Rod Blagojevich, former Governor of Illinois, convicted for extortion and multiple corruption charges, has had his sentence commuted by none other than President Trump. In a move that is, honestly, no surprise to anyone, whether you knew it was coming or not, Donald Trump decided to let his old television buddy off the hook early. For some reason.
Mr. Blagojevich was seen on season 3 of Mr. Trump’s show The Celebrity Apprentice and is also known for his infamous attempt at selling the vacated Obama Senate seat after the 2008 presidential election. This landed him in hot water, receiving an impeachment from the Illinois Congress, in which both chambers voted unanimously on every inquiry and motion to proceed with stripping Blagojevich of his governorship. After that, it was federal court for the former Governor, who only received further punitive measures with convictions landing him 14 years in prison, of which he served 7.
In fact, we in Illinois have quite the history of locking up our politicians. Let’s also not forget former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, who served 13 months for a structuring charge during a trial sparked by his having (allegedly) paid off boys he sexually abused as a coach at a local high school. Blagojevich wasn’t even the first Illinois Governor to be put behind bars too, he’s actually number four on the list. Our current governor J.B. Pritzker was even offered that Senate seat by Blagojevich himself, although Pritzker refused the deal. Mayoral seats are just revolving doors of inevitable controversy, and it seems the only static is the reign of the Lich King Mike Madigan. We even have our own honest-to-God Wikipedia page on corruption in Illinois.
We have a problem. And the last thing we need is for Trump to be letting out one of his (many) rich buddies just because they got along on camera.
Trump did this after freeing Dinesh D’souza, but ultimately it was the wrong call. Blagojevich tried to pawn off one of the most important offices in the entire United States for some political or economic “golden egg” opportunity, and should have had to serve the full sentence given to him. With a Governorship that definitely-totally-100-percent-wasn’t-bought, an absolute Democrat domination of all bodies of government (Illinois Democratic officials mind you), and the legalization of cannabis in Illinois, the last thing this loopy state needs is a crazy former Governor running around getting any ideas.
The only upside to all of this is at least Blagojevich was barred from holding office in the state of Illinois thanks to the aforementioned bipartisan motions of his impreachment. Even still, it’s unlikely he’ll be one of the many people flocking to leave the Land of Lincoln. More likely, expect to hear him on the radio waves and frequenting the circuit as a political commentator.
Illinois didn’t even want this, mind you. It’s surprising, the level of bipartisan support against him that remains one of the few things still unifying Illinoians. One thing is for certain though, we ain’t seen the last of Ol’ Blago yet!