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From Fitzgerald's statement:

In a conversation with Harris on November 11, the charges state, Blagojevich said he knew that the President-elect wanted Senate Candidate 1 for the open seat but "they're not willing to give me anything except appreciation. [Expletive] them."


Looks like Obama wouldn't pay to play.

From the Fitzgerald statement:

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 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. (itals ours)


Both Valerie Jarrett, a friend and adviser to Barack Obama, and Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq vet who runs the Illinois Veteran Affairs Department, have been mentioned as candidates for the seat.

There appears to be no allegation of wrongdoing by Senate Candidate 1.

Late update: The charges themselves say:
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.
So it's Jarrett.

Embattled Rep. Don Young (R-AK) may have improperly spent $20,000 from his campaign account last quarter on a Seattle law firm, according to recent campaign filings. It is unclear whether the fees were related to the ongoing federal probe into Young or if they were for campaign-related expenses. FEC guidelines forbid candidates from using campaign funds for non-campaign related matters. Young, who is tight-lipped about the federal probe, has been under investigation by the Justice Department for over a year -- possibly related to his notorious earmarking. (Anchorage Daily News)

Sen.-elect Mark Begich (D-AK), who beat Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) in a week-long contested race in November, said he doesn't believe it is "appropriate" to send the 85-year-old Stevens to jail. Stevens, who was convicted on corruption charges in October, asked for a new trial on Friday. (AP/Roll Call)

Attorneys general will attend conferences this month funded by corporate sponsors that may have legal issues, including drug companies and tobacco firms. The financial ties "represent at least the appearance of a conflict of interest for the attorneys general, and could be improper," reports theKansas City Star. (Kansas City Star)

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A great nugget from the Fitzgerald statement:

Later on November 5, Blagojevich said to Advisor A, "I've got this thing and it's [expletive] golden, and, uh, uh, I'm just not giving it up for [expletive] nothing. I'm not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there."

More from Fitzgerald's statement:

Throughout the intercepted conversations, Blagojevich also allegedly spent significant time weighing the option of appointing himself to the open Senate seat and expressed a variety of reasons for doing so, including: frustration at being "stuck" as governor; a belief that he will be able to obtain greater resources if he is indicted as a sitting Senator as opposed to a sitting governor; a desire to remake his image in consideration of a possible run for President in 2016; avoiding impeachment by the Illinois legislature; making corporate contacts that would be of value to him after leaving public office; facilitating his wife's employment as a lobbyist; and generating speaking fees should he decide to leave public office.

Here's a bit more from the statement, which goes some way to explaining why Blagojevich might have been reckless enough to put a Senate seat up for sale even while knowing that he was under federal investigation:

The charges focus, however, on events since October when the Government obtained information that Blagojevich and Fundraiser A, who is chairman of Friends of Blagojevich, were accelerating Blagojevich's allegedly corrupt fund-raising activities to accumulate as much money as possible this year before a new state ethics law would severely curtail Blagojevich's ability to raise money from individuals and entities that have existing contracts worth more than $50,000 with the State of Illinois. Agents learned that Blagojevich was seeking approximately $2.5 million in campaign contributions by the end of the year, principally from or through individuals or entities - many of which have received state contacts or appointments - identified on a list maintained by Friends of Blagojevich, which the FBI has obtained.

More from Pat Fitzgerald's statement on the Blagojevich charges:

A 76-page FBI affidavit alleges that Blagojevich was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps during the last month conspiring to sell or trade Illinois' U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama for financial and other personal benefits for himself and his wife. At various times, in exchange for the Senate appointment, Blagojevich discussed obtaining: - a substantial salary for himself at a either a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions; - placing his wife on paid corporate boards where he speculated she might garner as much as $150,000 a year; - promises of campaign funds - including cash up front; and - a cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself.

Just last week, on December 4, Blagojevich allegedly told an advisor that he might "get some (money) up front, maybe" from Senate Candidate 5, if he named Senate Candidate 5 to the Senate seat, to insure that Senate Candidate 5 kept a promise about raising money for Blagojevich if he ran for re-election. In a recorded conversation on October 31, Blagojevich claimed he was approached by an associate of Senate Candidate 5 as follows: "We were approached 'pay to play.' That, you know, he'd raise 500 grand. An emissary came. Then the other guy would raise a million, if I made him (Senate Candidate 5) a Senator."


Who's Senate Candidate 5? Sounds like we'll find out...

From a statement from US Attorney Pat Fitzgerald...

Blagojevich was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps during the last month conspiring to sell or trade Illinois' U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama for financial and other personal benefits for himself and his wife.


It's also alleged that Blagojevich wanted to purge Chicago Tribune editorial board and in return help them sell Wrigley Field.

After the jump is the full statement...

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Beleaguered Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was taken into custody by law enforcement authorities at his home this morning, reports the Tribune Company, sourcing a US Attorney's office spokesman. The governor's chief of staff, John Harris, was also arrested.

Hours earlier, the Chicago Tribune reported that the federal probe of pay-to-play politics in the Blagojevich administration had expanded to include the question whether the process of filling Barack Obama's US Senate seat -- for which the governor is responsible -- had become tainted.

Earlier this week, the same (also beleaguered!) paper reported that the feds had secretly taped Blagojevich as part of their investigation.

Yesterday, the governor told reporters: "I don't believe there's any cloud that hangs over me. I think there's nothing but sunshine hanging over me".

Late Update: Prosecutors have filed a criminal complaint.

That didn't take long.

Yesterday, as we noted, the Wall Street Journal reported that Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain was seeking an annual bonus of as much as $10 million -- after seeing his company lose over $11 billion this year.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid were both quick to express their outrage, noting that Bank of America, which has completed a deal to buy Merrill, received $15 billion from the bailout fund this fall. And Merrill's board appeared reluctant to go along.

And sure enough, at the company's board meeting yesterday afternoon, Thain announced that he, along with other senior execs, would forgo bonuses this year, "given current economic and market conditions."

Given the level of outrage that Thain's request had provoked so quickly, the board's apparent opposition, and the broader public mood against excessive CEO pay, Thain may have seen the writing on the wall.

And given that he got a $15 million bonus when he joined the firm last fall, we think he should be fine.

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