A corruption scandal in President-elect Obama‘s backyard is the last thing this country needs. But like it or not, that’s exactly what we have in the unfolding drama of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich‘s arrest earlier this week for trying to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat.
The federal prosecutor in the case — Patrick Fitzgerald, the man whose investigation of the Valerie Plame leak case nearly paralyzed the Bush White House for a time — has made it clear that nothing ties Mr. Obama directly to the Blagojevich scheme. But the timing of Mr. Fitzgerald’s announcement raises some serious questions.
By Linda Chavez
The Washington Times
Apparently, Mr. Fitzgerald knew Mr. Blagojevich was trolling for bidders for the Obama seat in the waning days of the general election. Before the first votes were counted to elect Mr. Obama president, Mr. Blagojevich was so confident in Mr. Obama’s victory he was already soliciting bids for the seat. And Mr. Fitzgerald already had substantial evidence that Mr. Blagojevich was engaged in major corruption before the governor put a “for sale” sign on the Senate seat. So why didn’t the federal prosecutor act prior to the election? Had he done so, of course, it could have damaged Mr. Obama.
Many would argue that bringing down another Illinois Democrat before the election would have smelled like a dirty trick. The federal prosecutor, after all, was a Republican appointee, and the McCain campaign had already run ads trying to tie Mr. Obama to political corruption in Chicago.
One of Mr. Obama’s early financial supporters, land developer Tony Rezko, was convicted on corruption charges earlier this year….
Antoin ‘Tony’ Rezko AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File