Archive for the ‘U.S. Senate’ Category

Burris Turned Away at Door of U.S. Senate

January 6, 2009

The man appointed to fill Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat, Roland Burris, was turned away from the door of the U.S. Senate this morning.

In a brief news confernce outside the U.S. Capitol building in the rain, Burris spoke briefly before turing the event over to his lawyers.

Burris looked scared and dismayed amid a throng of reporters on a dark, cold, rainy and wet Washington DC.

CNN called the event a “circus” and reported “Burris was surrounded by a swarm of reporters as he tried to join the other senators on the first day of the new Congress.”

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has offered Senate Appointee Roland Burris office space not far from the Capitol.

Above: Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has offered Senate Appointee Roland Burris office space not far from the Capitol.

The Associated Press reported that:

A Democratic official says the secretary of the Senate has turned former Illinois attorney general Roland Burris away from taking the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

Burris left the Capitol offices of the secretary, Nancy Erickson, after a meeting of about 20 minutes.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090106/a
p_on_go_co/senate_burris

Illinois U.S. Senate appointee Roland Burris talks with the ...
Roland Burris
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Blago U.S. Senate Appointee Burris On TV Sunday, Busy Schedule

January 4, 2009

Senate appointee Roland Burris has plans to speak before ministers and supporters before he departs for Washington.

Embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich appointed Burris to Barack Obama‘s vacant U.S. Senate seat last week, but Senate Democratic leaders say they’ll reject any appointee named by Blagojevich.

Burris says he will attend a Sunday evening prayer vigil at a church on Chicago’s South Side before addressing his supporters. The group is coordinated by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush.

Burris also is scheduled to appear Sunday morning on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

Late Saturday, Burris issued a statement saying he still plans to leave for Washington on Monday to claim the U.S. Senate seat.

–Associated Press

Related:
Illinois: Thanks for “Nutjob New Year” (Blagoyevich, Rush, Burris)

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich stands by as his choice to fill ... 
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich stands by as his choice to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat, former Ill. Attorney General Roland Burris addresses the media Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008, in Chicago. Through numerous TV interviews and behind-the-scenes lobbying, Burris is campaigning hard for the Senate. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Rethink Practice of Governors Filling Vacant U.S. Senate Seats

December 31, 2008

Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat was allegedly for sale in Illinois.  Then the tarnished Governor made a circus out of appoining a new U.S. Senator and there seemed a strong message in his news conference that the seat was reserved for African Americans.  Only.

Why shouldn’t the people decide?

Blago’s pick said the appointment was legal.  Great: but it that how we want one of only 100 national lawmakers to get into office?  He’s legal?  So is a lot of seafood….
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Above: Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, right, named Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the Senate. Photo: Amanda Rivkin for The New York Times

In New York, a lady with a big name and not much to say is the leading contender for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton.  The lady with the big name and lots of money hasn’t shown much interest in politics or issues previously and seems unable to articulate positions on many topics today, you know?
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So in New York we have a celebrity auction for the U.S. Senate.  Why not decide on “American Idol”?

Why can’t the voters decide?

Governors appointing U.S. Senators seems to make a mockery of democrocy and takes away a key right and priviledge of every voter: to see, evaluate and decide for themselves after a “campaign.”

What we have now in these two “appointment” capers is a media circus of attention and vote by writers, reporters and pundits of the “high profile” possibilities.

These are the last people on earth I trust with my vote…

And if the voters are not asked to decide then put into place a “caretaker” system that allows a person of stature, wisdom and skill to fill the Senate seat while promising not to run in the next election.  At that time we can go back to an elected Senator with unknown wisdom and skill….

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

Related:
Blagojevich Playing The “Race Card”? Hurting Illinois, Obama, African Americans?
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Caroline Kennedy Has “Nothing to Say” (And Says It Badly)
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From CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/1
2/31/illinois.senate/index.html

New York Gov. David Paterson speaks during a news conference ... 
New York Gov. David Paterson speaks during a news conference in Albany, N.Y., Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2008. Caroline Kennedy has told Paterson that she’s interested in the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton, making her the highest-profile candidate to express a desire for the job.(AP Photo)

Caroline Kennedy Registered in 1988, “Hasn’t Voted a Lot”

December 19, 2008

Many seem overjoyed at the notion that a woman who doesn’t vote much may become the next U.S. Senator from New York by gaining only one vote herself: the vote of the Governor of New York David Paterson ….

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Caroline Kennedy wants to be the next senator from New York,  but her voting record is already spotty, the Daily News has found.

City Board of Elections records show Kennedy has failed to vote in many elections since she registered in the city in 1988 – including votes for the Senate seat she hopes to fill and numerous Democratic faceoffs for mayor.

ByErin Einhorn and David Saltonstall  
New York Daily News

Caroline Kennedy lacks political experience but she brings the ... 
Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, listens to a reporter’s question.  Kennedy is campaigning for the open Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton.
(AP Photo/Don Heupel)

“It doesn’t speak to a deep-felt commitment to the electoral process,” Baruch College political scientist Doug Muzzio said when told of Kennedy’s ballot breakdowns.

Records show Kennedy did not pull the lever for any of her fellow Democrats in city primary races for mayor in 1989, 1993 and 1997 and 2005, which Republicans went on to win three out of four times in the general election.

She was also AWOL for the primary and general elections in 1994, when Sen. Daniel Moynihan was running for reelection to the seat Kennedy hopes to hold.

Read the rest:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2008/1
2/18/2008-12-18_records_show_caroline
_kennedy_failed_to_.html

New York Gov. David Paterson speaks during a news conference ... 
New York Gov. David Paterson speaks during a news conference in Albany, N.Y., Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2008. Caroline Kennedy has told Paterson that she’s interested in the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton, making her the highest-profile candidate to express a desire for the job.(AP Photo)

It’s Caroline Kennedy’s Sense of Entitlement or U.S. House of Lords?

December 19, 2008

idea, wrong argument. The problem with Caroline Kennedy’s presumption to Hillary Clinton‘s soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat is not lack of qualification or experience. The Senate houses lots of inexperienced rookies — wealthy businessmen, sports stars, even the occasional actor.

The problem is Kennedy’s sense of entitlement. Given her rather modest achievements, she is trading entirely on pedigree.

By Charles Krauthammer

I hate to be a good-government scold, but wasn’t the American experiment a rather firm renunciation of government by pedigree?

Yes, the Founders were not democrats. They believed in aristocracy. But their idea was government by natural — not inherited — aristocracy, an aristocracy of “virtue and talents,” as Jefferson put it.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ar
ticle/2008/12/18/AR2008121803175.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

The Rev. Al Sharpton, left, and Caroline Kennedy have lunch ... 
The Rev. Al Sharpton, left, and Caroline Kennedy have lunch at famed soul food restaurant Sylvia’s in Harlem, New York, Thursday Dec. 18, 2008. The late President John F. Kennedy’s daughter acknowledged Thursday that she is seeking to be appointed to the U.S. Senate seat held by Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has been nominated by President-elect Barack Obama to be secretary of state.(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

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“I don’t know what Caroline Kennedy‘s qualifications are. Except that she has name recognition, but so does J-Lo.”

Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.)

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Caroline Kennedy Not A Regular Voter

ByErin Einhorn and David Saltonstall  
New York Daily News

Caroline Kennedy wants to be the next senator from New York, but her voting record is already spotty, the Daily News has found.

City Board of Elections records show Kennedy has failed to vote in many elections since she registered in the city in 1988 – including votes for the Senate seat she hopes to fill and numerous Democratic faceoffs for mayor.

“It doesn’t speak to a deep-felt commitment to the electoral process,” Baruch College political scientist Doug Muzzio said when told of Kennedy’s ballot breakdowns.

Records show Kennedy did not pull the lever for any of her fellow Democrats in city primary races for mayor in 1989, 1993 and 1997 and 2005, which Republicans went on to win three out of four times in the general election.

She was also AWOL for the primary and general elections in 1994, when Sen. Daniel Moynihan was running for reelection to the seat Kennedy hopes to hold.

Read the rest:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2008/1
2/18/2008-12-18_records_show_caroline
_kennedy_failed_to_.html

Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, ... 
Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, listens to a reporter’s question during a news conference at City Hall in Buffalo, N.Y. on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008. Kennedy is campaigning for the open Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton.(AP Photo/Don Heupel)

Illinois Governor Arrested

December 9, 2008

“I don’t care whether you tape me privately or publicly. I can tell you that whatever I say is always lawful,” Blagojevich said Monday after an unrelated press conference….

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Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday on charges of conspiring to get financial benefits through his authority to appoint a U.S. senator to fill the vacancy left by Barack Obama‘s election as president. has been taken into federal custody at his home, the Chicago Tribune reported on Tuesday citing unnamed sources.

According to a federal criminal complaint, Blagojevich also was charged with illegally threatening to withhold state assistance to Tribune Co., the owner of the Chicago Tribune, in the sale of Wrigley Field. In return for state assistance, Blagojevich allegedly wanted members of the paper’s editorial board who had been critical of him fired.

A 76-page FBI affidavit said the 51-year-old Democratic governor was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps over the last month conspiring to sell or trade the vacant Senate seat for personal benefits for himself and his wife, Patti.

The affidavit said Blagojevich discussed getting a substantial salary for himself at a nonprofit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions.

It said Blagojevich also talked about getting his wife placed on corporate boards where she might get $150,000 a year in director’s fees.

He also allegedly discussed getting campaign funds for himself or possibly a post in the president’s cabinet or an ambassadorship once he left the governor’s office.

“I want to make money,” the affidavit quotes him as saying in one conversation.

U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in a statement that “the breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering.”

“They allege that Blagojevich put a for sale sign on the naming of a United States senator,” Fitzgerald said.”

Among those being considered for the post include U.S. Reps. Danny Davis and Jesse Jackson Jr.

Blagojevich also was charged with using his authority as governor in an attempt to squeeze out campaign contributions.

His chief of staff, John Harris, also was arrested.

Corruption in the Blagojevich administration has been the focus of a federal investigation involving an alleged $7 million scheme aimed at squeezing kickbacks out of companies seeking business from the state. Federal prosecutors have acknowledged they’re also investigating “serious allegations of endemic hiring fraud” under Blagojevich.

Political fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko who raised money for the campaigns of both Blagojevich and Obama is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of fraud and other charges. Blagojevich’s chief fundraiser, Christopher G. Kelly, is due to stand trial early next year on charges of obstructing the Internal Revenue Service.

According to Tuesday’s complaint, Blagojevich schemed with Rezko, millionaire-fundraiser turned federal witness Stuart Levine and others to get financial benefits for himself and his campaign committee.

Federal prosecutors said Blagojevich and the chairman of his campaign committee have been speeding up corrupt fundraising activities in the last month to get as much money as possible before the end of the year when a new law would curtail his ability to raise contributions from companies with state contracts worth more than $50,000.

According to the affidavit, agents learned Blagojevich was seeking $2.5 million in campaign contributions by the end of the year, with a large part allegedly to come from companies and individuals who have gotten state contracts or appointments.

Blagojevich took the chief executive’s office in 2003 as a reformer promising to clean up former Gov. George Ryan’s mess.

Ryan, a Republican, is serving a 6-year prison sentence after being convicted on racketeering and fraud charges. A decade-long investigation began with the sale of driver’s licenses for bribes and led to the conviction of dozens of people who worked for Ryan when he was secretary of state and governor.

Rod Blagojevich AP

FBI spokesman Frank Bochte said federal agents arrested the governor and Harris simultaneously at their homes at 6:15 a.m. and took them to the Chicago FBI headquarters.

Bochte said he did not know if either man was handcuffed or if the governor’s family was their North Side home at the time of his arrest. He did say Blagojevich and Harris both were given time to get dressed before being taken to the headquarters.

He also did not have any details about Blagojevich’s arrest, only that he was cooperative with federal agents.

“It was a very calm setting,” he said.

The governor was to appear later Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan to answer the charges. The time was not immediately set.

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Associated Press Writer Don Babwin contributed to this report.

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich

The newspaper said on its website that the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago would not confirm the information.

Blagojevich was the subject of a federal corruption probe.

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In this April 18, 2007 file photo, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich ... 
In this April 18, 2007 file photo, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich speaks at the 45th Annual Illinois Governor’s Prayer Breakfast in Springfield, Ill. Authorities in Chicago have arrested Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich on federal charges. U.S. Attorney’s office spokesman Randall Samborn says both Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008.(AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

John Harris, the Chief of Staff to the governor,  was also taken into custory.  The corruption charges include mail fraud and wire fraud.  The evidences was collected apparently due to a court ordered wire tap.  Fox news reported that the extent of curruption is “staggering.” 

From WLS TV

A source told ABC7’s Chuck Goudie that Gov. Blagojevich was taken into federal custody at his home on Sunnyside around 7 a.m. His chief of staff, John Harris, was also arrested.

“There was no advance notice given to either individual,” said Ross Rice, FBI.

The affidavit was unsealed around 8:30 a.m. That affidavit accused Gov. Blagojevich of, among other things, trying to obtain campaign contributions up front in consideration of an appointment to the Senate seat left open by Pres.- Elect Barack Obama.

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From the Associated Press
.
Corruption in the Blagojevich administration has been the focus of a federal Operation Board Games involving an alleged $7 million scheme aimed at squeezing kickbacks out of companies seeking business from the state. Federal prosecutors have acknowledged they’re also investigating “serious allegations of endemic hiring fraud” under Blagojevich.

The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday morning that the federal investigation had spread to Blagojevich’s efforts to fill the U.S. Senate vacancy left by the election of Barack Obama as president.

Political fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko who raised money for the campaigns of both Blagojevich and Obama is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of fraud and other charges. Blagojevich’s chief fundraiser, Christopher G. Kelly, is due to stand trial early next year on charges of obstructing the Internal Revenue Service.

Blagojevich, a Democrat, took the chief executive’s office in 2003 as a reformer promising to clean up former Gov. George Ryan’s mess.

Ryan, a Republican, is serving a six-year prison sentence after being convicted on racketeering and fraud charges. The decade-long investigation began with the sale of driver’s licenses for bribes and led to the conviction of dozens of people who worked for Ryan when he was secretary of state and governor.

 

Above: Tony Rezko.  Photo: Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Obama gets high rating for handling of transition

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Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois.
Amanda Rivkin/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images