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Tuesday, July 27

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Illinois Sun Dec 21 2008

What Is This Impeachment Talk Anyway?

Since the headlines started on the 9th of December I just felt like this vid of Alan Keyes is so relevant now. Remember him? Keyes was vying to become U.S. Senator against a future president-elect back in 2004!

Are you finished laughing yet?

Yeah well I'm sure most of us didn't have much faith back then that he could clean up the state, although four years later it seems Illinois might get a little closer (notwithstanding the conviction of George Ryan and the arrest of our current governor Rod Blagojevich).

Sometimes I wonder at this point, are we upset about the corruption of this governor or do most of us want to see a good fight? It looks like we're going to see a good fight. The Governor isn't ready to let go of his office yet. He may not be ready to let go of his office even if the current charges against him are proven true.

Now to talk about the current situation. The Governor will still have to answer the complaint against him, and the investigation into alleged pay-to-play schemes continues. All the while a "Special Investigative Committee" has convened to determine cause(s) for the impeachment of the Governor.

Reading up on the proceedings from both Wednesday and Thursday there is probably a lot of fodder. You can look at what the Governor was arrested for on Tuesday and you can look at some of his transgressions as governor. On Thursday there was a focus on his attempts to expand health care (that was his pet project notwithstanding his willingness, for example, to withhold state funds for a children's hospital in exchange for a sizeable campaign donation). Basically the questioning involved the Governor's willingness to circumvent the legislative process in order to expand his health care expansion. It didn't seem to matter to him that the General Assembly never approved it.

Of course another example was his administration's unwillingness to grant any FOIA requests. It looks like the General Assembly could build a case to impeach the Governor based on his lack of respect for checks and balances or even not providing concerned citizens with necessary information regarding his administration. This could be one impeachment charge -- "abuse of power."

This could beg a question: What exactly should a possible impeachment against the Governor consist of -- criminal charges against him or his activities as Governor?

It has been stressed, likely from anyone in the know about politics, that impeachment from the initial investigation by the state House of Representatives through the actual "trial" by the state Senate is all political. It cannot be treated like a court of law, and, in fact, whatever criminal charges are filed against the Governor -- well, of course, he'll have to contest that in federal court anyway.

So it appears that there is concern from the Governor's camp that they could get a fair trial when they finally do get to court. So at this moment they seek to be sure than any evidence that has been compiled by federal authorities can't be used in these impeachment hearings.

Not to say that looking at the criminal complaint against the Governor isn't important, but I would think that should be the least concern of the members of the Illinois General Assembly. There's probably some more political aspect of the Governor's time as the chief of our state that is probably better fodder for impeachment. In talking about this governor the issue should be his mode of "governing." Aside from some of his ethical lapses, his mode of governing might be one issue that many agree has been lacking from Rod Blagojevich.

By the way, I wrote this over two days ago, but I just found about this as I publish this: a timeline of events as to how Bruce DuMont found himself having to sell the once future home for his Museum of Broadcast Communications. It's perhaps one example where the Governor has proven himself unable to govern.

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