No mention here of a meeting with President-elect Obama. But Rod “Show Me the Money” Blagojevich puts on a good show:
In light of yesterday’s criminal complaint, there are quite a few SNL skits begging to be written. Stunning, just stunning.
Some quotes and points of interest in this tape:
Blagojevich hopes to name the Senator by Christmas or by Jan 1, 2009 but did not want to overpromise since (at 5:26) “there could be some other circumstances and factors that develop” (guess so).
He said (at about 5:40) the process begins immediately (although it had already begun according to this October 30, 2008 article in the Chicago Tribune indicating Blago and Obama had already spoken about it).
At 5:45, Blago says Obama’s thoughts on his replacement would have “a great deal of weight.”
At 6:10, he says he is looking for a Senator that shares “the values that make us Democrats.”
Blago’s may really believe health care should be a “fundamental human right”, as he says at 6:24, but even this human right is subject to “pay to play” if the criminal complaint is to be believed. From the complaint:
During his testimony, Levine described a plan to manipulate the Planning Board to enrich himself and Friends of Blagojevich. The plan centered on an entity commonly known as Mercy Hospital (“Mercy”) that was attempting to obtain a CON [certificate of need] to build a new hospital in Illinois. Levine knew the contractor hired to help build the hospital. In approximately November 2003, on behalf of the contractor, Levine checked with Rezko to determine whether Rezko wanted Mercy to obtain its CON. Rezko informed Levine that Mercy was not going to receive its CON. According to Levine, he asked Rezko whether it would matter to Rezko if Mercy’s construction contractor paid a bribe to Rezko and Levine and, in addition, made a contribution to ROD BLAGOJEVICH. Levine testified that Rezko indicated that such an arrangement would change his view on the Mercy CON.
Rezko has admitted that he manipulated the Mercy vote based on Mercy’s agreement to make a contribution to ROD BLAGOJEVICH, which agreement he states was communicated to ROD BLAGOJEVICH, but denies that Levine offered a personal bribe to Rezko as well.
A more blatant “pay to play” scheme involved another hospital – Children’s Hospital. Page 34 of the complaint reads:
According to Individual A, on October 8, 2008, during a discussion of fundraising from various individuals and entities, the discussion turned to Children’s Memorial Hospital, and ROD BLAGOJEVICH told Individual A words to the effect of “I’m going to do $8 million for them. I want to get [Hospital Executive 1] for 50.” Individual A understood this to be a reference to a desire to obtain a $50,000 campaign contribution from Hospital Executive 1, the Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Memorial Hospital. Individual A said that he/she understood ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s reference to $8 million to relate to his recent commitment to obtain for Children’s Memorial Hospital $8 million in state funds through some type of pediatric care reimbursement. As described in further detail below, intercepted phone conversations between ROD BLAGOJEVICH and others indicate that ROD BLAGOJEVICH is contemplating rescinding his commitment of state funds to benefit Children’s Memorial Hospital because Hospital Executive 1 has not made a recent campaign contribution to ROD BLAGOJEVICH.
Then at 7:50, Blago notes that in Illinois, funds are spent for public works such as “schools and hospitals.” How nice. Taxpayers provide money for construction of facilities and politicians get contributions in order to direct those funds to friendly benefactors. One great circle of life.