Blagojevich Touched Us All
Usually the arrest of a corrupt Chicago politician would afford, at best, a paragraph of coverage here at Gawker. It's Dog-bites-man news. But Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is a magical figure, who is connected, directly and indirectly, with so many beloved Gawker characters. Steve Dressler put together this little illustration of Blago's Web of Deceit, and all those who've been caught in it. Join us for explanations, below.
- Barack Obama. Blago wanted to sell Obama's vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder.
- Rahm Emanuel Obama's incoming chief of staff was the one Blago wanted to negotiate with—he hoped to get stuff from Rahm in exchange for picking Obama's preferred candidate. Also Rahm maybe alerted the feds!
- Tony Rezko This Chicago fundraiser and felon raised a fortune for Blago, and a smaller fortune for Obama back in the day. From Blago he got plum appointments for associates and friends, and lord knows what else.
- Sam Zell Blago was unhappy with the Chicago Tribune's coverage of how corrupt he was, so he told the owner of their parent company, Zell, to make them cut it out. Zell, who needed the state's help to unload the Chicago Cubs, allegedly agreed to look into it. Zell also connects us to Lee Abrams! Abrams is Zell's friend and Tribune Co's insane "Chief Innovation Officer." He will hopefully have a crazy memo about this soon.
- John McCormick This is the Tribune editor who was mean to Blago all the time. Supposedly Zell agreed to have him "restructured" out of his job in exchange for state help with Tribune's bankruptcy, but this didn't actually happen.
- Patrick Fitzgerald the dreamboat US Attorney who's bringing Blago down is known as a tenacious prosecutor, and he was already famous for his role investigating Plamegate, the weird old scandal in which Bush administration officials leaked the name of a covert CIA operative to journalists to damager her husband's credibility. That scandal, as we all remember, ended up with Times reporter and terrible hack Judy Miller going to jail rather than revealing to Fitzgerald that her source was Scooter Libby, even though Libby had already given her permission to reveal this.
- Jesse Jackson Jr. It's sill possible that "Senate Candidate 5" is Jesse Jackson, Jr. Even if he isn't, he's a family friend of the Obamas (specifically his childhood friend Michelle) who is seen by many as a front-runner for Obama's vacant seat. So Blago would obviously have been in contact with him regarding the seat, and what Blago wanted in exchange for giving it to him. Meanwhile Jackson's brother Yusef was an investor in a magazine called Radar with pervy billionaire friend-of-Clinton Ron Burkle!
- Also Jesse Jackson Sr was on The Oprah Winfrey Show, as was Kelly Preson, who was in Death Sentence with Kevin Bacon!