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‘The Face of Public Corruption’: Illinois Republicans ‘Disappointed’ by Trump’s Pardon of Ex-Gov. Blagojevich

Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich speaks to the media after his arraignment hearing on April 14, 2009. (Frank Polich/Reuters)

Illinois Republicans expressed Tuesday that they are “disappointed” with President Trump’s decision to commute the sentence of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who was removed from office and sentenced to prison on corruption charges over a decade ago.

“Blagojevich is the face of public corruption in Illinois, and not once has he shown any remorse for his clear and documented record of egregious crimes that undermined the trust placed in him by voters,” House Republicans from Illinois said in a statement.

Blagojevich, a Democrat, was impeached, convicted, and removed from office in 2009 on 18 counts related to several pay-to-play schemes, including the then-governor’s attempt to solicit a bribe for appointing a successor to Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat after Obama was elected president in 2008.

He was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison, a term he began serving in 2012 and which will now end four years ahead of schedule thanks to the pardon.

“We believe he received an appropriate and fair sentence, which was the low end of the federal sentencing guidelines for the gravity of his public corruption convictions,” the Republicans wrote.

“As our state continues to grapple with political corruption, we shouldn’t let those who breached the public trust off the hook. History will not judge Rod Blagojevich well,” the lawmakers said.

The Republican delegation includes Representatives Adam Kinzinger, John Shimkus, Rodney Davis, Mike Bost, and Darin LaHood.

“We have commuted the sentence of Rod Blagojevich,” Trump said Tuesday. “He served eight years in jail, a long time… That was a tremendously powerful, ridiculous sentence, in my opinion.”

Trump granted clemency to a total of 11 individuals convicted of federal crimes on Tuesday, including former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., who was convicted over two decades ago in a gambling fraud case.

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