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A Senate Seat Is A "Valuable Thing"

There's an awful lot to chew on in the criminal complaing filed against Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich this morning – a re-appearance by Tony Rezko in the "pay-for-play" scandal, attempts to fire members of the Chicago Tribune editorial board critical of his administration among other things. But no doubt the biggest news nugget will be that regarding his alleged attempts to sell the vacant Senate seat formerly held by President-elect Barack Obama.

The federal criminal complaint states: "Intercepted phone calls demonstrate that Rod Blagojevich, John Harris [his Chief of Staff, also named in the complaint], and others have engaged and are engaged in efforts to obtain personal gain, including financial gain, for the benefit of Rod Blagojevich and his family through the corrupt use of Rod Blagojevich's authority as Governor of the State of Illinois to fill the vacant United States Senate Seat previously held by the President-elect."

The complaint alleges that communications intercepted by investigators show the governor to have been "conspiring" to trade the appointment, which his office has the sole power to make, for a place in Obama's cabinet or jobs for himself and his wife or funding for a private board for which he could work after leaving office.

As Politico notes, Blagojevich was caught on tape telling his Deputy Governor that unless he "received 'something real good' for the appointment of a top adviser to Barack Obama to fill the president-elect's Senate seat he would appoint himself." According to the complaint, he said, "Unless I get something real good [for Senate candidate 1], s***, I'll just send myself, you know what I'm saying," He added that a Senate seat: "is a f***ing valuable thing, you just don't give it away for nothing."

As Politico's Jonathan Martin reports, "The complaint does not mention her name, but the description makes clear that Blagojevich is referring to Valerie Jarrett, a senior campaign adviser to Obama who has been tapped as a top White House aide."

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