Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Nix-onian answers

Sheila Nix is Governor Blagojevich's campaign spokeswoman. She is one of the twin towers of babble (Abby Ottenhoff is the other) who defend Rod when he isn't around to defend himself, which is most of the time.

It is understandable that Blagojevich's campaign doesn't want to answer why it is being billed at a rate of $1.5 million a year by the same firm that represented George Ryan against corruption charges. Everyone who has followed this governor knows that the legal bills are to defend against his own state and federal corruption investigations.

Yet here's what we get from Camp Blago:

Campaign spokeswoman Sheila Nix said the firm's work includes routine election law, handling nuisance lawsuits and reviewing state hiring procedures to make sure they comply with the law.

Nix would not discuss whether it also includes responding to a federal probe of Blagojevich hiring practices or the similar state investigation recently shelved at the request of federal prosecutors.

"I'm not going to go into any more detail," she said. "Winston & Strawn does a lot of legal services. I've told you what the vast majority of them are, but I'm not going to talk about any more specific than that."

Nix said Winston & Strawn's bill may be inaccurate. She said the campaign disputes "a fair portion" of the total.
What? Let's go over the answer.

1. Routine election law. That is a charge that usually sets a big campaign back anywhere from $1,000 to $20,000. An irrelevancy.

2. Nuisance lawsuits. I don't believe there any nuisance lawsuits filed against the campaign. And if they are truly "nuisance" lawsuits, government lawyers can dispose of them quite legitimately.

3. Reviewing hiring procedures. Rod Blagojevich said in 2005 that Winston did that work in 2003 when the firm recommended systems be put in place to ensure proper conduct. These bills are for the first six months of 2006. Nice try, Sheila.

Those are three of the lamest explanations possible for the $722,000 in legal bills. The whole world seems to know the charges are for serious criminal defense work but Sheila Nix tries to tell us "black is white." On this one, I hope the media bores in.

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