Thursday, December 6, 2007

Cari boxes in Blago

The real significance of indicted Democratic fundraiser Joe Cari's public statements, through his lawyer today and through sources in this important story, is that they don't allow Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to blame the federal pension investigation on former Republican Stuart Levine.

Last year, Rod tried to blame the scandal on Levine, an indicted former Republican insider who joined the Blagojevich fundraising team in 2003. Even the press sniffed out the absurdity of that defense because Rod reappointed him to boards and took a ride on a corporate jet with him to raise money in New York.

But what really put the kibosh on that defense was Cari's partial corroboration of Levine's general account in the Chicago Magazine article by Steve Rhodes and further today by a statement by Cari's lawyer, as reported by Rich Miller.

"There was a heavy interest in a period of time by the Blagojevich people to get Joe on the team to raise money. That recruitment effort - late 2003 and 2004 - was led by Tony Rezko, Chris Kelly, Stu Levine and Gov. Blagojevich. Joe politely declined every request, saying he had retired from politics."
The spotlight on Cari today was because of an AP story by John O'Connor that revealed that Cari was meeting with Blagojevich in March 2004, just weeks before his criminal shakedowns, as described in Cari's plea agreement.

Even Blago's logic twisters are having a difficult time spinning away from Joe Cari's account.

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