Please welcome Hilary Russell, left, and Jamey Dunn, two new Public Affairs Reporting interns for Illinois Issues. This is their first time contributing to this blog.
The Illinois House could consider whether there is cause for impeachment of Gov. Rod Blagojevich this Friday or Saturday, although a special investigative committee is still collecting evidence before it submits a report to the full chamber.
The House committee added another dimension to its rap sheet Wednesday afternoon by rehashing a confidential report that outlined problematic hiring and firing practices in the administration.
Get ready for a more circus-like atmosphere Thursday, when members will hear from U.S. Senate-designate Roland Burris.
Rep. Jim Durkin, the GOP spokesman for the committee, said he wants to hear specifics surrounding Burris’ appointment, including when he donated money to the governor’s political campaign. The committee subpoenaed the treasurer of Friends of Blagojevich. “He was served, and he stated he would not be able to have that information ready for us within the next few days," Durkin said. "I’m doubtful if he would have it completed by January 20." But the information could still be useful in a Senate trial, he added.
Committee members also are waiting for the final word on whether they will receive FBI recordings of Blagojevich’s conversations. They could find out Thursday afternoon; however, both Republicans and Democrats say they are confident that the case can proceed without them.
“As much as I think this information is probably critical, I’m looking at the fact that this governor has been under investigation since January of ’03,” said Rep. Suzanne Bassi, a Republican member of the investigation committee. “The executive inspector general has been looking at him in ‘04. We had problems with him. We knew that he was being investigated in ‘06 when he was reelected. We have all kinds of issues at this point He has been already cut off by the Homeland Security people. He’s cost us [some] $20 million because of his trials and tribulations. You guys, we are beating a dead horse here. For goodness sakes, let’s get moving on this.”
If the full House votes to impeach Blagojevich, then he undergoes a full trial in the Senate.