This is IN THE NEWS in VOA
week, the governor of the American state of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, was
arrested on federal corruption charges. The case includes accusations that he tried
to sell an appointment to Barack Obama's former seat in the United States
Senate. The governor has the power to make a temporary appointment.
The United States attorney in Chicago,
Patrick Fitzgerald, said the charges make no accusations about President-elect
On Thursday, the president-elect met
with reporters in Chicago to name top members of his health care team, to be
led by former senator Tom Daschle. But many questions dealt with the case.
PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA: "What
I want to do is to gather all the facts about any staff contacts that may have
taken place between the transition office and the governor's office and we will
have those in the next few days and we will present them. But what I am
absolutely certain about is that our office had no involvement in any deal
making around my Senate seat. That I am absolutely certain of."
joined calls for Governor Blagojevich, a Democrat, to resign.
Friday, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan made an extraordinary request to
the state Supreme Court. She asked to have the governor temporarily removed
from office, or at least prevented from filling the Senate seat. Lawmakers
could hold a special election instead.
those interested in the seat is Representative Jesse Jackson Junior, the son of
the civil rights leader. The Democratic congressman met with the governor. But
he said he was not involved in any wrongdoing and is not a target of the
The two-term governor says he has done
nothing wrong. He was arrested at his Chicago home on Tuesday. He was released for
now after a court appearance and returned to work the next day. He could face
up to thirty years in prison if he is found guilty.
other things, investigators say he tried to pressure a newspaper, the Chicago
Tribune, to dismiss opinion writers who criticized him. And officials suggest that
he even threatened to deny state money to a children's hospital if he did not
get a campaign donation.
Federal officials say they recorded
his phone calls. Yet it was no secret that he was under investigation.
corruption is nothing new to Illinois -- three former governors have gone to
jail in the past thirty-five years. Rod Blagojevich was elected in two thousand
two as a reform candidate. The governor before him, George Ryan, was found
guilty of corruption two years ago. He is now serving a six-and-a-half year prison
the newspaper USA Today says Illinois, for its population, is eighteenth among
the fifty states in convictions for public corruption. North Dakota, it says, had
the highest rate between nineteen ninety-eight and two thousand seven. But the
study looked only at cases won in federal courts.
Recently, two longtime members of Congress from
Alaska and Louisiana lost re-election at least in part because of
that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. I'm Steve