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Scandal in Illinois: Love in his heart

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Emanuel spoke directly to Blagojevich. "Emanuel talked with the governor in the days following the Nov. 4 election and pressed early on for the appointment of Valerie Jarrett to the post, sources with knowledge of the conversations told the Sun-Times. There was no indication from sources that Emanuel brokered a deal, however. A source with the Obama camp strongly denied Emanuel spoke with the governor directly about the seat, saying Emanuel only spoke with Blagojevich once recently to say he was taking the chief of staff post."

 Blagojevich attorney Ed Genson yesterday "tore into impeachment-minded state lawmakers trying to force the governor out of a job," the Chicago Tribune reports. Genson "complained of a lack of standards to determine impeachment, decried his inability to subpoena witnesses such as U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald and asked that some panel members be removed because they had 'already made up their minds in this case.' 'Everybody's in a rush to judgment,' Genson said later at a news conference. 'If you know of another case coming out of the State of Illinois that had more pizazz to it . . . where there were so many people that wanted to chop somebody's head off, you tell me it. But I don't. This is a real witch hunt.'"

Of course, as we said earlier, the impeachment proceedings are not about laws, it's about votes and politics. They don't need proof but the votes.

The Trib also notes that Genson said Blagojevich won't be appointing anyone to fill Obama's Senate seat. "… Genson was asked if Blagojevich would make an appointment against the wishes of Democrats across the state and country. 'No,' Genson replied. '(U.S. Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid said that they're not going to accept anybody he picks. Why would he do that?' A Blagojevich spokesman could not confirm that the governor would not make the appointment, but said Blagojevich has repeatedly expressed a desire for the seat to be filled through the will of voters via a special election."

AFSCME president Gerald McEntee, in an interview with the Washington Times, said the SEIU's link to the Blagojevich scandal won't help the labor movement's push for the employee free choice act. "McEntee said labor must guard against overreaching and should avoid warring with other Democratic-leaning groups – 'to turn the other cheek on this and be more interested in the bigger picture,' he said - but he also said unions paid their dues by supporting Democrats and President-elect Barack Obama in this year's election."

"'The payback would be Employee Free Choice Act - that would be a vehicle to strengthen and build the American labor movement and the middle class,' he said. 'It's the condition of the country, it's health care, it's the Employee Free Choice Act, it's some kind of effort made in protection of their pensions. These are big and major items.'"

Mr. McEntee said his members understand the limits of the Senate, with its filibuster rules that the minority Republicans can use to block legislation, but said unions at least want to see a full-throttle effort. 'I think our people have to be able to see that the Democrats, including Obama, are fighting ... for these kinds of things and not backing off or backing away.'"