Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was today convicted by the Illinois State Senate, and removed from office by a vote of 59-0. Blagojevich had addressed the State Senate and defended his actions as Governor: From MSNBC:
Blagojevich acknowledged he sometimes mingled campaign fundraising with government decisions or cut administrative corners to achieve his goals. But he maintained his motivation was always to help constituents. FBI wiretaps from a federal corruption probe captured something “all of us in politics do in order to run campaigns and win elections,” Blagojevich told senators, who were to vote later Thursday on ousting him.
The governor said he would like to apologize, but couldn’t because he didn’t do anything wrong. The senators watched attentively. Many leaned forward in their seats. Some took notes.
The Senate’s impeachment prosecutor offered a different version:
Blagojevich’s emotional defense was in sharp contrast to the picture drawn by impeachment prosecutor David Ellis. He told senators Blagojevich’s own words, caught on tape in the federal corruption probe, reveal an abuse of power.
“Every decision this governor made was based on one of three criteria: his legal situation, his personal situation and his political situation,” Ellis said.
“The people of this state deserve so much better. The governor should be removed from office,” he added.
And Rod is now gone, to be replaced by Lt. Governor Patrick Quinn. An extraordinary political saga, even by Illinois political standards comes to an end.