Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Obama's predecessor the real change agent

Ironically, the person most responsible for change in Illinois was Barack Obama's predecessor, former US Senator Peter Fitzgerald, a Republican.

The more the pay-to-play investigation into Gov. Rod Blagojevich's campaign/administration unfolds, the more that becomes apparent. The more evidence that emerges, the more it places Obama on the side of status quo/corruption and shows just how significant it was that Fitzgerald bucked his own party and chose U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald over its objections.

Patrick Fitzgerald dumped another bombshell on Blagojevich today in a plea agreement devastating to both Blagojevich and one of his two two fundraisers and operatives, Tony Rezko.

In a development that could have a significant impact on the federal investigation into pay-to-play politics in Blagojevich's administration, Ali D. Ata, the former executive director of the Illinois Finance Authority, pleaded guilty Tuesday afternoon to lying to federal agents about how he got his post.

Ata marks the third person to say under oath that the governor offered to trade favors in return for raising money for his campaign.

Rezko, in the midst of his corruption trial, suddenly looks like a sure bet to be convicted. That is more bad news for Obama, who, while Rezko was in the federal cross hairs, accepted his help in buying his $1.6 million mansion.

Just as significantly, Obama did exactly zero to speak out or stop the rampant corruption that has been openly percolating in his home state during his rise to power nationally. He acted like an old time pol by looking the other way. Meanwhile, Fitzgerald, a man I had the honor to work for, risked his political future by alienating his own political party when it wanted to put a safer pick in the U.S. Attorney's office. Don't be deceived by Obama's declaration that he helped pass ethics legislation in the state senate. That legislation coincided with the most corrupt period in state government history so anyone looking at results, not rhetoric, shouldn't be impressed.

The Blagojevich corruption scandal will just get worse, culminating in the indictment of the governor. Obama's chance to stand up and be counted in Illinois has long since passed. The self-proclaimed change agent can't change that sorry history.

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