rod blagojevich

Rod Blagojevich

Former Illinois governor, arrested on December 9, 2008 for allegedly trying to sell the Senate seat of Barack Obama to the highest bidder. On June 27, 2011, Blagojevich was convicted on 17 corruption-related counts, including trying to sell Obama's seat.

None of that should come as much of a surprise due to the level of corruption in Illinois and also due to "Blago"'s strong past support for illegal immigration. That went as far as giving illegal aliens a better deal than veterans and supporting illegal aliens marching through Chicago at events organized by those linked to the Mexican government.

Blagojevich spoke at the March 10 Chicago march (Thousands Flood Loop In Protest)

He appointed members of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights to the Illinois state New Americans Immigrant Policy Council. The president of the ICIRR (Juan Salgado) is linked to the Mexican government.

See also: Feds probe gift to governor, Immigration What's Next, Governor meeting just before extortion attempt, and Feds probe real estate deals.

Affiliation: Democratic Party

Last modified Jun 27, 2011
Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

Rod Blagojevich to write tell-all book "The Governor" - 03/02/09

Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich is writing a tell-all tome for Phoenix Books (link). Tentatively titled "The Governor", he's reportedly received a six-figure advance. If it's really a tell-all, he'll probably have to spend half of that on bodyguards:

Mr. Blagojevich’s book will cover the governor’s downfall directly, a news release from Mr. Selig’s agency said, and offer Mr. Blagojevich’s versions of events, “the discussions, the considerations and the factors involved,” as he pondered the Senate appointment.

The former governor intends to expose “the dark side of politics” that he witnessed at state and national levels, Mr. Selig said, adding: “There were some people in high places who didn’t want the governor to write this book, and worked to try to squash a book deal.” He did not name names.

"Dear Rod": form letter from Obama to Blagojevich - 01/06/09

Judicial Watch has obtained two letters sent to Rod Blagojevich; one from Barack Obama himself, the other from his transition team. PDFs at that link.

Unfortunately, both appear to be form letters sent out after the National Governors Association on December 2, 2008 in Philadelphia. The one from Obama pawns off all contact on Nick Rathod. The other letter is from Valerie Jarrett, John Podesta, and Pete Rouse, and likewise pawns off contact on others in case Blago wanted to "share thoughts". Whether similar letters were sent to other governors isn't known.

The only three things that seem like they might hold promise are:

1. The fact that JW's FOIA request was not complied with in full; Erin Knowles from Blago's office says in the reply to their FOIA request:

This office has no independent knowledge of all individuals who are currently "representatives of the Office of the President-Elect", "representatives of the Obama-Biden Transition Project", or "representatives of the Service Employees International Union". Therefore, if you would specify the names of individuals from who you seek correspondence, we would be happy to conduct a search to determine whether there are any responsive documents.

2. The fact that Obama's meeting with Blago was not in the supposed investigation of his team's contacts:

The President-Elect had no contact or communication with Governor Blagojevich or members of his staff about the Senate seat.

However, the fact that Obama was at the governor's meeting was already known, including with pictures. Perhaps their investigation might have looked better if they had listed all of Obama's contacts with Blago rather than putting it in the legalistic terms above.

3. The fact that Obama's letter starts with the salutation, "Dear Rod". If this was a form letter sent to other governors, did he call them with their first names as well?

Obama transition releases report on staff contacts with Rod Blagojevich - 12/23/08

The Politburo no doubt had internal investigations, and so too does the incoming Barack Obama administration. They've just released a five-page PDF completely clearing everyone of everything; cached copy here. It includes the news that Obama was interviewed as part of the investigation:

These accounts were communicated to the Office of the United States Attorney in interviews that were conducted last week. At the request of the Office, we delayed the release of this report until such time as the interviews could be completed. The interviews took place over a period of three days: Thursday, December 18, 2008 (the President-Elect); December 19, 2008 (Valerie Jarrett); and December 20, 2008 (Rahm Emanuel).

Hugh Hewitt thinks the order of questioning doesn't seem right.

Per the report, Obama "had no contact or communication with Governor Blagojevich or members of his staff about the Senate seat". However, BHO used David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel to communicate a list of "qualified candidates" to Rod Blagojevich after Valerie Jarrett pulled out of the running. Those on the list "included" (were there other names?): Jan Schakowsky, Jesse Jackson Jr, Dan Hynes, and Tammy Duckworth:

Sun-Times: Rahm Emanuel had direct contact with Blagojevich over Senate seat - 12/18/08

From Natasha Korecki comes this:
President-elect Barack Obama's incoming chief of staff Rahm Emanuel had a deeper involvement in pressing for a U.S. Senate seat appointment than previously reported, the Sun-Times has learned. Emanuel had direct discussions about the seat with Gov. Blagojevich, who is is accused of trying to auction it to the highest bidder.

Emanuel talked with the governor in the days following the Nov. 4 election and pressed early on for the appointment of Valerie Jarrett to the post, sources with knowledge of the conversations told the Sun-Times. There was no indication from sources that Emanuel brokered a deal, however.

A source with the Obama camp strongly denied Emanuel spoke with the governor directly about the seat, saying Emanuel only spoke with Blagojevich once recently to say he was taking the chief of staff post...

Obama/Blago picture deleted from Illinois state website - 12/15/08

Remember the picture of Barack Obama "conferring" with recently-arrested Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich? If not, see this 12/10 post.

Illinois Governor's Gazette: homepage and Version 2 - 12/15/08

The following two documents were originally located at illinois.gov/govgazette/ and at illinois.gov/govgazette/pdfs/Gazetteedition_2008Nov_2.pdf. Those two were basically the same, and that entire document tree was deleted. Both documents were retrieved from Google's cache. They don't appear to contain anything noteworthy, but neither cached document had whatever photos were in the original. The govgazette document tree doesn't appear to be in archive.org's cache.

illinois.gov/govgazette/pdfs/Gazetteedition_2008Nov_2.pdf

KHQA pulls 11/5 article on Obama meeting with Blagojevich (cached copy) - 12/10/08

On November 5, Iowa/Illinois/Missouri TV station KHQA published "Who will fill Obama's senate seat?", which said that Barack Obama would be meeting with recently-arrested Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich on the afternoon of 11/5. It was previously at this link, but that now says it's "unavailable".

Photo: Barack Obama and Rod Blagojevich confer about Senate replacement - 12/10/08

[UPDATE: The state of Illinois has deleted the PDF containing this picture; see the link for some cached copies of the Gazette documents.]

From the "Governor's Gazette" - an Illinois state publication - dated November 12, 2008 comes the following undated photo of Barack Obama speaking privately with recently-arrested IL governor Rod Blagojevich. It could conceivably have taken place months before and in relation to something else, but there's a very good chance it was taken sometime just after Obama was elected. A screengrab of the first page of the Gazette is here. The PDF of the Gazette is here. Note that the text of that portion of the Gazette is the same as this page dated November 5, 2008:

After congratulating President-Elect Barack Obama on his decisive victory, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that he will take his time and use a diverse senior staff made up of key members of his administration who will assist him in selecting a suitable replacement for Obama.

There's no explicit indication that they met on 11/5 or 11/4, but one might assume that he congratulated him at the least with a phone call and probably face-to-face.

obama blagojevich speak

Read more at the main Blagogate entry.

Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich arrested by FBI on federal corruption charges; accused of trying to sell Obama's senate seat - 12/09/08

Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich - aka "Blago" - and his chief of staff have been arrested for trying to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat. And, Barack Obama - or at least his advisor Valerie Jarrett - probably knew what he was doing; see the "SEIU Official" paragraph below. And, Obama may have lied about his recent conversations with Blago; see the first update. Uh-oh: Obama might be more worried about this than it would at first appear; see the second update.

From a U.S. Department of Justice press release (usdoj.gov/usao/iln/pr/chicago/2008/pr1209_01.pdf, text version here):
Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and his Chief of Staff, John Harris, were arrested today by FBI agents on federal corruption charges alleging that they and others are engaging in ongoing criminal activity: conspiring to obtain personal financial benefits for Blagojevich by leveraging his sole authority to appoint a United States Senator; threatening to withhold substantial state assistance to the Tribune Company in connection with the sale of Wrigley Field to induce the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members sharply critical of Blagojevich; and to obtain campaign contributions in exchange for official actions – both historically and now in a push before a new state ethics law takes effect January 1, 2009.


Shorter version: link

Dick Durbin calls for a special election: link

Obama's big donors involved: link

Chicago Mayor Richard M Daley responds: link
The criminal complaint against them is here: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/iln/pr/chicago/2008/pr1209_01a.pdf Unfortunately, the name "Barack Obama" appears nowhere in that document, with the term "president-elect" used instead. However, at least at this point, he isn't otherwise involved in the investigation and may or may not have known about Blago's attempts.

And, the guessing game now will be to find out who the various "Senate Candidates", "Contributors", and "Lobbyists" mentioned are:
Just last week, on December 4, Blagojevich allegedly told an advisor that he might "get some (money) up front, maybe" from Senate Candidate 5, if he named Senate Candidate 5 to the Senate seat, to insure that Senate Candidate 5 kept a promise about raising money for Blagojevich if he ran for re-election. In a recorded conversation on October 31, Blagojevich claimed he was approached by an associate of Senate Candidate 5 as follows: "We were approached ‘pay to play.' That, you know, he'd raise 500 grand. An emissary came. Then the other guy would raise a million, if I made him (Senate Candidate 5) a Senator."
Marc Ambinder thinks #5 is Jesse Jackson Jr. Here's a table:

Senate Candidate 1 (Obama's choice): Valerie Jarrett (source)
Senate Candidate 2: Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan? (see 'columnist' below)
Senate Candidate 3:
Senate Candidate 4: Dean Martinez?
Senate Candidate 5: Jesse Jackson Jr.?
Senate Candidate 6: wealthy, has an in with Warren Buffet

Are Tammy Duckworth or Rep. Jan Schakowsky on the list?

While the charges concentrate on Blago's dealings since October, it also includes past activities that may have some direct connection to Barack Obama:
The charges include historical allegations that Blagojevich and Harris schemed with others - including previously convicted defendants Antoin Rezko, Stuart Levine, Ali Ata and others - since becoming governor in 2002 to obtain and attempt to obtain financial benefits for himself, his family and third parties, including his campaign committee, Friends of Blagojevich, in exchange for appointments to state boards and commissions, state employment, state contracts and access to state funds. A portion of the affidavit recounts the testimony of various witnesses at Rezko's trial earlier this year.
One payoff Blago considered was a job at a union:
Two days later, in a three-way call with Harris and Advisor B, a consultant in Washington, Blagojevich and the others allegedly discussed the prospect of a three-way deal for the Senate appointment involving an organization called "Change to Win," which is affiliated with various unions including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)... On November 10, Blagojevich, his wife, Harris, Governor General Counsel, Advisor B and other Washington-based advisors participated at different times in a two-hour phone call in which they allegedly discussed, among other things, a deal involving the SEIU. Harris said they could work out a deal with the union and the President-elect where SEIU could help the President-elect with Blagojevich's appointment of Senate Candidate 1, while Blagojevich would obtain a position as the National Director of the Change to Win campaign and SEIU would get something favorable from the President-elect in the future. Also during that call, Blagojevich agreed it was unlikely that the President-elect would name him Secretary of Health and Human Services or give him an ambassadorship because of all of the negative publicity surrounding him.
Change to Win denies any contact (link); note that that group is linked into the George Soros/Center for American Progress network.

From the complaint:
On November 6, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH talked with Spokesman. ROD BLAGOJEVICH told Spokesman to leak to a particular columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, that Senate Candidate 2 is in the running for the vacant Senate seat. According to ROD BLAGOJEVICH, by doing this, he wanted "to send a message to the [President-elect's] people," but did not want it known that the message was from ROD BLAGOJEVICH. Thereafter, ROD BLAGOJEVICH and Spokesman discussed specific language that should be used in the Sun Times column and arguments as to why Senate Candidate 2 made sense for the vacant Senate seat. A review of this particular Sun Times column on November 7, 2008, indicates references to the specific language and arguments regarding Senate Candidate 2 as a potential candidate for the Senate seat, as discussed by ROD BLAGOJEVICH and Spokesman.
A search didn't turn up who that could be; if anyone can find that please leave a comment. Ambinder thinks it's Madigan, and the columnist is Michael Sneed (marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/12/the_blago_indictment_fun_with.php)

Blago also wanted to start a 501(c)4 organization that others would fund and he'd be employed by. And, he wanted Warren Buffett to come up with millions for it:
Later in the conversation, ROD BLAGOJEVICH and Advisor A again discussed the possibility of a 501(c)(4) organization, and ROD BLAGOJEVICH again noted that "[Senate Candidate 6]" could "do it." ROD BLAGOJEVICH and Advisor A discussed who might be close to Senate Candidate 6 to talk with him about the issue, because ROD BLAGOJEVICH did not "want to be the one to ask something like that." Advisor A agreed to find out who is close to Senate Candidate 6.
And, it looks like the Barack Obama circle knew that Blago wanted something in exchange for appointing Jarrett:
On November 12, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH spoke with SEIU Official, who was in Washington, D.C. Prior intercepted phone conversations indicate that approximately a week before this call, ROD BLAGOJEVICH met with SEIU Official to discuss the vacant Senate seat, and ROD BLAGOJEVICH understood that SEIU Official was an emissary to discuss Senate Candidate 1's interest in the Senate seat. During the conversation with SEIU Official on November 12, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH informed SEIU Official that he had heard the President-elect wanted persons other than Senate Candidate 1 to be considered for the Senate seat. SEIU Official stated that he would find out if Senate Candidate 1 wanted SEIU Official to keep pushing her for Senator with ROD BLAGOJEVICH. ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that "one thing I'd be interested in" is a 501(c)(4) organization. ROD BLAGOJEVICH explained the 501(c)(4) idea to SEIU Official and said that the 501(c)(4)could help "our new Senator [Senate Candidate 1]." SEIU Official agreed to "put that flag up and see where it goes."
There's no proof offered that the "SEIU official" then spoke with Obama's advisor Valerie Jarrett, but it is likely.

UPDATE: Expect Obama's supporters to try to help him come out of this unscathed by pointing to Blago's various Obama-directed expletives as well as his statements that Obama doesn't want to give him anything. However, who knows what would have happened if the investigation had continued?

And, from Jake Tapper (link):
But on November 23, 2008, his senior adviser David Axelrod appeared on Fox News Chicago and said something quite different.

While insisting that the President-elect had not expressed a favorite to replace him, and his inclination was to avoid being a "kingmaker," Axelrod said, "I know he's talked to the governor and there are a whole range of names many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them."

There are no allegations that President-elect Obama or anyone close to him had anything to do with any of the crimes Gov. Blagojevich is accused of having committed.

In fact, there are indications that Mr. Obama and his team refused to go along with the "pay to play" way Blagojevich is accused of operating, offering only "gratitude" if the governor appointed his friend Valerie Jarrett to take his U.S. Senate seat, much to the governor's chagrin.

But there remain questions about how Blagojevich knew that Mr. Obama was not willing to give him anything in exchange for the Senate seat -- with whom was Blagojevich speaking? Did that person report the governor to the authorities?

And, it should be pointed out, Mr. Obama has a relationship with Mr. Blagojevich, having not only endorsed Blagojevich in 2002 and 2006, but having served as a top adviser to the Illinois governor in his first 2002 run for the state house.

That 2002 endorsement came at the same time that Axelrod had such serious concerns about whether Blagojevich was ready for governing he refused to work for his one-time client.
UPDATE 2: Trouble in paradise! Now, an unnamed Obama aide says about the foregoing Axelrod statement: "What the president-elect said today is correct, David Axelrod misspoke." That would seem to be moving beyond simply distancing himself from Blago and moving into "we're scared" mode.

Also, per this, other possibilities for Candidate 5 are Art Turner and Obama's partial mentor Emil Jones.

UPDATE 3: There are lists of the financial ties that bind Tony Rezko and Blago and Rezko and Barack Obama here.

Obama is calling for Blago to resign.

Brian Ross of ABC News says that Jesse Jackson Jr. is "Candidate 5".

There's a timeline here.

On the morning of 11/5, KHQA said that BHO and Blago would be meeting that afternoon; they then pulled the article, a copy of which is here On November 08, 2008 at 9:48 p.m. at Alexis Hunt from the same station said ''Obama met with Governor Rod Blagojevich earlier this week to discuss [the Senate seat]" (link). However, an Associated Press article by Dennis Conrad - posted here at November 5, 2008 6:58 PM CST says "[Blago] said he has not yet spoken to Obama, whose timeline for resigning his Senate seat was unclear Wednesday."

UPDATE 4: Now KHQA has pulled both articles, and posted this:
KHQA TV wishes to offer clarification regarding a story that appeared last month on our website ConnectTristates.com. The story, which discussed the appointment of a replacement for President Elect Obama’in the U.S. Senate, became the subject of much discussion on talk radio and on blog sites Wednesday.

The story housed in our website archive was on the morning of November 5, 2008. It suggested that a meeting was scheduled later that day between President Elect Obama and Illinois Governor Blagojevich. KHQA has no knowledge that any meeting ever took place. Governor Blagojevich did appear at a news conference in Chicago on that date.
UPDATE 5: Some initial reports said the SEIU official was Andy Stern, but the New York Times says:
Several union officials in Chicago and Washington said that the service employees official approached by Mr. Harris was Tom Balanoff, the president of the union’s giant janitors’ local in Chicago and head of the union’s Illinois state council. Mr. Balanoff, one of the union officials closest to Mr. Obama, is widely seen as an aggressive, successful labor leader, who has helped unionize thousands of janitors not just in the Chicago area but also in Texas.

FactCheck looks, can't find "Chicago Way" (McCain Obama ad) - 09/23/08

Viveca Novak and Justin Bank of Fact Check offer "Guilt and Associations/McCain once again tries to tar Obama with the controversies of others" about the John McCain ad "Chicago Machine" (factcheck.org/elections-2008/guilt_and_associations.html). The ad links Barack Obama to William Daley, Emil Jones, Tony Rezko, Rod Blagojevich. Per them, the first isn't dirty, the second is only a little dirty, and there's no evidence that BHO was involved in any funny business with the last two.

Immigration march organizers have foreign links - 08/15/08

1. One of the organizers of the March 24 Georgia boycott was Teodoro Maus, a former Mexican consul general. He was also one of the organizers of the October 7 Atlanta march. That march was led by GA state Senator Sam Zamarripa and GA state representative Pedro Marin, both members of the Democratic Party.

Influence on both sides of the border - 07/03/08

"Influence on both sides of the border/Activists' political power is rising in Chicago and their homeland, as they seek reforms through marches and money"/Antonio Olivo and Oscar Avila/Chicago Tribune/[[April 6, 2007]]/ li

Felipe Calderon Feb. 2008 U.S. visit: Eliot Spitzer, Blagojevich, Schwarzenegger, Villaraigosa, Fabian Nunez - 02/09/08

Mexico's president Felipe Calderon will be visiting parts of their former territory next week, stopping in New York, Boston, Chicago, Sacramento, and Los Angeles but apparently avoiding Washington DC.

In addition to U.S. officials, and some who are supposedly U.S. officials, he'll probably also be meeting with community leaders, such as those from non-profits, "hometown associations", the leaders of his PAN party who operate inside the U.S., and the like. Unfortunately, it's difficult to find a listing, but if anyone could leave information in comments that would be quite helpful.

In addition to addressing the California legislature, some people he's known to be meeting with are:

* U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
* New York governor Eliot Spitzer
* Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich
* California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
* Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
* Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (private meeting)

UPDATE: According to this:
...officials said he'll meet with Mayor Richard Daley, Gov. Rod Blagojevich and other leaders... ...includes a private meeting with some Mexican community leaders at McCormick Place... ..."We will be there making our proposals to him in what we expect to be a sincere dialogue," said Salvador Pedroza, chairman of the Little Village Chamber of Commerce and leader of the Illinois chapter of Calderon's National Action Party... In the afternoon, Calderon is expected to attend a town-hall-style meeting at Little Village High School on the Southwest Side.

...After Calderon met privately with Blagojevich, officials announced an agreement for a teacher's exchange program that would send Mexican educators to Illinois to help teach math, natural sciences, Spanish and other subjects in local classrooms.

"It's very important that we recognize the contributions Mexico has made to Illinois and the United States, by strengthening our mutual bond and improving the quality and scope of Mexican culture in Illinois," Blagojevich said in an e-mailed news release.
Please indict him already.

UPDATE 2: His first meeting was at the Council of the Americas, with their honorary president David Rockefeller. Then, it was off to meet Eliot Spitzer (presidencia.gob.mx/prensa/?contenido=33715); Calderon congratulated him for his "efforts... to provide Mexican migrants with access to public education and health services as well as to guarantee their work rights". Then, a private meeting with the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, and he also spoke at Harvard, with Deval Patrick, and with the President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. In Chicago he met with mayor Richard M. Daley and with Blago. He even met with Jesse Jackson. All that and much, much more here.

Illinois gov. Rod Blagojevich now part of FBI's "pay-to-play" corruption investigation - 12/22/07

From this:
Federal prosecutors for the first time brought their corruption investigation to the desk of Gov.

Felipe Calderon explicitly wants Mexican consuls to meddle in U.S. immigration debate (non-profits) - 12/07/07

The only thing shocking about this is that he'd openly admit it:
[Today, Mexican president Felipe Calderon] asked his diplomatic representatives in the U.S. to participate in the public debate on immigration by appearing at public events, talking more to the media and working with nonprofit groups to promote Mexican immigrants' role in supporting the U.S. economy.

"The key is to neutralize this strategy of confrontation and discrimination that forms part of U.S. society's mistaken perception, and be able to newly focus arguments on the complimentary aspects of our economies," he said [to the consuls].
Several non-profit groups have direct or indirect links to the Mexican government, such as the ACLU, SPLC, AFSC, and MALDEF via membership in a group headed by Peter Schey, someone with a long list of links to that government. He also heads the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, which has been an occasional quote source for the MSM.

Another group is the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, whose president serves on an advisory council to the Mexican president. That group helped organize some of last year's illegal immigration marches, and is in turn linked not just to Rod Blagojevich but also to the Blue America PAC (run by some bloggers).

Another frequent quote source, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, has a direct albeit somewhat minor link to the Mexican government.

New Haven's Junta for Progressive Action is/was collaborating with that government and sued to block immigration raids. Kica Matos, their former president, now works for that city and pushed through their efforts to give ID cards to illegal aliens. And, she's married to Henry Fernandez of the Center for American Progress.

Needless to say, there are many others.

In fact, it's difficult to find a non-profit involved in immigration matters that doesn't have some sort of a link, whether direct or first or second-level indirect. When nonprofit groups are involved in immigration matters in the future, it will be even more difficult to tell whether they're speaking for the Mexican government or not, and it will be even more important to attempt to call them on any links they have. In some cases their public funding should be eliminated, and if it applies they should be requested to register under the DOJ's Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Also:
Calderon's instructions came two days after he accused U.S. presidential candidates of "swaggering, macho and anti-Mexican" posturing. He also warned the U.S. Congress not to impose conditions on a $1.4 billion anti-drug aid package.
Related:
Mexican diplomats meddling in our internal politics
"Mexico's Defense of Illegal Immigrants"
American Jewish Committee collaborates with Mexican government to support illegal immigration
Mexican consul meddling in Irving Texas (Matricula Consular cards to prevent arrests)
New York Times alludes to Mexican meddling via consulates (Little Rock)
Ramos/Compean trial transcripts; meddling Mexican consuls initiated case?
Nancy Pelosi didn't meet the meddling Mexican congressmen?
Dianne Solis, Alfredo Corchado, Dallas Morning News downplay Mexican meddling
More meddling by Mexican consuls
"Bush Bill Would Aid Mexico's Meddling in U.S."
"Mexico is meddling in US military"

Feds probe real estate deals - 12/07/07

Chicago Tribune/David Kidwell, Jeff Coen, Ray Long/[[December 7, 2007]]/ link

Federal agents are investigating real estate deals involving Gov. Rod Blagojevich's wife as part of a three-year corruption probe into allegations of favoritism and fraud within his administration.

AP Exclusive: Governor meeting just before extortion attempt - 12/07/07

Associated Press/[[December 6, 2007]]/ link

An Associated Press review shows that Governor Rod Blagojevich met with a Democratic fundraiser who weeks later attempted to shake down a firm seeking state business.

March 10 Chicago march - 10/11/07

Organized by the March 10 Committee. One of the leaders of that committee is Jorge Mujica, an official with Mexico's PRD party.

Those speaking at the event included U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

Pueblo Sin Fronteras - 10/03/07

From their site somosunpueblo.com: "Our campaign has the support of the Governor of Illinois (Rod Blagojevich) and a broad base of Illinois elected officials, religious and civic leaders. We have made a campaign so that the nation might know that the "immigration debate" is about real, human families, and their struggle to stay together."

Executive director is Emma Lozano.

Immigration activist living at church sends son to L.A. conference

DOJ sues Illinois over statewide sanctuary policy (Blagojevich) - 09/24/07

From a U.S. Department of Justice press release [1]:
The Department of Justice today filed a lawsuit in federal district court seeking to invalidate an Illinois state law that attempts to prevent employers from using DHS's E-Verify system, which allows them to check in real-time whether new hires are authorized to work in the United States. The lawsuit seeks a declaration that a law passed earlier this year by the Illinois legislature and signed by the Governor (Rod Blagojevich) that prohibits employers from enrolling in the Department's E-Verify system is invalid.

"E-verify or the Basic Pilot Program, authorized by Congress, is the on-line system that allows employers to verify whether new hires are allowed to work in the United States," said Carl Nichols, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Civil Division. "Today's lawsuit seeks to invalidate an Illinois state law that frustrates our ability to assist employers in making sure their workforce is legal, and in doing so conflicts with federal law."
Rep. Peter Roskam says:
"Governor Blagojevich and the Illinois Legislature are acting against the best interest of Illinois workers, Illinois families, and against the safety of our nation... It is unbelievable that a legislative body would prohibit honest employers the right to voluntarily verify the citizenship status of their workers. It is against the law to hire an illegal alien and the federal E-Verify system is currently the best means available for employers to ensure compliance... Governor Blagojevich is attempting to preempt federal law by creating a virtual sanctuary within the State of Illinois for illegal aliens."
A few more links on this here; links to the complaint and the legislation here. The last includes an interview with Michael Chertoff about this.

Previously:
Rod Blagojevich, Luis Gutierrez, and the alleged FALN terrorist
Illinois House approves driver's licenses for illegal aliens
Will Rod Blagojevich pro-illegal immigration scheme violate law?
FBI probes Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich; hiring kickback?
Blagojevich-linked group agitating illegal aliens, calls for general strike
Blagojevich stand behind NOI member on Illinois hate crimes commission
Blagojevich gives illegal aliens better deal than veterans
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich gets a $720,000 heated driveway

[1] usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2007/September/07_civ_757.html

Rod Blagojevich, Luis Gutierrez, and the alleged FALN terrorist - 09/08/07

From this:
A high-ranking official in Gov. [Rod Blagojevich]'s office spent nearly two years in a federal prison for refusing to aid a government terrorism probe into a series of bombings in Chicago and New York City.

Steven Guerra, Blagojevich's $120,000-a-year deputy chief of staff for community services, was identified by federal prosecutors as a member of the Puerto Rican separatist group, FALN, which was behind a wave of violence and killings in the 1970s and early 1980s...

Gov. Blagojevich's office said Guerra disclosed his felony conviction to the administration before his 2003 hiring. Aides said the governor intends to stand by Guerra. He was recommended for the job by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who lobbied President Bill Clinton to grant clemency to 11 imprisoned FALN members in 1999...

Media alert: Elvira Arellano has left the sanctuary (L.A., DC on tour) - 08/17/07

Elvira Arellano - the illegal alien who was ordered to be deported after being convicted of using a false Social Security number and who's been holed up in a Chicago church for a year and who's only a sympathetic figure to those on the far-left - has left her "sanctuary" and is currently on a road trip.

Esther J. Cepeda: towns enforcing immigration laws could lead to "neighborhood lynchings" - 07/05/07

The column here ("Beginning of the end?/Towns across America are taking illegal immigration control into their own hands a

Senate immigration amnesty bill: the downsides - 05/23/07

The concept of amnesty is bad, and almost everything in the Senate's illegal immigration amnesty bill is bad as well. It's fairly obvious to just about everyone that this is an extremely flawed piece of legislation, so what I'd suggest is using it to further discredit its supporters. However, please don't lose sight of the forest: we need to stop amnesty in general, not just this particular piece of legislation. You can do that by following these steps.

There's a top ten list in "Rewarding Illegal Aliens: Senate Bill Undermines The Rule of Law".

There are seven more reasons here, including the provision regarding the "United States-Mexico Border Enforcement Review Commission". I actually scanned that section earlier, but I failed to note this:

Members from the law enforcement community will be balanced out by members from "academia, religious leaders, civic leaders or community leaders" (read: the open-borders lobby).

For an example of how that would work, note that Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich's "New Americans Immigrant Policy Council" includes an organization which is headed by someone linked to the Mexican government (Juan Salgado).

David Frum has also discussed the downsides. In this post, he discloses that Bush has apparently never heard the pro-enforcement side of the argument. No big surprise there. And, from this:

With this immigration bill, the GOP is telling hard-pressed workers: Go look to somebody else to help you... ...the deal also identifies the GOP as a party that in the crunch puts employers' interests first... ...The president and the senators have now managed to divide and demoralize their party even further... ...The deal has wounded all three of the GOP front-runners... ...this White House's first instinct when faced with dissent in the ranks is to insult and abuse its strongest supporters... ...And unfortunately the White House's second instinct when confronted with dissent is to revert to incompetent spin. Unlike the Clinton administration, which lied with a fluency and bravado that will impress PR hacks for decades to come, the Bush administration stumbles, flusters, and eventually disheartens even its staunchest supporters... ...Republicans have done so well because until now, the highly diverse Hispanic population has not voted as an ethnic bloc. Now we ourselves are forcing that to change. It's as if this Republican president and these Republican senators have said, "Hmm. Can we invent an issue that will teach Cuban-American doctors, Honduran day laborers, and Mexican-American army officers to think of themselves as a unified ethnic group? Can we then provoke a fight that all of them (whatever their diverging practical interests) will treat as a symbol of acceptance in American society? And can we then stage-manage this fight to ensure that two-thirds of our party will have no choice but to fall on the wrong side of it?"

And, Hugh Hewitt - often described here as a Bushbot - has done yeoman work by reading the bill and posting several of its downsides here.

There's an online version of the bill here.

National Review calls it a "Bipartisan Fantasy".

And, Heather Mac Donald says "Don't Be Fooled", highlighting the provision that grants immediate legitimacy to former illegal aliens.

UPDATE: Sen. Jeff Sessions says "Immigration Bill Is Worse Than You Think".

UPDATE 2: Some of the downsides are in this segment from the Lou Dobbs show. Apparently illegal aliens would have first dibs on federally-funded legal aid for their applications for citizenship.

Illinois House approves driver's licenses for illegal aliens - 03/28/07

The Illinois House approved HR 1100 earlier today, which would give illegal aliens "driving certificates" which supposedly would (link to text):

clearly state on its face that it may not be accepted by any federal agency for any federal identification or other official purpose...

New Americans Immigrant Policy Council (Illinois) - 03/20/07

Created by Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich by an Executive Order on [[November 19, 2005]]. link

Their report was issued around [[December 13, 2006]], and it resulted in this [1]:

Can Barack Obama answer this? - 02/25/07

Please go to Barack Obama's campaign appearances and try to ask him the question on the video (reprinted below). The media isn't going to ask politicians any difficult questions, so it's up to us to do it.

Juan Salgado letter to Vicente Fox - 02/22/07

The following letter was sent by Juan Salgado - president of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights - to Mexican president [[Vicente Fox]]. URL: www.ime.gob.mx/ccime/discursos/js7.htm

Will Rod Blagojevich pro-illegal immigration scheme violate law? - 12/13/06

In November 2005, Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich - a very strong supporter of illegal immigration - created the "New Americans Immigrant Policy Council" (press release link) to come up with ways to deal with immigrants in his state. The report from the NAIPC has been released, as has a report from a similar panel. Blago has endorsed their findings, but has not committed any money. And, whether any money will be found is still to be determined.

As even the WaPo discloses ("Ill. Governor To Announce New Benefits For Immigrants" by Kari Lydersen), these benefits would be for both legal and illegal immigrants:

Key points of the New Americans program include increasing the number of dual-language schools, English-as-a-second-language programs and bilingual staff members at state agencies, as well as providing job training for skilled and unskilled immigrants. The program is described as the first of its kind nationwide.

Tom Vilsack and Mike Huckabee might beg to differ; the "welcoming centers" proposed in one of the reports matches those offered in Iowa. There are only two points worth noting in the WaPo coverage: that one of the members of one of the panels is "former Immigration and Naturalization Service commissioner Doris Meissner", and this:

Susan Tully, national field director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, said the program will put Blagojevich in violation of U.S. immigration law... "He does not have the right under the Constitution, even as governor of Illinois, to grant benefits to people who haven't been cleared by immigration and customs agents," she said.

The article "Aid for immigrants proposed" by Oscar Avila has more on the proposals, but like the WaPo report it doesn't offer much backstory.

Now, let's look at the seamy underbelly of Blago's scheme.

The 11/2005 press release doesn't differentiate between illegal and legal immigrants. And:

The Governor shall appoint a 15-person New Americans Immigrant Policy Council comprised of the chairs of the Joint Legislative Immigrant and Refugee Policy Task Force, a representative of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and other appropriate parties.

Like Blago, the ICIRR is a strong supporter of illegal immigration. They were involved in the Jim Oberweis smear. And, they helped organize some of the Chicago illegal immigration marches; Blago spoke at at least one of those. Not only that, but after the first march their president Juan Salgado spoke at Los Pinos, the Mexican White House. And, their president is Josh Hoyt.

I look forward to the WaPo and the Chicago Tribune disclosing who Blago is affiliated with.

ICIRR in suit against Terry Goddard over Western Union wire transfers - 10/19/06

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights ("ICIRR") is "sponsoring" a class action lawsuit against Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard over that state's program that tries to stop human smuggling by seizing Western Union wire transfers that meet certain criteria. ICIRR is "sponsoring" three nobody plaintiffs - at least one of whom is a legal resident - who had money seized and couldn't get it back because they couldn't prove that the transfers were legitimate. The attorney is Matt Piers; another attorney who may have just filed the papers is Tim Eckstein (azstar).

As detailed at the first link, ICIRR was one of the organizers of the big March 10 Chicago illegal immigration rally as well as of the one on May 1. And, after the first rally, their president Juan Salgado spoke at Los Pinos, the Mexican White House. They were also involved in the smear against Jim Oberweis. Salgado was also appointed to a state commission by Chicago governor Rod Blagojevich. Another group involved in the suit is the Instituto del Progreso Latino, whose Executive Director is Juan Salgado.

But, wait, there's more:

[ICIRR Executive Director Josh] Hoyt acknowledged his organization has received grants in the past from Western Union, and confirmed that some of the information for the lawsuit came from the company. But he said the interest of his group is solely to protect the rights of individuals.

It's like a giant spider's web of sleaze, isn't it? From this:

...Goddard said the company also sent letters to clients, asking those who had funds seized to contact Instituto del Progreso Latino... "They solicited people" for the federal lawsuit, Goddard said. "It's Western Union trying to protect their profits." ...Sherry Johnson, corporate director of media relations for Western Union, said in an e-mail that "while we do have a long-standing relationship with this group, I can assure you that this is a completely independent action by the ICIRR."

As for the POV of "our" representatives, State Rep. Steve Gallardo - naturally a Democrat - nuances his way into supporting illegal immigration (azstar):

"We should not just be using the $500 threshold," he said, but instead require proof of some sort of pattern or other evidence of criminal activity... Goddard said the state provides that proof to the judge who issues each of the damming warrants... Gallardo also said the state's offer to refund funds improperly taken is insufficient because it requires people to go to a government office to prove their ownership in order to get their money back... "That's intimidating for those folks who perhaps may be here undocumented," he said, and simply want to send money home to relatives.

As for Matt Piers, he appears to be a civil rights-style attorney from Chicago. In 2000 or so he was on the other side: suing money transfer companies over hidden fees. He defended the Benevolence International Foundation on a terrorism-related charge. Daniel Drezner appeared on a TV show with him in relation to that. He was involved in another terrorism-related case in the late 90s (ncarl.org/newsletter2004.html). And, in 2001 he was apparently planning to sue both the U.S. and Mexico over monies due Bracero Program workers that had disappeared.

On a slightly related note, see "Maricopa County Attorney: Mexico trying to block Arizona law".

Thousands Flood Loop In Protest - 10/07/06

[[WMAQ]]/[[March 10, 2006]]/ link

Reports on the March 10 Chicago march

...Rep. Luis Gutierrez told the crowd that immigrants are here to stay. And the Illinois Democrat pledged to work to block a controversial bill that would drastically strengthen immigration laws.

"Shut the Senate down until you get the voice of immigrants who work so hard," said Rep. Luis Gutierrez.

Immigration: What's next? - 10/07/06

Kristin Markway/Medill News Service(in the NWITimes)/[[October 1, 2006]]/ link

Immigration experts from across the nation met Wednesday ([[September 27, 2006]]) in Chicago and praised Illinois as one of the "most progressive" states for immigration policies.

However, they said, there are serious problems with other state and national immigration laws.

The Case of Elvira Arellano - 10/07/06

Lee Sustar/Socialist Worker (also in Counterpunch)//[[August 31, 2006]]/ link

...A given day (at the church where she's holed up) might see elected officials, diplomats from the Venezuelan consulate, journalists from the New York Times or European national radio services, or representatives of the Latino and left-wing press.

Feds probe gift to governor - 10/07/06

Chicago Tribune/David Kidwell and John Chase/September 10 2006/ link

The FBI is investigating allegations by the wife of Gov. Rod Blagojevich's former campaign treasurer that her state job may have come in return for a $1,500 personal check her husband wrote to one of Blagojevich's children.

FBI probes Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich; hiring kickback? - 09/12/06

From this:
The FBI is investigating allegations by the wife of Gov. Rod Blagojevich's former campaign treasurer that her state job may have come in return for a $1,500 personal check her husband wrote to one of Blagojevich's children.

The inquiry is the first public indication that Blagojevich and his personal finances are under federal scrutiny as part of a sweeping criminal probe of political hiring in his administration...

...Beverly Ascaridis, who has already been identified in an internal state probe as receiving special treatment to get her job, confirmed federal agents interviewed her and her husband in recent weeks about the check. It was dated within two weeks after she began her $45,000-a-year job as a state parks administrator in August 2003, according to Ascaridis and sources familiar with the investigation...
Blago's office denies all of the "ludicrous" charges.

In previous Blago news:
Illegal aliens march in Chicago, get support from Blago, Gutierrez, local media (one of the organizers of that march is a PRD official)
Blagojevich-linked group agitating illegal aliens, calls for general strike
Blagojevich stand behind NOI member on Illinois hate crimes commission
Blagojevich gives illegal aliens better deal than veterans
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich gets a $720,000 heated driveway

Chicago illegal immigration march organizer is PRD official - 07/20/06

One of the organizers of the March 10 illegal immigration march in Chicago is an official with Mexico's PRD Party. Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, and mayor Richard M. Daley all attended and spoke at that rally.

March 10 Committee (illegal alien rally) want immediate citizenship for all - 05/23/06

The March 10 Committee organized the big Chicago rally in favor of illegal immigration.

Chicago immigration "debate": ICIRR pulls out; far-lefties go nuts - 05/05/06

An immigration "debate" was scheduled in Chicago yesterday, to feature the local Minuteman Project chapter squaring off against the Blagojevich-linked Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

The "Immigrant" Rights Movement - 04/30/06

Did you know there's a growing "Immigrant" Rights Movement? Of course, most Americans will refer to that "movement" as "foreign citizens who are here illegally marching in our streets making a show of force and demanding rights to which they aren't entitled", but many news/propaganda organizations seem to prefer the first term. And, not just because it's shorter but - of course - because it's highly misleading.

There are currently hundreds of articles in Google News that use the titular phrase.

Links between the Democratic Party and the Mexican government - 04/22/06

Many Democratic politicians and pundits supported the recent illegal immigration marches, and some Democratic politicians appeared at some of the rallies or even helped organize some of them.

And, some other organizers of the rallies have various kinds of links to the government of Mexico.

While that's not enough to claim that the Democratic Party has direct links to the Mexican government, they are clearly part of the same network. And, that should be disturbing to the millions of more moderate members of that party.

Here are the current known links:

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