The Corner

Blagojevich: Hire My Wife, Or Else!

Much of the Blagojevich indictment’s material is similar to what appeared in the earlier criminal complaint, but there is new material as well. Blagojevich and his gang consisted of two of his chiefs of staff (John Harris and Alonzo Monk), his brother Rob, and the four horsemen of the Blagopolypse — two Democratic fundraisers (Christopher Kelly and Tony Rezko) and two Republican fundraisers (Stuart Levine and William Cellini).

This gang is accused in the indictment of selling (or trying to sell) one Senate seat, at least two state appointments, innumerable state contracts, and state pension fund investments. Rezko, the indictment alleges, paid Blagojevich’s charming wife a large amount of money for real estate deals in which she did little or no work, and gave at least $90,000 to Monk.

Then there are allegations of attempted extortion of the filmmaker, of the racetrack executive who wanted a bill signed, of a children’s hospital, of a school, and of two financial companies that refused to hire Mrs. Blagojevich after the governor’s chief of staff, John Harris, set up networking meetings for her:

In or about the spring of 2008, around the time that defendant ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s wife passed a licensing examination that allowed her to sell financial securities, ROD BLAGOJEVICH asked defendant HARRIS and others to set up informational or networking meetings for his wife with financial institutions that had business with the State of Illinoiss in hopes that those businesses would assist in getting ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s wife a job. HARRIS subsequently arranged meetings between ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s wife and officials at two financial institutions that had business before the state of Illinois. When ROD BLAGOJEVICH concluded that officials at these institutions were unhelpful in finding ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s wife a job, ROD BLAGOJEVICH told HARRIS that he did not want the institutions receiving further business from the State of Illinois.

The Chicago Tribune further summarizes:

Among the earliest and biggest plots in the “Blagojevich Enterprise” was a scheme to direct the sale of billions of dollars in bonds to refinance the state’s pension debt to a company whose lobbyist secretly agreed to kick back hundreds of thousands of dollars to Rezko. Sources with knowledge of the situation identified that company as Bear Stearns and the lobbyist as Robert Kjellander.

Kjellander (prounounced “shell-and-er”) is the former treasurer of the Republican National Committee and Karl Rove’s college roommate.

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