Friday, January 09, 2009

Illinois House Impeaches Blagojevich

The Illinois House of Representatives voted 114-1-1 today to impeach Gov. Rod Blagojevich after only a couple of hours of debate, making him the first governor in Illinois history to be impeached. One Chicago legislator, Rep. Milt Patterson (D), cast the only dissenting vote, saying he didn't feel it was his job to impeach the governor. Another Chicago lawmaker, Rep. Elga Jefferies (D), voted present. She lost re-election in last year's Democratic primary. The Chicago Tribune provides a good graphic of what is behind the House's impeachment. To summarize:

  • The governor plotted to obtain a personal benefit in exchange for a U.S. Senate appointment.
  • The governor plotted to condition state financial support to the Tribune Company on the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial staff.
  • The governor plotted to trade official state acts for campaign contributions, including: the awarding of a state tollway contract; the release of medical reimbursements to Illinois doctors and hospitals; the appointment to a post at the Illinois Finance Authority; the awarding of state contracts; and the awarding of state permits and authorizations.
  • The governor exceeded his constitutional authority by unilaterally expanding a state health insurance program.
  • Buying $2.6 million worth of flu vaccines the state never used.
  • Starting a program to import prescription drugs in violation of federal law.
  • Violating state and federal laws in the hiring and firing of state employees.

The governor will now be tried by the Illinois Senate where 40 (2/3) members must find him guilty to remove him from office. The Senate trial is expected to be concluded by the first or second week of February. A new legislature will be seated, however, before the Senate trial takes place.

1 comment:

Mike Kole said...

The best part of this are the "add-ons", the lower portion of your bullet points, such as "The governor exceeded his constitutional authority by unilaterally expanding a state health insurance program."

I sincerely doubt an impeachment was coming on grounds such as those, although it appears merited.

Sometimes ugly politics can yield excellent results.