Today CBS News reported that "[Rahm] Emanuel discussed the vacancy with Blagojevich himself..." and "FBI transcripts captured Emanuel discussing a list of acceptable candidates." Obama "has used careful language when discussing" the vacancy. CBS concluded that "It's pretty clear there was some contact... and a risk of becoming a political wound."
The following is my (slightly modified) version of the key portions of the complaint. I've substituted real names for opaque references like "Senate Candidate 1", where possible, that were determined using open-source references. From my careful reading of the document, I've come to a likely possible reason that Obama adviser Rahm Emanuel has gone to ground. I believe that he and Blago discussed, in very specific terms, the merits of employing Blago in 501(c)(4) -- non-profit Leftist front groups like Americans Coming Together -- in exchange for Blago naming a candidate on Obama's desired list of Senate candidates.
There may, in fact, be nothing technically illegal about that sort of negotiation, but it stinks to high heaven. Furthermore, it refutes Obama's claims that he would engage in a new, transparent type of politics. There's been nothing transparent about Obama and his associates in this affair. In fact, Swamp Politics put it bluntly:
The Saturday before the Nov. 4 election... Emanuel made a call to the cell phone of [Blago Chief of Staff] Harris. The conversation took place around the same time press reports surfaced about Emanuel being approached about taking the high-level White House post should Obama win. Emanuel delivered a list of candidates who would be “acceptable” to Obama, the source said. On the list were Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, Illinois Veterans Affairs director Tammy Duckworth, state Comptroller Dan Hynes and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Chicago, the source said. All are Democrats... Sometime after the election, Emanuel called Harris back to add the name of Democratic Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan to the approved list, the source said.
AJ Strata calls it a flat-out lie by Obama. Remember that the President-Elect said:
I had no contact with the governor’s office. I did not speak to the governor about these issues. That I know for certain.
Emanuel represented Obama and definitely had personal contact with Blago. The FBI apparently has them on tape. What follows is the complaint, as best as I've been able to construct it, in a more readable form.
The FBI Summary
Blago has been intercepted conspiring to trade the Senate seat for particular positions that the President-elect has the power to appoint (e.g. the Secretary of Health and Human Services). Blago has also been intercepted conspiring to sell the Senate seat in exchange for his wife’s placement on paid corporate boards or Blago’s placement at a private foundation in a significant position with a substantial salary. Blago has also been intercepted conspiring to sell the Senate seat in exchange for millions of dollars in funding for a non-profit organization that he would start and that would employ him at a substantial salary after he left the governorship.
Blago believes he can get a federal position for the seat
On November 3, 2008, Blago talked with Deputy Governor Greenlee and told him that if he is not going to get anything of value for the open Senate seat, then Blago will take the Senate seat himself: “if . . . they’re not going to offer anything of any value, then I might just take it.”
Later on November 3, 2008, Blago spoke with Advisor A. By this time, media reports indicated that Valerie Jarrett, an advisor to the President-elect, was interested in the Senate seat if it became vacant, and was likely to be supported by the President-elect. During the call, Blago stated, “unless I get something real good for [Valerie Jarrett], s***, I’ll just send myself, you know what I’m saying... I’m going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain. You hear what I’m saying? And if I don’t get what I want and I’m not satisfied with it, then I’ll just take the Senate seat myself... [it's] a f***ing valuable thing, you just don’t give it away for nothing.”
On election day, November 4, 2008, Blago spoke with Deputy Governor Greenlee. With respect to the Senate seat, Dep. Gov. Greenlee suggested putting together a list of things that Blago would accept in exchange for the Senate seat. Blago responded that the list “can’t be in writing.” Thereafter, Blago discussed whether he could obtain an ambassadorship in exchange for the Senate seat.
On November 4, 2008, Blago spoke with Harris regarding the potential vacant Senate seat. Blago stated that the “trick... is how do you conduct indirectly... a negotiation” for the Senate seat. Thereafter, Blago
analogized his situation to that of a sports agent shopping a potential free agent to various teams, stating “how much are you offering, [Obama]? What are you offering, [Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan]? ...Can always go to... [U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky].”
Later Blago stated that he will make a decision on the Senate seat “in good faith . . . but it is not coming for free. . . .It’s got to be good stuff for the people of Illinois and good for me.” Blago states “[Obama], you want it? Fine. But, its got to be good or I could always take [the Senate seat].”
On November 5, 2008, Blago spoke with Deputy Governor Greenlee regarding positions that Blago might be able to obtain in exchange for the soon-to-be vacated Senate seat. Among the potential positions discussed were Secretary of Health and Human Services and various ambassadorships. Greenlee noted that the cabinet position of Secretary of the Energy is “the one that makes the most money.” Greenlee stated that it is hard not to give the Secretary of Energy position to a Texan, but with Blago’s coal background it might be a possibility.
Blago wonders about whether he can trade a position with a private group for the position
On November 5, 2008, Blago spoke with Harris regarding what Blago could obtain for the Senate seat. After discussing various federal governmental positions that Blago would trade the Senate seat for, Blago asked about “the private sector” and whether Obama could “put something together there. . . .Something big.” Thereafter, Harris suggested that Obama could make Blago the head of a private foundation. Blago told Harris that he should do “homework” on private foundations “right away.” Blago asked whether he could get a high-ranking position at the Red Cross. Harris stated that “it’s got to be a group that is dependent on Obama" and that a President probably could not influence the Red Cross. Blago told Harris to “look into all of those.”
On November 5, 2008, Blago talked with Harris and Bob Greenlee. They discussed potential private foundations with which Blago might be able to get a position in exchange for filling the Senate seat and, in particular, those foundations that are “heavily dependent on federal aid” and which, therefore, the White House would have the most “influence” on. Blago wanted to know how much the positions being discussed pay.
On November 5, 2008, Blago talked with Advisor A about the Senate seat. During the phone call, Blago stated that Obama can remove somebody from a foundation and give the spot to Blago. In regards to the Senate seat, Blago stated “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, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there.”
Blago tries to put pressure on Obama through the MSM
On November 6, 2008, Blago talked with Spokesman. Blago told Spokesman to leak to a particular columnist [Michael Sneed] for the Chicago Sun-Times, that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is in the running for the vacant Senate seat. According to Blago, by doing this, he wanted “to send a message to Obama's people,” but did not want it known that the message was from Blago. Thereafter, Blago and Spokesman discussed specific language that should be used in the Sun Times column and arguments as to why Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan made sense for the vacant Senate seat. A review of this particular Sun Times column on November 7, 2008, indicates references to the specific language and arguments regarding Madigan as a potential candidate for the Senate seat, as discussed by Blago and Spokesman.
On November 7, 2008, Blago talked with Advisor A about the Senate seat. Blago stated that he is willing to “trade” the Senate seat to Valerie Jarrett in exchange for the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services in the President-elect’s cabinet.
Later on November 7, 2008, Blago discussed the open Senate seat in a three-way call with Harris and Advisor B, a Washington D.C.-based consultant. Blago indicated in the call that if he was appointed as Secretary
of Health and Human Services by Obama, then Blago would appoint Valerie Jarrett to the open Senate seat. Harris stated “we wanted our ask to be reasonable and rather than. . .make it look like some sort of selfish grab for a quid pro quo.” Blago stated that he needs to consider his family and that he is “financially” hurting. Harris said that they are considering what will help the “financial security” of the Blagojevich family and what will keep Blago “politically viable.” Blago stated, “I want to make money.” During the call, Blago, Harris, and Advisor B discussed the prospect of working a three-way deal for the open Senate seat.
Harris noted that Blago is interested in taking a high-paying position with an organization called “Change to Win,” which is connected to Service Employees International Union (“SEIU”). Harris suggested that
an SEIU Official make Blago the head of Change to Win and, in exchange, Obama could help Change to Win with its legislative agenda on a national level. Change to Win is an organization affiliated with seven unions, including SEIU, and appears to be focused on having the affiliated unions work together on matters of common interest. SEIU Official is affiliated with SEIU.
Advisor B asked why SEIU Official cannot just give the job to Blago. Harris responded that it would be just a big “give away” for SEIU Official and Change to Win since there are already individuals on the Change to Win payroll doing the functions of the position that would be created for Blago. Harris said that Change to Win will want to trade the job for Blago for something from Obama. Harris suggested a “three-way deal,” and explained that a three-way deal like the one discussed would give Obama a “buffer so there is no obvious quid pro quo for [Valerie Jarrett].” Blago stated that for him to give up the governorship for the Change to Win position, the Change to Win position must pay a lot more than he is getting paid right now.
Advisor B said that he liked the idea of the three-way deal. Blago stated that he is interested in making $250,000 to $300,000 and being on some organization boards. Advisor B said they should leverage Obama's desire to have Valerie Jarrett appointed to the Senate seat in order to get a head position with Change to Win and a salary. Advisor B agreed that the three-way deal would be a better plan than Blago appointing Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to the Senate seat and getting more done as Governor.
Blago's wife: a money-making proxy for the trade?
On November 8, 2008, Blago talked with Harris about the Senate seat. During the conversation, Blago and Harris discussed whether it would be possible to obtain a financial benefit for Blago’s wife in relation to the Senate seat. Specifically, Blago referred to his wife’s Series 7 [broker's] license and asked “is there a play here, with these guys, with her” to work for a firm in Washington or New York at a significantly better salary than she is making now. Also, Blago wanted to know whether SEIU could do something to get his wife a position at Change to Win until Blago could take a position at Change to Win.
On November 10, 2008, Blago, his wife, Harris, Governor's General Counsel William Quinlan Jr., and various Washington-D.C. based advisors, including Advisor B, discussed the open Senate seat during a conference call. (The Washington D.C.-based advisors to Blago are believed to have participated on this call from DC). Various individuals participated at different times during the call. The call lasted for approximately two hours, and what follows are simply summaries of various portions of the two-hour call.
* Blago expressed his interest in figuring out a way to make money and build some financial security, while at the same time potentially participating in the political arena again. Blago mentioned the Senate seat,
the dynamics of a new Presidential administration with the strong contacts that Blago has in it, and asked what if anything he can do to make that work for him and his wife and his responsibilities as Governor of Illinois. Blago suggested during the call that he could name himself to the open Senate seat to avoid impeachment by the State of Illinois legislature. Blago agreed it was unlikely that Obama would name him Secretary of Health and Human Services or give him an ambassadorship because of all of the negative publicity surrounding Blago.
* Blago asked what he can get from [Obama] for the Senate seat. Blago stated that the Governor's General Counsel believes the President-elect can get Blago’s wife on paid corporate boards in exchange for naming the President-elect’s pick to the Senate. Governor's Counsel William Quinlan Jr. asked, “can [the President-elect] help in the private sector. . . where it wouldn’t be tied to him? . . .I mean, so it wouldn’t necessarily look like one for the other.” Blago’s wife suggested during the call that she is qualified to sit on corporate boards and has a background in real estate and appraisals. Blago asked whether there is something that could be done with his wife’s “series 7" license in terms of working out a deal for the Senate seat. Blago stated that he is “struggling” financially and does “not want to be Governor for the next two years.”
* Blago said that the consultants (Advisor B and another consultant are believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to “suck it up” for two years and do nothing and give this “motherf***er [Obama] his Senator. "F*** him. For nothing? F*** him.” Blago states that he will put [Deputy Governor Louanner Peters] in the Senate “before I just give f***ing [Valerie Jarrett] a f***ing Senate seat and I don’t get anything.” Blago stated that he needs to find a way to take the “financial stress” off of his family and that his wife is as qualified or more qualified than another specifically named individual to sit on corporate boards. According to Blago “the immediate challenge [is] how do we take some of the financial pressure off of our family.” Later in the phone call, Blago stated that absent getting something back, Blago will not pick Valerie Jarrett. Harris
re-stated Blago’s thoughts that they should ask the President-elect for something for Blago’s financial security as well as maintain his political viability. Harris said they could work out a three-way deal with SEIU and Obama where SEIU could help the President-elect with Blago’s appointment of Valerie Jarrett to the vacant Senate seat, Blago would obtain a position as the National Director of the Change to Win campaign, and SEIU would get something favorable from the President-elect in the future.
* One of Blago’s advisors said he likes the idea, it sounds like a good idea, but advised Blago to be leery of promises for something two years from now. Blago’s wife said they would take the job now. Thereafter, Blago and others on the phone call discussed various ways Blago can “monetize” the relationships he is making as Governor to make money after Blago is no longer Governor.
Later on November 10, 2008, Blago and Advisor A discussed the open Senate seat. Among other things, Blago raised the issue of whether the President-elect could help get Blago’s wife on “paid corporate boards right now.” Advisor A responded that he “think[s] they could” and that a “President-elect . . . can do almost anything he sets his mind to.” Blago states that he will appoint “[Valerie Jarrett] . . . but if they feel like they can do this and not f***ing give me anything . . . then I’ll f***ing go [Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.].” (Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. is publicly reported to be interested in the open Senate seat). Blago stated that if his wife could get on some corporate boards and “picks up another 150 grand a year or whatever” it would help Blago get through the next several years as Governor.
Later on November 10, 2008, Blago and Advisor A again discussed the open Senate seat. Blago and Advisor A discussed leaking to the same particular Chicago Sun-Times columnist that Blago is seriously considering Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. for the open Senate seat, in order to send a message to the President-elect that there are options for the Senate seat beyond Valerie Jarrett. At the end of the conversation Advisor A agreed to call the Sun Times columnist to leak the story (believed, based on other intercepted conversations, to be untrue), that Blago had a “long, productive discussion” with Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. regarding the open Senate seat.
The non-profit front group approach
On November 11, 2008, Blago talked with Harris about the Senate seat. Blago suggested starting a 501(c)(4) organization (a non-profit organization that may engage in political activity and lobbying) and getting “his
(believed to be the President-elect’s) friend Warren Buffett or some of those guys to help us on something like that.” Harris asked, “what, for you?” Blago replied, “yeah.” Later in the conversation, Blago stated that if he appoints Deputy Governor Louanner Peters to the Senate seat and, thereafter, it appears that Blago might get impeached, he could “count on [Deputy Governor Louanner Peters], if things got hot, to give [the Senate seat] up and let me parachute over there.” Harris said, “you can count on Peters to do that.” Later in the conversation, Blago said he knows that Obama wants Valerie Jarrett for the Senate seat but “they’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation. F*** them.”
Later on November 11, 2008, Blago talked with Advisor A. Advisor A indicated that he will stay “on top” of getting the Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. information leaked to the particular Sun Times columnist. Blago again raised the idea of the 501(c)(4) organization and asked whether “they” (believed be Obama and his associates) can get Warren Buffett and others to put $10, $12, or $15 million into the organization. Advisor A responded that “they” should be able to find a way to fund the organization. Later in the conversation, Blago returned to the issue of the 501(c)(4) organization and noted that he is looking for “$10, $15, $20 million in an organization like that.” Blago said that when he is “no longer Governor” he could go over to the organization. Blago said that “(Rep. Luis Gutierrez, based on other intercepted conversations, is believed to be a wealthy person from Illinois) “could raise me money like that for a Senate seat.” Blago asked, “if I get [Rep. Luis Gutierrez] to do something like that, is it worth giving him the Senate seat?” Advisor A responded that it would be hard to put Gutierrez in the Senate seat. Blago said that it would be better than putting Valerie Jarrett in the Senate and not getting anything back. Later in the conversation, Blago and Advisor A again discussed the possibility of a 501(c)(4) organization, and Blago again noted that “[Rep. Luis Gutierrez]” could “do it.” Blago and Advisor A discussed who might be close to Gutierrez to talk with him about the issue, because Blago did not “want to be the one to ask something like that.” Advisor A agreed to find out who is close to Rep. Luis Gutierrez.
On November 12, 2008, Blago talked with Harris. Blago noted that CNN is reporting that Valerie Jarrett does not want the open Senate seat. Harris said he thought that is just a tactic. Blago raised the issue of the 501(c)(4) organization and that contributors and others can put “10 to 15 million in it so I can advocate health care and other issues I care about and help them, while I stay as Governor, she’s (believed to be Valerie Jarrett) a Senator.” Blago noted that Obama can ask Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and others for money for the organization. Blago states he will ask “[Gutierrez]” to help fund it as well. Harris said that funding the 501(c)(4) would be a lot easier for the President-elect than appointing Blago to a position. Blago said, “They could say ‘hey, we get [Valerie Jarrett]. Let’s help this guy have a 501(c)(4) issue advocacy organization. Let’s fund it to the level that he’s asked for and then we’ll get [Valerie Jarrett].’” Blago said that he will control the 501(c)(4) organization through a board of directors while he is Governor, and then a position in the 501(c)(4) would be waiting for him when he was no longer Governor.
On November 12, 2008, Blago talked with Advisor B. Blago discussed with Advisor B his idea for a 501(c)(4) organization. Advisor B stated that he likes the idea, but liked the Change to Win option better because, according to Advisor B, from the President-elect’s perspective, there would be fewer “fingerprints” on Obama’s involvement with Change to Win because Change to Win already has an existing stream of revenue and, therefore, “you won’t have stories in four years that they bought you off.” Blago said that he likes the 501(c)(4) idea because he knows it will be there in two years when he is no longer Governor, whereas Change to Win might not be.
DC advisers believe that 'Change to Win' idea would be favored by Obama
On November 12, 2008, Blago talked with one of his Washington D.C.-based advisors. Blago explained the 501(c)(4) organization idea to the advisor, and that “Obama gets these Warren Buffett types to [fund it].” The advisor asked Blago if the 501(c)(4) is a real effort or just a vehicle to help Blago. Blago stated that it is a real effort but also a place for Blago to go when he is no longer Governor. The advisor said he likes the Change to Win idea better, and notes that it is more likely to happen because it is one step removed from Obama.
SEIU official acts as a deal broker between the Obama administration and Blago
On November 12, 2008, Blago spoke with SEIU Official, who was in Washington, D.C. Prior intercepted phone conversations indicate that approximately a week before this call, Blago met with SEIU Official to discuss the vacant Senate seat, and Blago understood that SEIU Official was an emissary to discuss Valerie Jarrett’s interest in the Senate seat. During the conversation with SEIU Official on November 12, 2008, Blago informed SEIU Official that he had heard that Obama wanted persons other than Valerie Jarrett to be considered for the Senate seat. SEIU Official stated that he would find out if Valerie Jarrett wanted the official to keep pushing her for Senator with Blago. Blago said that “one thing I’d be interested in” is a 501(c)(4) organization. Blago explained the 501(c)(4) idea to SEIU Official and said that the 501(c)(4) could help “our new Senator [Valerie Jarrett].” SEIU Official agreed to “put that flag up and see where it goes.”
On November 12, 2008, Blago talked with Advisor B. Blago told Advisor B that he told SEIU Official, “I said go back to Jarrett, and, and say hey, look, if you still want to be a Senator don’t rule this out and then broach the idea of this 501(c)(4) with her.”
Later on November 12, 2008, Blago talked with John Harris. Blago stated that his decision about the open Senate seat will be based on three criteria in the following order of importance: “our legal situation, our personal situation, my political situation. This decision, like every other one, needs to be based upon on that. Legal. Personal. Political.” Harris said, “legal is the hardest one to satisfy.” Blago said that his legal problems could be solved by naming himself to the Senate seat.
Blago signals intent to discuss 501(c)(4) with Emanuel
On November 13, 2008, Blago talked with Harris. Blago said he wanted to be able to call Rahm Emanuel and tell him that “this has nothing to do with anything else we’re working on but the Governor wants to put together a 501(c)(4)” and “can you guys help him. . . raise 10, 15 million.” Blago said he wanted “Rahm Emanuel to get the word today,” and that when “he asks me for the Fifth CD [Congressional District, which is open by dint of Emanuel vacating the seat] thing I want it to be in his head.”
Also on November 13, 2008, Blago talked with Advisor A. Blago said he wants the idea of the 501(c)(4) in Rahm Emanuel's head, but not in connection with the Senate appointment or the congressional seat. Advisor
A asked whether the conversation about the 501(c)(4) with Emanuel is connected with anything else. Blago replied that “it’s unsaid. It’s unsaid.”
Later on November 13, 2008, Blago spoke with Advisor A. Blago asked Advisor A to call Blago fundraiser/adviser John Wyma and have Wyma pitch the idea of the 501(c)(4) to “Emanuel.” Advisor A said that, “while it’s not said this is a play to put in play other things.” Blago responded, “correct.” Advisor A asked if this is “because we think there’s still some life in [Valerie Jarrett] potentially?” Blago said, “not so much her, but possibly her. But others.”
Throughout the past month, Blago has continued to engage in numerous conversations relating to filling the open Senate seat. In these conversations, he has repeatedly discussed the attributes of potential candidates, including, among other things, the candidates’ ability to benefit the State of Illinois, and the personal and political [agenda of Blago].
The GapAt this juncture Byron York observes that "the complaint contains a three-week gap — a period in which prosecutors don’t discuss any conversations among the participants. Of that period, the complaint says, 'Throughout the past month, ROD BLAGOJEVICH has continued to engage in numerous conversations relating to filling the open Senate seat,' but gives no details."
Given the intent to discuss the 501(c)(4) idea with Emanuel -- and Emanuel's sudden disappearance after the FBI complaint -- I suspect that Blago and Emanuel discussed setting up or utilizing a 501(c)(4) for the financial remuneration of Blago.
Blago: Jackson associate made a 'pay to play' approach
On December 4, 2008, Blago spoke to Advisor B and informed Advisor B that he was giving Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. greater consideration for the Senate seat because, among other reasons, if Blago ran for re-election
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. would “raise money” for Blago, although Blago said he might “get some (money) up front, maybe” from Jackson to insure that he kept his promise about raising money for Blago (In a recorded conversation on October 31, 2008, Blago described an earlier approach by an associate of Jackson as follows: “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 made him Jackson a Senator.”
Blago said Jackson had a history of 'not keeping his word
Later on December 4, 2008, Blago spoke to Fundraiser A. Blago stated he was “elevating” Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. on the list of candidates for the open Senate seat. Blago stated he might be able to cut a deal with Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. that provided Blago with something “tangible up front.” Blago noted he was going to meet with Jackson in the next few days. Blago told "Friends of Blago" Chairman Steve Witek to reach out to Individual D, an individual who Blago is attempting to obtain campaign contributions from and who, based on intercepted phone calls, Blago believes to be close to Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.. Blago told "Friends of Blago" Chairman Steve Witek to tell Individual D that Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. was very much a realistic candidate for the open Senate seat, but that Blago was getting “a lot of pressure” not to appoint Jackson. Blago told Witek to tell Individual D that Blago had a problem with Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. just promising to help Blago because Blago had a prior bad experience with Jackson not keeping his word.
Blago told "Friends of Blago" Chairman Steve Witek to tell Individual D that if Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. is going to be chosen to fill the Senate seat “some of this stuff's gotta start happening now . . .right now. . . and we gotta see it. You understand?” Blago told Witek that “you gotta be careful how you express that and assume everybody’s listening, the whole world is listening. You hear me?” Blago told Witek to tell Individual D if there is “tangible political support (campaign contributions) like you’ve said, start showing us now.” Witek stated he would call Individual D on the phone to communicate Blago’s message. Blago responded that “I would do it in person. I would not do it on the phone.” Blago told Witek to communicate the “urgency” of the situation to Individual D.
Unwinding the Jackson deal
On December 5, 2008, Blago spoke to Witek. On the morning of December 5, 2008, the Chicago Tribune ran a front page news story stating that Blago had recently been surreptitiously recorded in relation to an ongoing criminal investigation. During the conversation on December 5, 2008, Blago and Witek discussed certain information contained in the newspaper story. Blago instructed Witek to “undo your [Individual D] thing.” Witek confirmed that it would be undone.
Blago tries to save the money in the campaign fund
Also on December 5, 2008, after publication of the Tribune article described above, Blago and three others discussed whether to move money out of the Friends of Blagojevich campaign fund to avoid having the money frozen and also considered the possibility of prepaying the money to Blago’s criminal defense attorney with an understanding that the attorney would donate the money back at a later time if it was not needed. They also discussed opening a new fund raising account named Citizens for Blagojevich with new contributions received.
Even after discovery he's been taped, Blago still believes he could run for President in 2016
In addition, in the course of the conversations over the last month, Blago spent significant time weighing the option of appointing himself to the open Senate seat, and has expressed a variety of reasons for doing so, including frustration at being “stuck” as governor, a belief that he will be able to obtain greater resources if he is indicted as a sitting Senator as opposed to a sitting governor, and a desire to remake his image in consideration of a possible run for President in 2016, avoid impeachment by the Illinois legislature, make corporate contacts that would be of value to him after leaving public office, facilitate his wife’s employment as a lobbyist, and assist in generating speaking fees should he decide to leave public office.
Key takeaway: Emanuel, the Obama campaign and horse-tradingJust to recap, Byron York observes that "the complaint contains a three-week gap — a period in which prosecutors don’t discuss any conversations among the participants. Of that period, the complaint says, 'Throughout the past month, ROD BLAGOJEVICH has continued to engage in numerous conversations relating to filling the open Senate seat,' but gives no details."
Given the intent to discuss the 501(c)(4) idea with Emanuel -- and Emanuel's sudden disappearance after the FBI complaint -- I suspect that Blago and Emanuel discussed setting up or utilizing a 501(c)(4) for the financial remuneration of Blago.
I'll put 2-to-1 odds that Emanuel and Blago discussed the merits of employing Blago in various Union front groups -- whether the Soros-funded Americans Coming Together or a brand new 501(c)(4)... as a trade for a brand, spanking new Senate seat.
Hope. Change. And the same ol' same ol' from a bunch of corrupt Chicago pols.
Update: Protestors call for Jesse Jackson, Jr. to resign!