The secret FBI wiretaps federal prosecutors are playing during former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's corruption trial pull back the curtain on the day-to-day operations of the chief executive of nation's fifth-most populous state. But once you get past the profanity, the grandiose scheming, and Blagojevich's disdain for figures ranging from President Obama to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin -- a lot to get past, to be sure -- the striking thing is how much business he did on the phone from Chicago.
Today, a former deputy governor testified that in the six months he held that job, from June to Dec. 2008, Blagojevich averaged between two and eight hours in his Springfield, IL office. That meant most business was done by remote.
Bob Greenlee testified that getting the governor to do paperwork -- like review legislation as the 60-day deadline for a bill passed by the legislature to automatically become law if the governor does not act -- was a challenge. He said he often had to "trap him" in his car "where he had nothing else to do." Once, he took a stack of 20 pressing bills for the governor to review to a Chicago sports bar/bowling alley/pool hall while Blagojevich, his wife, and two young daughters had dinner.
And Greenlee testified that even when Blagojevich was in the office, he sometimes wasn't in. As the state's finances deteriorated, he said, Blagojevich would duck Budget Director John Filan -- by hiding in his private bathroom.