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Tuesday, March 28

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Illinois Mon Dec 15 2008

Impeachment Resolution

Illinois' leadership crisis continues, as Speaker of the Illinois House (and Chairman of the state Democratic Party) Michael J. Madigan has begun moving impeachment proceedings forward, beginning with this resolution:

10 RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE 11 NINETY-FIFTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that a 12 Special Investigative Committee be created for the purpose of 13 (i) investigating allegations of misfeasance, malfeasance, 14 nonfeasance, and other misconduct of Governor Rod R. 15 Blagojevich and (ii) making a recommendation as to whether 16 cause exists for impeachment

Here's an interesting bit:

19 RESOLVED, That the Special Investigative Committee is 20 empowered to adopt rules to govern the proceedings before it in 21 order to ensure due process, fundamental fairness, and a 22 thorough investigation; and that the Special Investigative

1 Committee shall have the power to administer oaths and to
2 compel the attendance and testimony of persons and the
3 production of papers, documents, and other evidence, under
4 oath, by subpoena signed by the Speaker of the House of
5 Representatives and attested by the Clerk of the House of
6 Representatives when the testimony, documents, or evidence is
7 necessary for or incident to any inquiry relevant to the
8 business or purposes of the Special Investigative Committee,
9 and to punish any person for the neglect, refusal to appear, or
10 failure to produce papers or documents or provide evidence
11 commanded by subpoena or who, upon appearance, either with or
12 without subpoena, refuses to be sworn or testify or produce
13 papers, documents, or evidence demanded of him or her; and be
14 it further

That subpoena power just may be enough to nudge the Governor to a decision to resign.

While the clear facts of this case make it clear that the Governor should at least "step aside" as the Illinois Constitution seems to allow him to do, I am a little concerned at the ability of an unelected prosecutor to grab worldwide headlines and make startling claims ("political crime spree") before a single indictment has even been handed down. Suppose Blagojevich is found not guilty?

While in this case it may be deserved, I don't know about the precedent it sets.

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