Blagojevich Cabinet Dreams Become Obama's First Political ScandalS

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich kind of threw a bit of a monkey wrench into Barack Obama's pre-inauguration honeymoon today by getting arrested by the FBI for allegedly trying to sell Obama's vacated Senate seat and demanding recompense from the Obama team in exchange for appointing their preferred candidate. US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has been investigating Blago (as the cool kids call him) since, like, forever, but nearly all the evidence in the charging document comes from post-election wiretaps. Obama's team wanted Blago to appoint Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett to the position. But Blago wasn't thrilled about their unwillingness to bribe him. But Valerie's a major player in the criminal complaint. Who'll have to testify?

ROD BLAGOJEVICH 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 "motherfucker [the President-elect] his senator. Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him." ROD BLAGOJEVICH states that he will put "[Senate Candidate 4]" in the Senate "before just give fucking [Senate Candidate 1] a fucking Senate seat and I don't get anything." (Senate Candidate 4 is a Deputy Governor of the State of Illinois).

Later in the conversation, ROD BLAGOJEVICH said he knows that the President-elect wants Senate Candidate 1 for the Senate seat but "they're not willing to give me anything except appreciation. Fuck them."

Candidate 1 is Valerie. She removed herself from consideration shortly after this little talk. As you can see, she was not really playing ball with Rod. That didn't stop him from going to SEIU, a major union, in order to ask for a well-compensated nonprofit job for himself in exchange for appointing Jarrett, who will then presumably do things to aid SEIU. The union official sort of led Rod on:

On November 12, Blagojevich spoke with SEIU Official who was in Washington. This conversation occurred about a week after Blagojevich had met with SEIU Official to discuss the 9 Senate seat, with the understanding that the union official was an emissary to discuss Senate Candidate 1's interest in the Senate seat. During the November 12 conversation, Blagojevich allegedly explained the non-profit organization idea to SEIU Official and said that it could help Senate Candidate 1. The union official agreed to "put that flag up and see where it goes," although the official also had said he wasn't certain if Senate Candidate 1 wanted the official to keep pushing her candidacy. Senate Candidate 1 eventually removed herself from consideration for the open seat.

Now Obama's team knew all along that Blagojevich was under federal investigation, and so therefore they were wary of actually giving him anything. They couldn't know the arrest would come before inauguration, but everyone knew it had to come eventually (unless Obama fired Patrick Fitzgerald as soon as he took office, which would've been a public relations nightmare). So while Rod still controlled (and still does control!) who gets the seat, there was a limit to what Obama's team would do to get their person appointed.

Meanwhile! The Washington Times has an exclusive about how a guy who used to work at a bank that overvalued property owned by Tony Rezko and sold to Barack Obama has filed a criminal complaint against the bank! We can't figure out what this has to do with anything so someone should probably try to explain it to us simply.

So we have an unnamed advisor in DC who is maybe connected to SEIU's "Change to Win," or maybe the Obama campaign, and Valerie. Otherwise it's kinda hard to find specific Obama team members who'll be called for questioning.