The Illinois House of Representatives have voted 114–1 to impeach Governor Rod Blagojevich. The one lone Representative voting against impeachment was Chicago Democrat Milton Patterson. It is the first time in Illinois history that a governor has been impeached. Previously, a legislative panel unanimously approved, 21–0, a scathing report accusing the two-term Democrat Governor Blagojevich of a wide array of offenses, including criminal corruption and wasting taxpayer money.
The impeachment will now head to the Illinois Senate for a trial will take place scheduled for January 26, 2008. The spokesman for Rod Blagojevich said that the governor will not resign. As Hot Air says, why would he resign, he just got done rolling Harry Reid, and Fitzgerald’s indictment is still months away. A resignation would take away all of Blagojevich’s cards. This poker game is far from over.
Later Friday, Blagojevich blamed the House for stonewalling his agenda to “fight” for the people. He said his work to help the people of Illinois is “not an impeachable offense.”
The governor reiterated he is not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing and, gesturing toward a group of Illinoisans who had suffered health problems gathered next to him said, “They hired me to fight for them and I’m going to fight for them every step of the way.”
The actions of the House–approving an article of impeachment maintaining Blagojevich had committed abuses of power–represents the equivalent of an indictment.
The impeachment resolution covering Blagojevich’s actions “show a public servant who has betrayed his oath of office, who has betrayed the public trust, who is not fit to govern the state of Illinois,” said Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, the Chicago Democrat who headed a special panel that recommended Blagojevich’s impeachment a day earlier.
Next week, when the Senate convenes, it will begin the process of setting up a trial of the governor in which each of the 59 state senators act as judge and jurors.
Blago was out jogging when law makers gathered to impeach him.
“From the very moment of my re-election, I’ve been engaged in a struggle with the House to get things done for the people,” Blagojevich said, citing his efforts to improve health care and cut property taxes.
“The House has stood in the way of letting that happen,” he said, contending that his impeachment is related to their ongoing dispute and the failure of lawmakers to help Illinois residents.
“The House has failed to act,” he said. “So the House’s actions and the cause of the impeachment are because I’ve done things to fight for families who are with me today.”