Even setting aside the primordial level of corruption of trying to sell the senate seat of the President-elect of the United States, I never fail to be amazed at the brazenness and stupidity of some political crooks. I mean, I think everyone involved in politics or interested in political corruption in the country had to know that Blagojevich’s phones were tapped and probably his offices were bugged, and that Pat Fitzgerald had him under the craziest level of scrutiny. And he tries to sell the senate seat with that hanging over his head?
Contrast this with mafioso John Gotti, who it took the Feds years to take down. When Giotto’s family thought their clubhouse might be tapped, they installed waterfalls in the lobby, and held important conversations next to it, making it near impossible for the Feds to understand what was being said. Really important conversations were held upstairs in an apartment of the widow of another mobster. It took the FBI a long time to figure out where these conversations were being held and then to send someone in to bug the apartment. And that’s what brought down Giotti.
TPM quotes a reader who says don’t underestimate stupidity because many politicos in Chicago think Blago is like Bush but not as bright.
Maybe. Or maybe the corruption was so pervasive that everyone just acted like it was normal. But holding conference calls to plot how to sell a senate appointment is indeed stupid beyond comprehension.
The indictment says someone associated with “Senate Candidate 5” offered $500,000 for the post. Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic says it looks to be, based on the time frame and context, either Jesse Jackson Jr. or Emil Jones.
In a conversation with Harris on November 11, the charges state, Blagojevich said he knew that the President-elect wanted Senate Candidate 1 for the open seat but “they’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation. [Expletive] them.”