Anti-Gaming Governor Busted On Corruption Charges

Anti-Gaming Governor Busted On Corruption Charges

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Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who you may recall for his high-profile and expensively futile crusade against videogames, has something besides Grand Theft Auto to occupy his attention these days: He was recently arrested and slapped with federal corruption charges.

Blagojevich and his chief of staff were arrested yesterday on charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery, according to a CNN report. The charges allege that Blagojevich attempted to extort payment in exchange for appointing a Senate replacement for President-elect Barack Obama, including a position at either a non-profit or labor-related organization with a "significant salary," a position on corporate boards for his wife, "cash up front" campaign funds or a Cabinet or Ambassadorial post for himself.

In a statement, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said, "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; involved himself personally in pay-to-play schemes with the urgency of a salesman meeting his annual sales target; and corruptly used his office in an effort to trample editorial voices of criticism."

Corrupt politicians are nothing new, but Blagojevich gets special notice for attempting to impose restrictions on selling violent videogames to minors, a law which was struck down by a federal court in 2005 because it violated the First Amendment. Nothing too particularly awful about that, but in response the state government blew almost $1 million unsuccessfully appealing the decision, despite the fact that similar laws in other states had been struck down for precisely the same reasons. Making matters worse, funds to pay for the appeal ultimately had to come from other state agencies, including the public health department and state welfare agency, leading State Government Committee Chairman Jack Franks to say, "We had a strong suspicion that the Governor was using funds appropriated by the General Assembly as his own personal piggy bank."

Prior to that, in 2004, Blagojevich had criticized the Chicago Transit Authority for agreeing to run an ad campaign for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The ads were eventually pulled, although the CTA claimed Blagojevich's efforts weren't actually responsible for the decision, saying that the advertising contract with Take-Two was nearing the end of its run anyway.

The investigation into alleged wrongdoing by the Illinois Governor and his office has actually been ongoing since 2003, according to the complaint (available here via the Chicago Tribune, PDF format) which details numerous exchanges between Blagojevich, his Chief of Staff John Harris and numerous other individuals. In an early November conversation regarding the nomination of a replacement for Obama's Senate seat, Blagojevich said, "I've got this thing and it's f--king golden and, uh, uh, I'm just not giving it up for f--king nothing. I'm not gonna do it." He also stated that if he wasn't satisfactorily compensated, he would simply take the seat for himself. "Unless I get something real good for [his first-choice candidate], shit, I'll just send myself, you know what I'm saying."

Sadly, this level of corruption and illegal activity at high levels of State government is nothing new for Illinois. "We're all about corrupt politicians here in Illinois," said one concerned citizen, pointing out that Blagojevich's predecessor as Governor, George Ryan, is currently serving six years and six months in prison resulting from his own conviction on federal corruption charges. Robert Grant, the special agent in charge of the Chicago office of the FBI, also expressed dismay at the situation, saying, "If [Illinois] isn't the most corrupt state in the United States, it's certainly one hell of a competitor."

Blagojevich, a phenomenally unpopular Governor whose approval ratings recently slipped as low as 13 percent, was released on bail and returned to work this morning, but many of his colleagues, including Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn and President-elect Obama, have called on him to resign. Unsurprisingly, he has thus far maintained his innocence, saying through his attorney, "He hopes the people of Illinois have faith in him because he will be vindicated."

Sources: GamePolitics, Chicago Tribune

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Is this ironic? It sounds like it should be ironic.

This is what happens when you go against the gaming behemoth.
Not that I am encouraging it or anything...

TheBadass:
Is this ironic? It sounds like it should be ironic.

Doesn't have to be. This stuff is golden as it is. :p

God money i'll do anything for you.
God money just tell me what you want me to.
God money nail me up against the wall.
God money don't want everything he wants it all.

bow down before the one you serve.
you're going to get what you deserve.

head like a hole.
black as your soul.
i'd rather die than give you control.

-Nine Inch Nails, Head Like a Hole

LOL everyone who tries to take down gaming always gets arrested/charged gaming is like a justice force, everyone who opposes us are criminals!

This man is a douche. and I'm in Australia. He doesn't even affect me and i think he's a douche. is that a sign?

And isn't the whole US system of government about personal wealth and corruption anyway? he who has the most decides he most?
I mean, how do you think George Dubya Bush got to be president?

PsyberGoth:
I mean, how do you think George Dubya Bush got to be president?

Because America voted him into office, that's how, nothing else.

Ice Storm:

PsyberGoth:
I mean, how do you think George Dubya Bush got to be president?

Because America voted him into office, that's how, nothing else.

okay, okay. *cough*Florida*cough*

PsyberGoth:
This man is a douche. and I'm in Australia. He doesn't even affect me and i think he's a douche. is that a sign?

A sign of knowing who to not trust or like, yeah.

Back on Topic *laughs uncontrollably*

"If irony was made of strawberries, we'd all be drinking a lot of smoothies right now" - South Park

Hahahahahahahahahaha. Damn right.
Karma bitch!
Corruption for all!
But I heard he got out on bail.

Ah America! My home and native land! A place where the corrupt can work for top dollar and swear like there's no tomorrow on public media.

Gotta admire him being able to be himself (a total douche) under such pressure though.

My state is the laughing stock of the United States of America, four out of our last six governors have been arrested...I hate my life.
In other news, I actually liked Blagojevich before he pulled this stunt. He tried to create some sort of massive book drive, and seemed to be an all around humanitarian.

I hate you Rod.

Just another example of the extreme right wing agenda trying to bring videogames down!! Oh wait... hes a democrat.

Wilzor:
Just another example of the extreme right wing agenda trying to bring videogames down!! Oh wait... hes a democrat.

Yes and it will be interesting to see how far this goes and how many Chicago politicians it will bring down.

Indeed, it is a bit ironic as well as a huge slap in the face.
He pretty much deserves this though.

yeah this is quite sad, still down with yet another of gaming's many enemies. Too bad either way an enemy of gaming was going to win the White House, but I think Obama can bring about enough positive that I am more than willing to overlook that.
As for this guy, he deserves whatever he gets for this.

As a Chicagoan, I can say it's a relief to see him go; open-road tolling alone can't keep a man in office. Unfortunately, Illinois's reputation for corruption doesn't necessarily exclude the president-elect. Hopefully, nothing will come out during the course of the indictment.

@ this time his best response would be: VIDEO GAMES made me do it!

Since he ran on a platform of cleaning up corruption, if he goes to jail they should make him scrub out the toilets. At least then he could keep that promise.

ChocoCake:
This is what happens when you go against the gaming behemoth.
Not that I am encouraging it or anything...

DamienHell:
LOL everyone who tries to take down gaming always gets arrested/charged gaming is like a justice force, everyone who opposes us are criminals!

*headdesk*

See what you've done, Malygris? None of this has anything at all to do with his stance on gaming. It's hardly even a coincidence. Sure the guy's an ass, and he deserves whatever is coming his way. But this isn't some backhanded form of gamer justice.

 

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