"I've got this thing and it's f---ing golden"

The federal complaint that details Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's alleged attempt to trade Barack Obama's former Senate seat for personal gain.


Salon Staff
December 9, 2008 9:49PM (UTC)

The FBI arrested Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, earlier today on corruption charges. Blagojevich is accused of trying to extort better coverage from the Chicago Tribune, and most explosively, of trying to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat left open by Barack Obama. The excerpt below from the federal complaint against Blagojevich includes transcripts of recordings in which Blagojevich discusses the various benefits of appointing different candidates to fill the seat, and how each potential senator could benefit him.

On Page 59, Blagojevich muses, "I’ve got this thing and it’s fucking golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for fuckin’ nothing. I’m not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there." Blagojevich expresses the hope that he will receive some kind of appointment in return for choosing Obama's favored candidate. "I want to make money," says the governor. On Pages 63-64, Blagojevich refers to Obama as a "motherfucker," and says, of the idea that he would pick the president-elect's preferred candidate without receiving something in return, "Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him."

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As Alex Koppelman notes in War Room, the investigation is in U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's district, he of Valerie Plame fame, and Fitzgerald's style includes describing actors in the narrative by title and number, as in "Senate Candidate 1" and "Senate Candidate 2" and "Advisor A." Observers then have to use clues to decode the identities of the parties described in the complaint. Senate Candidate 1, apparently Obama's preferred candidate, seems to be Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett. As described in the complaint, Jarrett took her name out of the running for the seat. The description of a planted leak from the Blagojevich administration to a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times matches this Nov. 7 item about Attorney General Lisa Madigan, so Madigan appears to be Senate Candidate 2. Whoever Senate Candidate 5 is, however, he (and his gender is indicated in the complaint) may now be out of the running. The complaint quotes Blagojevich as saying an associate of Senate Candidate 5 had floated the idea of "pay to play," in reference to raising campaign funds for Blagojevich. Blagojevich said he was "elevating" Mr. 5 on his list, might be able to cut a deal with him, and would be meeting with him in the next few days. Blogger Marc Ambinder claims that the only meeting Blagojevich held that would fit this description was with Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. on Monday, Dec. 8.

The full complaint is 78 pages long. Pages 54-75, which describe the details of Blagojevich's alleged attempt to trade the Senate appointment for personal gain, are reproduced below.


Salon Staff

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