As far back as 1871, Chicago has been reputed as a city with a shady political scene. In fact, Chicago’s reputation has earned it a statement from the head of the FBI Office in Chicago, in which he said “If Illinois isn’t the most corrupt state in the United States, it’s a strong competitor.”
Which just makes this event, which was held between December 7 and December 10 this year, absolutely hilarious. Yes, you read that right, Chicago hosted the 30th Annual Governmental Ethics Conference.
So when the Democratic Governor of Illinois got arrested in the three day window for this Governmental Ethics Conference, my sides ached. I’m not going to speculate on the guilt or innocence of Governor Rod Blagojevich, although it appears based on media reports that there is good reason for the FBI to be investigating the Governor.
Even more intriguing is the question of whether President-elect Barack Obama knew anything about Gov. Blagojevich’s actions. As many know, Obama was born as a political figure in the Chicago Democratic Machine. But whether he knew that people in the Democratic Party would sell his Senate seat to the highest bidder? I highly doubt it. However, I wouldn’t rule out that he may have suspected that such business may go on after he became President-elect.
There are a couple of links between the President-elect and Governor Blagojevich, although they’re far from conclusive. They were both members of the same party in the same city, and would almost certainly have met at social Party events and all kinds of varied events in Illinois.
Another point of interest is that the son of David Axelrod, Obama’s chief astroturfer advisor, allegedly once worked in Gov. Blagojevich’s office. I can accept that there are all kinds of networks in any given city, but something about this makes Obama’s uninvolvement look a touch suspect. After all, Axelrod was the chief driving force behind both getting Barack Obama nominated as a Presidential candidate, and if Axelrod’s son worked for Governor Blagojevich, then Axelrod and Blagojevich at the least knew each other in a social setting.
The social networks and intertwined links involved in both the offices of Governor and State Senator make Obama’s calls for Blagojevich’s resignation look incredibly hollow.
UPDATE: I’m so glad that I’m not the only person who finds this funny!