Thursday, January 08, 2009

Draft impeachment report available

The full Illinois House is expected to vote Friday on whether to impeach Gov. Rod Blagojevich. A special committee charged with gathering evidence for potential impeachment released a 69-page draft report this morning, indicating the committee intends to recommend impeachment based on the “totality of evidence” presented for about a dozen offenses. (To see the report, visit the House committee's Web site and click on the top item: proposed report of the Special Investigative Committee.)

Rep. John Fritchey, a Chicago Democrat on the impeachment inquiry committee, said the proposed report has been vetted multiple times by committee members and that it was a fair and accurate representation of the evidence presented. “The findings of the report speak volumes as to what the bipartisan consensus and beliefs of the committee are.”

Republicans disagreed. Rep. Jim Durkin, a Western Springs Republican and minority spokesman for the committee, said he thought the report's release was premature. “I don’t understand the reasoning behind placing it into the public domain before the committee has finished their testimony or before committee [members] have actually had an opportunity to officially place it into evidence,” he said. As he said, he’s in the minority. And only House Speaker Michael Madigan and Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie can make that call.

The committee still plans to hear the testimony of former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris at 3 p.m. today. Members also expect to find out whether federal investigators will allow them to play four recorded conversations between Blagojevich and his inner circle, which is part of the criminal complaint against him.

The full House adjourned until 9 a.m. Friday.

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