Update on the Update: Unrepentant Blago's 'golden' commutation. Will or can he run again?

Update: Readers have pointed me in the direction of the Articles of Impeachment (HR1671) that proclaims:

Wherefore, this abuse of power by Rod R. Blagojevich warrants his impeachment and trial,  removal from the office of Governor and his disqualification to hold any public office of the state in the future. [Emphasis is mine.]

True enough. And certainly Blago’s insulting, rambling and self-pitying front porch “press conference”  on Wednesday pretty well snuffed out his chances of getting elected, I am also reminded that what the Legislature does can be undone by the Legislature. As the Illinois Constitution says: “Eligibility may be restored as provided by law.”

Would he perhaps, try to reclaim his legislative seat in a district that seems to love him? Never rule out anything in Illinois.

The first update follows:

Astonishingly, the unrepentant and triumphant former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich upon on his return to Chicago sounded like he had big things in mind, like…run again for public office?

Unthinkable, you say? As he excited his return flight at O’Hare Airport, the felonious Blagojevich crowed:

“I had a unique opportunity to represent Congress and be (Illinois’) governor for six years and fight for things I truly believe is good for people,” he said, adding “the fight” now was against the “people that did this to me” and to regain the public’s trust.

“That if I were to give in to the pressure and give in to the shakedown that was done to me, that I would be violating my oath of office to fight for the Constitution and fight for the rule of law and keep my promises to (the public),” he said. “’Cause I didn’t do the things they said I did. And they lied on me.”

He show up “pressing the flesh” and signing autographs at O’Hare International Airport and with “fans” waiting for him outside his northwest side home. 

“Fans?” Really? People in Chicago still regard him as a hero? Or a victim?

Will he, in his fevered  mind, think of returning to public life, perhaps even as an elected official?  Can Chicagoans really be that stupid and gullible? Here’s how the Chicago Sun-Times describes his triumphant return:

Just hours after the president commuted his sentence, the ex-governor seemed more like a campaigning pol working a rope line than a disgraced ex-convict.

Well, he’ll hold a press conference on Wednesday, at which I’m sure he’ll announce or at least hint about his plans. To fight for prison reform, probably. And possibly more. We await with bated breath.

As he continued to insist he was innocent, he sounded as freaky as the man who commuted his sentence, President Donald Trump.


U.S. Marshal photo.

U.S. Marshal photo.

Bearing in mind that in Chicago corruption is no impediment to holding public office, is he already mapping his next campaign for a political comeback?

Oh, wait. Article XIII, section 1, of the Illinois Constitution states:

Disqualification for Public Office. A person convicted of a felony, bribery, perjury or other infamous crime shall be ineligible to hold an office created by this Constitution. Eligibility may be restored as provided by law.

I guess that’s pretty clear. The name Rod Blagojevich will never grace an Illinois ballot again.

Except for two words: Roger Agpawa.

Agpawa who served as fire chief in Country Club Hills, was elected in 2017 as the mayor of south suburban Markham, who, with a 41 percent plurality, was the leading vote getter. .

Just after returning to his Chicago home, Rod Blagojevich peeks from his window. Bars turned into grilles. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)

Just after returning to his Chicago home, Rod Blagojevich peeks from his window. Bars turned into grilles. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)

Problem was, though, Markham had committed a felony: He pleaded guilty in 1999 to mail fraud, a federal offense in a health insurance scheme.

One might have thought that Agpawa’s career in public service would have ended then, but after he was elected mayor, Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx shows up. She of the reputation of having a lenient, easy-out philosophy regarding criminals, in this case followed  hard line:

She sued. In Foxx v. Agpawa, she sought a permanent injunction against his election, arguing that he was ineligible to serve as mayor because of his felony conviction. Circuit Court Judge David P. Atkins agreed as did the appellate court.Wait, it’s still not over.

Enter former Gov. Bruce Rauner. Yes, him. In September, 2018, Rauner restored Agpawa’s right to hold public office and to vote,declaring that he was “a fit and proper subject for Restoration of Rights of Citizenship.” I am assuming that Rauner had that power; whatever, it was done.

To make it official, Atkins vacated the restraining order forbidding Agpawa from becoming mayor. And, thus, he is the mayor.

The 17-month legal battle is approvingly cited as an example of “restorative justice.” A well-deserved second chance. Another shot. A fresh start.

Well, not quite. The more commonly accepted definition is that it is a theory of justice that emphasizes repairing the harm caused by criminal behavior. It involves the perpetrator meeting the victim and coming to terms with the damage he caused. It means making amendments. In other words, admitting your crime and saying you’re sorry.

Question is: Is Blagojevich capable of such? Or does he still think that selling the Illinois Senate seat vacated by the newly elected President Barack Obama still “f…ing golden?”

Worth reading: Trump’s commutation of Blagojevich buries presidential promise about ‘draining the swamp’

Also: Pardoning the Swamp

And: After he’s released from prison, is it too much to hope Blago will fade away quietly?



My historical novel: Madness: The War of 1812

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  • fb_avatar

    I think the media should leave him alone so he can reunite with his wife and daughters. There's plenty of time in the future to speculate on his plans for the rest of his life,

  • In reply to Ken Dietz:

    I think that speculation ended this morning with that news conference and appearance on Fox News tonight.

  • Inquiring minds want to know: Is this Blago's new hair style, or will he resume his passionate love affair with Grecian Formula?

  • fb_avatar

    When the State Senate unanimously convicted Blagojevich, they adopted a permanent prohibition on him holding elective office. This does not apply to federal offices.

    By the way, in light of the highly polarized Trump impeachment, it is worth recalling how throughly bipartisan the governor's impeachment was. One might say one impeached chief executive could empathize with another.

  • Can Chicagoans really be that stupid and gullible?

    c'mon Dennis, you know better than that.

    They elected the Foxx and the light-foot.

  • Excuse me, Dennis, but restorative justice involves making amends. It seems to me that it's Illinois justice that involves making amendments.

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