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The Mechanics
« Republic Windows Workers Occupy Factory! Day by Daley, Monday 08 December »

Illinois Mon Dec 08 2008

Rezko, the Illinois Governor and Obama's Senate Replacement

from editor Mark Karlin:

by Mark Karlin

Since the presidential campaign was decided on November 4, the name Tony Rezko has largely vanished from the national news. That is because, as BuzzFlash repeatedly reported from our perch in the Windy City, the Rezko case (overseen by Patrick Fitzgerald) is not about Barack Obama, but rather the Feds in hot pursuit of the allegedly "pay to play" Democratic Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich.

On December 5th, the Chicago Tribune announced that the Feds had taped Blagojevich recently as he spoke about the Rezko investigation with his former Congressional Chief of Staff, John Wyma (now a lobbyist with big connections; i.e, Blagojevich). Wyma, according to the Tribune (and likely leaked by the Feds as an effort to break loose information from Rezko and other "witnesses") was, as they say, "wired." On December 6th, the Chicago Sun-Times ran a story in which Wyma's attorney appeared to refute the Tribune story, but left enough "parsing of words maneuvering room" to leave one wondering if he was just technically taking issue with the Tribune leak.

In any case, the Tribune steamrolled ahead on Saturday with its potentially explosive break in the Fitzgerald effort to nail Blagojevich (and his wife, we might add, in regards to her real estate practice and state business). It noted that whoever is appointed by Blagojevich to replace Obama in the Senate might be tainted by having to cozy up to "Blago," and then immediately distance him/herself from the toxic governor.

After all Blagojevich has an approval rating lower than the temperature in Chicago right now -- and it is freezing! In addition, the Feds are circling the wagons with stories like this one breaking: "FBI searches stores owned by Blagojevich fundraiser."

After months and months of the U.S. Attorney's office investigation and indictments, Fitzgerald seems to be signaling that it's time to reel in the big fish, "Blago" himself. And he is letting those who have been hesitant to offer information that could help indict Blagojevich know that they better come in with their lawyers and cut a deal now because the train is about to pull out of the station.

As BuzzFlash has said for months, the Republican (and earlier Hillary Clinton campaign) efforts to tarnish Obama with Rezko were groundless. Obama never gave anything of the public purse in return for Rezko's fundraising; Blagojevich, it would seem, did. But that is for a court to decide, when the anticipated indictments come down.

"Blago" is making the pick of an individual to replace Obama a big guessing game and being his usual rock headed inscrutable self. But, as the Tribune points, out, whoever is picked better shake the Governor's hand and run like Hell. No one running for office in two years (as Obama's replacement will need to do) wants to be caught anywhere near the Illinois Governor right now. And Dick Durbin has cautioned the Governor about appointing a "caretaker" who won't run in two years. That could hurt the Democratic chances of holding the seat in 2010, even if Illinois is pretty much a blue state.

But "Blago" better make his decision soon. It would be kind of unseemly to make the Obama replacement announcement just before our "Rod" gets arraigned.

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wrench / December 9, 2008 9:09 AM

"As BuzzFlash has said for months, the Republican (and earlier Hillary Clinton campaign) efforts to tarnish Obama with Rezko were groundless."

Hardly groundless as this article proves:

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