Monday, August 21, 2006

Rod's gifts that keep giving

We have already documented how Rod Blagojevich's family income jumped considerably since he became governor. The Daily Herald's Eric Krol documented he also has been receiving some mystery gifts as well.

The graphics below tell the story. They are from the Illinois Secretary of State's website. All high-ranking state officials must annually complete a Statement of Economic Interest that details investments, gifts, etc.
This is what Rod filed in May 2004 for calendar year 2003 in the "gifts" section. As you can see, any gifts of $500 or more must be declared.

In March 2005, one month after Rod was questioned by federal agents in relation to corruption investigations, he amended his 2004 filing. He changed his disclosures in the "gifts" section.

Here's the amended gift section for calendar year 2003. Note that he dropped the language about baby/baptism gifts and added five individuals or couples. What were those gifts? Rod won't say.

Here's the section for both calendar year 2004 and 2005. Same as the amendment for calendar year 2003. So, in aggregate, Rod has accepted at least $12,000 in gifts the past three years and won't say what he accepted. Cash? A car? A boat? Let your imagination run wild because our "reform" governor refuses to tell you.

Who are the people he accepted gifts from?

Chris Kelly, Tony Rezko -- Rod's two top fundraisers. Both are under scrutiny by the U.S. Attorney's office in various corruption investigations. They are the two "close associates" of Public Official A in the infamous Joe Cari plea agreement, according to published reports. Those same published reports name Blagojevich as Public Official A.

Lon Monk -- Rod's chief of staff and now, his campaign manager.

John Wyma -- Lobbyist who has made hundreds of thousands of dollars by representing companies that do business with the state.

Betty Bukraba -- Member of the state's Civil Service Commission, the panel that is deciding the fate of key whistleblowers in the governor's hiring scandal.

Mike, Beverly Ascaridis -- Mike Ascaridis is Rod's longtime friend. His wife is an employee of the state Department of Natural Resources.

Richard and Marge Mell -- Patti Blagojevich's parents.

Robert and Julie Blagojevich -- Rod's brother and his wife.

Rod needs to clear the air on this.

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