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Scandal casts cloud over Obama presidency
Question of the Day
SEIU spokeswoman Ramona Oliver released a brief statement saying the union would not share information with the press but, “We have no reason to believe that SEIU or any SEIU official was involved in any wrongdoing.”
Change to Win spokesman Greg Denier was more emphatic.
“No one connected with Change to Win ever considered, discussed or promised any position at Change to Win to Governor Blagojevich, his staff or his advisers,” he said, adding that the affidavit shows the group was being talked about but is not mentioned as participating in the scandal.
“The first time Change to Win learned of any of the matters raised in the criminal complaint was with today’s public release of the affidavit,” he said.
Mr. Fitzgerald told reporters, “The complaint makes no allegations about the president-elect whatsoever,” and said the “scheme” Mr. Blagojevich envisioned “did not come to fruition.”
Also mentioned in the affidavit is “Senate Candidate 5,” a man who has done fundraising for the governor. On Dec. 4, the governor said he was giving the candidate “greater consideration” because the candidate would raise money for him and later said the candidate might give him something “tangible up front.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan said Mr. Obama’s comments were “insufficient at best” because the Democrat has supported and advised his home-state governor.
The RNC also sent out a release detailing Mr. Obama’s thin relationship with the governor - they each endorsed the other, but traveled in different Democratic circles. Mr. Blagojevich did not advise Mr. Obama during the campaign and they were not friends.
Federal prosecutors were investigating the governor for months, a probe that increased following the conviction of Rezko in June on corruption charges.
The spring trial for Rezko, who fundraised for both Mr. Blagojevich and Mr. Obama, revealed that the governor talked about giving a contributor a job in exchange for donations.
Chicago’s political scandals date back more than a century, when leaders of the City Council took bribes.
Rep. Danny K. Davis was once considered a contender for the Obama seat but Tuesday took himself out of the running, telling ABC News that he did not want a “tainted” appointment.
He said in a statement that it is tough to quantify the harm done to the public trust in government.
“In a state still rocked by the convictions of Governors George Ryan, Dan Walker and Otto Kerner, this document suggests wrongdoing on a scale never before seen,” he said of the affidavit.
Mr. Rush said Tuesday that he would fight to block a special election. He said the process would take too long and would leave minority candidates at a disadvantage in the race to replace the Senate’s only black member.
About the Author
Christina Bellantoni is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times in Washington, D.C., a post she took after covering the 2008 Democratic presidential campaigns. She has been with The Times since 2003, covering state and Congressional politics before moving to national political beat for the 2008 campaign. Bellantoni, a San Jose native, graduated from UC Berkeley with ...
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