Capitol Notebook: Blagojevich talked to Feds about Rezko
Play of the Week
Gov. Rod Blagojevich certainly has been busy. No, he hasn't been spending more time at the Capitol in Springfield. He's been meeting with federal agents.
Court files unsealed last week show federal agents interviewed Blagojevich "on multiple occasions" in connection with the corruption case of Tony Rezko, the recently convicted Blagojevich insider.
The files show Blagojevich denied making incriminating remarks to two government witnesses who testified at Rezko's trial, Rezko's attorneys said in the documents.
One of the witnesses, former Democratic National Committee finance chairman Joseph Cari, testified that Blagojevich confided he had plans to run for higher office and that he could dole out government contracts to those who helped him.
The other witness, Stuart Levine, testified Blagojevich told him: "Stick with us and you will do very well for yourself."
State Sen. Dan Rutherford, R-Chenoa, wants the governor to clarify what he intends to do about Pontiac Correctional Center -- close it, as his administration said in the spring, or keep it open.
According to Rutherford's June 26 letter to Blagojevich, the confusion stems from a recent quote attributed to a spokesman for the Department of Corrections, who said: "We are not planning on closing Pontiac at this time."
The thing is, though, plans already have been made to hold a public hearing on Aug. 12 in Pontiac about the potential shutdown. The hearing is required under a state law that applies whenever state-run facilities are being targeted for closure.
Quote of Note
"I've come to expect that our governor makes decisions based on tarot cards or something," Pontiac Mayor Scott McCoy said recently in discussing the Blagojevich administration's springtime announcement that it intended to close the Pontiac prison. McCoy and others are working to keep the facility open.
Number to Know
5: The number of constitutional officers believed to be eying a run for governor in 2010. They include Blagojevich, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Comptroller Dan Hynes and Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.
Tuesday is the first day of the state's next fiscal year -- a year for which the state has no budget in place. Blagojevich claims the budget lawmakers approved on May 31 is more than $2 billion out of balance, and he's posturing with them over how to correct it. There is no deal in sight.
State Capitol Bureau