Illinois Pols React To Blago’s Sentence: ‘Tough, But Fair’

CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois politicians were quick to weigh in after former Gov. Rod Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison on Wednesday for his corruption convictions, largely saying they hope it puts an end to corruption in the governor’s office.

Gov. Pat Quinn, who succeeded Blagojevich after he was removed from office in January 2009, said, “This is a somber day in our history. The sentencing of my predecessor Rod Blagojevich is a day that no one will forget.”

“Justice was served by the sentence meted out by the judge today,” he added.

READ: Rod Blagojevich Sentenced To 14 Years In Prison

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) issued a written statement: “I hope today’s sentencing finally draws this sad chapter in Illinois history to a close.”

Republican State Treasurer Dan Rutherford – who, as a state senator in 2009 voted to remove Blagojevich from office – also issued a prepared statement: “Rod Blagojevich brought the 14 year sentence on himself. He deceived the people of Illinois far too long for what the jury substantiated as his own personal gain. Today’s sentencing is proof that such corrupt, embarrassing behavior will no longer be tolerated in Illinois.”

Quinn, who was Blagojevich’s running mate in 2002 and 2006, said he felt betrayed by Blagojevich, who first ran for office on a reform platform in 2002, in the midst of a federal investigation of then-Gov. George Ryan, who is now serving a 6 ½-year sentence for his own corruption convictions.

“I think he (Blagojevich) let me down like he let down the people of Illinois,” Quinn said. “When you betray a trust, that’s a serious crime and I think the sentence magnifies how important it is to not have … that ever happen again.”

State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale), who ran for governor two years ago after voting to remove Blagojevich from office – said, “The sentence is tough, but it’s fair.”

“It sends a loud message to everyone in Illinois, including voters: We need to do more, we need to be more vigilant,” he added. “I want to make sure that Illinoisans don’t get discouraged and give up. They need to vote, because if they don’t go vote, you end up with just the worst people in government.”

Dillard also said he hopes Blagojevich’s sentence spurs lawmakers to work with good government groups to enact more strict ethics laws in Illinois.

“While you’ll never legislate morality, you can put up parameters that will hopefully keep people within the boundaries,” Dillard said. “Government and politics and campaign funds do not mix and you’ve got to separate the two.”

Quinn also pushed for ethics reform, in particular calling for an amendment to the Illinois Constitution that would allow voters to start petition drives to enact new ethics laws, rather than simply allowing on lawmakers to come up with new ethics legislation on their own.

“Illinois government belongs to the people. They’re the boss and they ought to have the right by petition and binding referendum to enact ethical standards for officials in state government and local government that the people see fit,” he said. “We should not just have to rely on a legislature or city councils or county boards.”

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, whom Blagojevich claimed he considered appointing to the U.S. Senate in order to appease her father, House Speaker Mike Madigan, said Blagojevich’s sentence won’t repair the harm he did to Illinois.

“Blagojevich became governor by promising ethical reform, but from the start, he relentlessly used his position to pursue illegal and morally bankrupt schemes motivated by power and greed,” Madigan said. “His conduct was disgraceful, and the cost to the state has been devastating. Blagojevich refused to govern responsibly and, instead, put Illinois up for sale. He tarnished the state’s reputation nationally and internationally, and he destroyed the public’s trust in government.”

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Illinois), who was elected to the Senate seat Blagojevich was convicted of trying to sell, said, the “sentence is a clear warning to all elected officials that public corruption of any form will not be tolerated. Illinois families have long suffered from an estimated $500 million hidden corruption tax. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has done a great service to Illinois by bringing two criminal governors to justice.”

  • Jim Hamilton

    As soon as i sell my property I’m out of this state. There is absolutely no point in the rest of Illinois residents to go vote when it’s all up to cook county anyways

    Support HB 148 The Right To Carry

    • Jim Hamilton

      it doesn’t matter if you vote or don’t vote in Illinois as long as Chicago can vote blue when the rest of the state votes red we’re F’d
      Support HB

    • GrammarCop

      Three things to further the cause that we’re fed up with biz as usual…#1eliminate the lobbyist industry…#2 enact campaign contribution reform allowing only contributions by individuals with a $2000 max…and #3 all elected officials including judges can serve a max of 2 terms. We enact these guidelines and all the krapola goes away…the human krapola and the krapola they manufacture via corruption and shakedowns!!!
      Why do u think the middle class is shrinking??? Because we no longer have the $$$ to speak our political will!!!

      • Jim

        Quinn must be shaking in his boots…I would wager that he will make 3 in a row for us! I think that contributions should be limited to $50…so the average Joe can contribute and not have ComEd contribute millions to pass an automatic rate hike for example. Our voices are being drowned out by the big companies and their deep pockets. Quinn says that we are the boss, and bla-bla-bla…but he raised our income taxes and I do not know 1 person that was for that. Obviously he doesn’t get it!

  • John H

    He should have been let go, He is no different then the rest of the political greed in Illinois and the rest of the world They just have not got caught yet. Just should have played the game correctly

  • ursula

    There is more political guys in Illinois worth checking for corruption….They should do jail time big time compare to this scapegoat….One thing clear Justice for ALL Mafia out!!!!..

  • zarathrusta

    Jailhouse Rock!

  • Jim Hamilton

    The reason the tapes all weren’t played is because Jessie and Barack would start screaming racist america! and Nancy would be screaming and all the democratic party would be screaming and and Jerry Right (Thinks he’s a Reverend) He’s full of shiit would be screaming Gawd dam america, and the judge here was a C O W A R D!!


    • Sandra


      Jim you said it

  • Sickened

    Michelle Mussman campaigned on “Mom on a mission.” She said she was going to root out corruption in the state. So far we haven’t heard anything from here except she’s against the 2nd Ammendment.

    So Ms. Mussman…when are you going to restart the invenstgation on Michael Madigan that was stopped once his daughter became states attorney? Oh…wait…Madigan got you 400,000 for your campaign and helped you get elected. Guess there’s not going to be any ‘Mom on a mission’ out of her. Her mission is to learn all the Democratic dirty tricks like Paul Froelich did when he switched parties.

  • bill burns

    How about the corruption in Obama’s office. Obviously every Chicago politician is on the take and has been for the past 100 years. Now the coloreds are running the city. The end is very near.

  • Here we go again

    Gov. Rod did nothing more then what every politician or CEO, bosss etc does everyday, I take care of you, you better take care of me, case closed

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