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Illinois House Committee Recommends Blagojevich Impeachment

January 8, 2009

And the saga continues.

Gosh this is fun to watch play out.

A state legislative committee unanimously voted today to recommend the Illinois House impeach Gov. Rod Blagojevich based on allegations that he abused his powers and sold his office to enrich himself.

Minutes after the vote, House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) predicted the full House would impeach Blagojevich as soon as Friday, the first such action in state history.

A Blagojevich spokesman said the governor would not heed some lawmakers’ calls to resign before the full House votes. The spokesman said the governor was working in his Chicago office at the time of the vote but was not monitoring the impeachment panel hearing. Blagojevich left for home after 6 p.m.

Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, who stands to become governor if Blagojevich is removed from office, praised the committee vote.

“I think given the overwhelming evidence, it was pretty clear to anyone that this is what the people of Illinois wanted,” said Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn. “The committee did what the people of Illinois felt was appropriate and I hope that message gets through to Gov. Blagojevich.”

Quinn said Blagojevich should look to history and do the right thing.

“When this happened in 1974 to President Nixon, he voluntarily resigned. I know the governor is a student of history, and now is the time for him to step aside.”

The vote by the special House Investigative Committee was 21-0. A vote by the full House to send articles of impeachment to the Illinois Senate is expected on Friday.

“This is a very sad day in the state of Illinois,” said Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, the Chicago Democrat who chaired the impeachment panel, calling Blagojevich “an individual who is not fit to be the governor of the state of Illinois.”

Rep. Bill Black (R-Danville) countered: “I don’t think this is a sad day for Illinois,” he said. “I think this is a good, glad happy day for Illinois…It points out nobody is above the law….There have been egregious abuses if half of what we see is true….Enough is enough. No more.”

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