant of immunity or receive special consideration from prosecutors because he agreed to point the finger at the governor.</p><p><strong><a name="Count12"></a>Count 12 – Attempted Extortion – Children’s Hospital –</strong> Blagojevich threatened to hold up legislation that would benefit the hospital until he got $25,000 in campaign contributions from the CEO of the hospital.&nbsp; Jurors heard from the CEO Pat Magoon, a very credible witness, but proof that Blagojevich was holding up the legislation was a call in which Blagojevich asked his deputy governor Bob Greenlee if they could hold up the rate increase for budgetary reasons.&nbsp;</p><p>Greenlee said they could and Blagojevich responded, “good to know.”&nbsp; Blagojevich never actually instructed Greenlee to hold back the legislation but Greenlee testified that he interpreted the call as an instruction and he pulled it back.</p><p><strong><a name="Count13"></a>Count 13 – Solicitation of a Bribe – Children’s Hospital –</strong> Blagojevich tried to get a campaign contribution in exchange for signing legislation that would benefit the hospital to the tune of $8- to $10 million.</p><p><strong><a name="Count14"></a>Count 14 – Extortion Conspiracy – Racetrack Bill –</strong> Tab 59, 63 and 64.&nbsp; Blagojevich and advisor Lon Monk agree to put pressure on a horse racing track owner to give contributions.&nbsp; At the same time that they’re discussing the contribution, they’re also discussing legislation that will help the horse racing industry and they’re worried about how it will look if the contribution is too close to the bill signing.</p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>You could say he could sign the bill right after the first of the year. I think you just say that. He’s gonna sign all his bills, he's signing all, he's doing all his bills right...</em></p><p>MONK: <em>No. Look, I wanna go to him without crossing the line and say, give us the fuckin' money.</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>Right.</em></p><p>MONK: <em>(UI), give us the money and one has nothing to do with the other...</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>Right.</em></p><p>MONK: <em>...but give us the fuckin' money. Because they're losin', they're losing 9,000 a day.</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>Okay.</em></p><p>MONK: <em>For every day it's not signed.</em></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483523-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Count 14.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><strong><a name="Count15"></a>Count 15 – Conspiracy to Solicit a Bribe – Racetrack Bill –</strong> Blagojevich engaged with others to try to get a bribe in the form of campaign contributions from John Johnston, the horse race track owner.&nbsp; Prosecutors have given jurors several “overt acts” they say Blagojevich committed in furtherance of the scheme. They only have to find he committed one act to convict. Prosecutors say he brainstormed “the ask” on a recorded call.&nbsp; That could be the act on which jurors convict.&nbsp; Or, they could focus on a conversation in which Blagojevich has been told the demand was made, another action Blagojevich took as he allegedly sought a bribe.</p><p><strong><a name="Count16"></a>Count 16 – Attempted Extortion – Tollway Plan –</strong> The charge is that Blagojevich tried to pressure Gerald Krozel, a road builder, into raising $500,000 for the governor’s campaign fund.&nbsp; Prosecutors have given jurors a large choice of things Blagojevich did to get the contribution.&nbsp; He invited Krozel to a meeting.&nbsp; He directed one of his advisors to put pressure on Krozel to make the contribution, and he repeatedly asked his subordinates to stay on Krozel.&nbsp; Krozel testified that he felt pressure to contribute and that the governor was making the tollway plan contingent on contributions from the road building industry.&nbsp; But Krozel also testified that at the end of a meeting where he was pressured to give a contribution he asked the governor to go to lunch to meet his new bosses.&nbsp; Two aides to Blagojevich, both of whom are cooperating with the government in return for leniency, say the governor said “If they (the road builders) don’t perform (cough up campaign contributions) Fuck em (don’t sign the big tollway plan.)”</p><p><strong><a name="Count17"></a>Count 17 – Solicitation of a Bribe – Tollway Plan –</strong> It’s the same evidence as Count 16, but jurors have to answer a couple different questions to find he broke this law.&nbsp; Here the jury has to find that Blagojevich tried to get something of value “with the intent to be influenced or rewarded in connection with some business, transaction or series of transactions of the State of Illinois.”</p><p><strong><a name="Count18"></a>Count 18 – Extortion Conspiracy – The Senate seat -</strong> Jurors have to decide if Blagojevich knowingly joined a conspiracy to get something for himself in exchange for the Senate seat.&nbsp; Jurors heard calls in which Blagojevich plots with John Harris.&nbsp; Blagojevich also instructed his brother to meet with someone who was offering 1.5 million in campaign.&nbsp; The kicker, or rather, one of many kickers:</p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>She now knows that she can be a U.S. senator if I get, uh, Health and Human Services.</em></p><p>YANG: <em>Right.</em></p><p>BLAGOJEVICH: <em>Um, so how bad does she want to be a senator and, uh, and they, you know, I,I indicated to Balanoff that if I'm cornered and I have no other option, maybe I'll just send me to Washington.</em></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483523-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Count 18 kicker.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><strong><a name="Count19"></a>Count 19 – Attempted Extortion – The Senate Seat -</strong> He used his ability to appoint a U.S. senator to try to get money or property he wasn’t entitled to.&nbsp; This relates to the senate seat, and jurors get to choose what scheme they think he committed.&nbsp; Did he try to get a job in Obama’s cabinet in exchange for appointing Jarrett to the senate?&nbsp; Guilty.&nbsp; Did he try to get campaign contributions?&nbsp; Guilty.&nbsp; Did he try to get Obama to fund a non-profit that would pay him a big salary?&nbsp; Guilty.&nbsp;</p><p><strong><a name="Count20"></a>Count 20 – Conspiracy to Solicit a Bribe – Senate Seat –</strong> Jurors have to find that Blagojevich knowingly joined a group effort to get a bribe in exchange for the senate seat and find that he committed one act to further that conspiracy, an act like arranging a meeting or directing a subordinate to engage in discussions.</p><p>So what counts, if any, will he be convicted on?&nbsp; Given the evidence and the nature of the counts, my guess is that at a minimum the jury will agree to convict on counts, 5, 6, 7, 8, 18,19 and 20.&nbsp;</p><p>There are many more they could reasonably convict on - and several that they could reasonably acquit.&nbsp; However, we know that the jury could be hung on most, if not all, of the counts.</p></p> Tue, 21 Jun 2011 17:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-06-17/breaking-down-charges-against-blagojevich-88004 BGIT #19: The BBC examines Chicago's culture of corruption http://www.wbez.org/blog/best-game-town/bgit-19-bbc-examines-chicagos-culture-corruption <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/money.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago's reputation for hardball politics and public corruption is legendary.&nbsp; But who knew that reputation was global?&nbsp;</p><p>We didn't have a clear idea of it ourselves until the BBC World Service called to ask if we'd be willing to collaborate with them on a documentary examining the history and culture of political corruption in&nbsp;Chicago.&nbsp;</p><p><img height="318" width="420" title="" alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-January/2011-01-05/BBCWS tile red RGB.JPG" /></p><p>Producer Michael Gallagher explained the doc was for a new BBC News series on extremes called 'Extreme World' and that when it came to corruption, well, Chicago was certainly extreme.&nbsp;</p><p>That's right:&nbsp; of all the cities on the planet, they chose Chicago as an example of &quot;extreme&quot; corruption.&nbsp; Nice.</p><p>Gallagher flew here and we teamed up on a quest to unearth the deeper forces that have led to the conviction of more than 1500 Illinoisians on corruption-related charges since 1970.&nbsp; The key questions animating our work were &quot;How did this political culture arise?&quot; and &quot;Why does it endure?&quot;.</p><p>The result is the 23 minute documentary <em>Oiling the Machine</em>.&nbsp; It first aired globally in December 2010 on the BBC World Service.&nbsp;&nbsp; We present it here as part of a special edition of the <em>Best Game in Town</em>.&nbsp; We hope you find the results as fascinating as we did.</p><p><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1328067724-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/110107 BGIT_web.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/worldagenda/2010/12/101206_worldagenda_oiling_the_machine.shtml">Click here</a> to read producer Michael Gallagher's behind-the-scenes perspective on producing the documentary.</p><p><a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-11840494">Click here</a> to read more about the BBC's Extreme World project - and to hear other reports in the series.</p></p> Fri, 07 Jan 2011 18:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/best-game-town/bgit-19-bbc-examines-chicagos-culture-corruption Special Session for Special Election? http://www.wbez.org/jkaufmann/2008/12/special-session-for-special-election/792 <p><img class="alignleft" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 7px; float: left;" src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/b/b4/Illinoiscapitoldome.jpg/250px-Illinoiscapitoldome.jpg" alt="" width="250" height="188" />Senator Dick Durbin <a onclick="urchinTracker('/outgoing/www.suntimes.com/news/metro/blagojevich/1321664_durbin-blagojevich-scandal-120908.article?referer=http://blogs.vocalo.org/wp-admin/post-new.php?posted=792');" href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/blagojevich/1321664,durbin-blagojevich-scandal-120908.article">suggested that there should be a special election</a> for the vacant IL U.S. Senator seat. But is that possible? If the Governor sticks around, could he still appoint a Senator even if under indictment? This would be a good time to consult the Illinois State Constitution. But according to Charles Wheeler, Director of University of Illinois' Public Reporting Program, the state constitution isn't the right place to look. Actually, the U.S. Constitution might have the answers: <a href="http://audio.wbez.org/cityroom/2008/12/cityroom_20081209_eweiss_1455908_Char.mp3">audio</a></p> Tue, 09 Dec 2008 16:12:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/jkaufmann/2008/12/special-session-for-special-election/792