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Blagojevich: ‘I Want to Make Money’ « The Washington Independent

Politico does the heavy lifting in digging through the 78-page federal criminal complaint (PDF) against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, and man, there’s some good stuff in there.

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was captured on tape saying that unless he received “something real good” for the appointment of a top adviser to Barack Obama to fill the president-elect’s Senate seat he would appoint himself, according to a criminal complaint.

“Unless I get something real good [for Senate candidate 1], s***, I’ll just send myself, you know what I’m saying?” Blagojevich was taped saying on November 3, the day before Election Day.

Blagojevich added that the Senate seat “is a f***ing valuable thing, you just don’t give it away for nothing.”

The complaint does not mention her name, but the description makes clear that Blagojevich is referring to Valerie Jarrett, a senior campaign adviser to Obama who has been tapped as a top White House aide.

“By this time, media reports indicated that Senate Candidate 1, 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,” the complaint states.

Blagojevich also was caught on federal wiretaps saying he was interested in the job as secretary of health and human services in an Obama administration, a well-paid position on a foundation board, or millions of dollars for a nonprofit organization that he would run after leaving office, according to a 78-page federal criminal complaint.

Blagojevich also schemed to shake down a union in exchange for appointing a senator who was favorable to the union, prosecutors allege.

As if that weren’t incriminating enough, the complaint asserts that Blagojevich stated his goals even more bluntly in the wiretapped conversations with Tony Rezko, a convicted real estate developer and longtime Obama fund-raiser.

“I want to make money,” the affidavit quotes the governor as saying.

According to Politico, U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in a statement that “the breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering,” and Blagojevich is accused of putting “a for sale sign on the naming of a U.S. senator.”

Obama canceled a schedule briefing with the FBI in Chicago, but it is unclear whether this is related to this morning’s events. According to this morning’s pool report, Obama’s meeting with former Vice President Al Gore remains on the slate.

A news conference on the arrests is expected shortly. We’ll continue to follow events as they develop.

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