In a shocking development, Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has been arrested on corruption charges. The 51-year old Democrat has been charged with effectively trying to sell Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder.
The transcripts of numerous wiretapped conversations seem to suggest that Mr. Blagojevich was looking for a cushy appointment for himself or his wife in return for the Senate appointment. According to the criminal complaint, he said that he wanted to make $250,000 to $300,000 a year.
As it turns out, according to Gov. Blagojevich, all of this is just a simple misunderstanding.
"I wish the federal prosecutors had just come and talked to me," said the Illinois governor. "I could have easily explained all this and saved them the bother of going to court."
Apparently what the authorities heard on their wiretaps was nothing more than innocent conversations about the upcoming seasonal festivities in the governor’s mansion in Springfield.
"Look, I know it looks bad," said Blagojevich. "But those conversations are all taken out of context. Every year about this time, I call up various friends and acquaintances and invite them to my annual Christmas party."
"At the same time," continued the governor. "I ask them what they’d like for Christmas and I sometimes let it slip what I might like, too. But just because my Christmas wish list might include an ambassadorship or two or maybe even a Cabinet position doesn’t mean that I was ever looking to trade for a Senate appointment."
"Heck, if I wanted to make a lot of money, I would have just appointed myself to the Senate," said Blagojevich. "But that’s not what I’m all about. This is the season for giving and, when it comes to giving, I never stop."
Asked about his recorded threat to withhold state assistance to the Tribune Company unless the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune was fired, Blagojevich laughed and dismissed the allegation as baseless.
"I’ve got nothing against editorial board members," he said. "Why, some of my best friends are editorial board members although I can’t think of their names at the moment."
Mr. Blagojevich stated that his biggest regret about the entire misunderstanding is that it had apparently scared off the person who had picked his name this year to be the governor’s secret Santa.
"It’s really disappointing," said Blagojevich. "Now I’ll never know if I was going to get that brand new union post I’ve always wanted or maybe that shiny corporate directorship I’ve had my eye on. That Fitzgerald guy is a real Scrooge, if you ask me."