Thursday, December 11, 2008

Imagine Good Governance at the center of Obama's upcoming Appointments and for his old Senate Seat?

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Re; Imagine transparency and accountability at play and the Clinton-Obama Saga continues!

Good governance is about transparency and accountability. The Barack Obama Transition team has been very careful not to compromise public trust, and the current series of events around the Senate Seat Obama has vacated is becoming the center of attention.

Surely, so far no crime is committed; as the pre-emptive security, and intelligence team have been on the offensive with wiretapping, and, early removal of the Governor's capacity to appoint a Senator.

The announcement of the law officer at the press briefing is very telling as to why Chicago is now considered to be the Capital City of Corruption. Will it ever tarnish Obama's clean guy image? Time will tell. For now he seems to dispel the fear of corruption.

As Secretary of State Elect Hilary Clinton makes do with potential reduced salary, Obama's old Senate Seat is up for Sale,by what is referred to as "Pay2Play" game plan. Imagine! the number of hoops Hilary had to go through even involving the former President Bill Clinton's series of foundations and enterprises.

In short, his Senate Seat is up for corrupt practices whereas the Secretary of State position is devalued to respect some Senate rules.

So, you have it. Good governance at play at one end of the game and then the worst kind of corruption at the other. Where is Corruption International where you need it.

Fortunately, the US legal system was able to put to jail a sitting Governor with pre-emptive strategy and intelligence. I wish we could do the same with the Al-Qaeda Terror Networks around the world.

This is an interesting lesson on good governance that needs to be emulated across the world. The British government put to jail their sitting Member of Parliament and the debate is still raging.

When does crime become crime? Only when it is dealing with the common man or every man is under the rule of law? That continues to be the question the Good Governance Proponents ask as we see so much disparity in our world today.

Here is a good example of Good Governance at play: The Hilary and Barack Saga continues.....

Dr B

Obama confident staff clear in Ill. gov scandal
By PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press Writer Philip Elliott, Associated Press Writer
42 mins ago

CHICAGO – President-elect Barack Obama declared Thursday he was "absolutely certain" his staff members engaged in no deal making concerning the filling of his former Senate seat, and he announced an investigation into whether they had contacts with anyone on the subject.

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday, accused of using his authority to choose Obama's replacement in the Senate to barter for campaign cash or a lucrative job inside or outside government. The governor has ignored calls for his resignation and declared his innocence. He retains the power to appoint a Senate successor to Obama.

The president-elect said he was "as appalled and disappointed as anybody" by the allegations. He said that neither he nor his transition team have been a part of the continuing federal investigation, using language that was very specific but left several questions unanswered.

"I have not been contacted by any federal officials and we have not been interviewed by them," Obama said.

He had called a news conference Thursday to introduce former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle as his choice to be secretary of health and human services, and he also lobbied for congressional passage of short-term loans to rescue the U.S. auto industry.

But all but one of the four questions posed to the president-elect by reporters dealt with the scandal that has rocked Illinois politics as well as Obama's so-far widely praised preparations to move into the White House.

Obama aimed to put an end to persistent questions about whether any of his staff were involved in Blagojevich's alleged schemes. Obama said he himself never spoke to the Illinois governor about the choosing of his successor. And he addressed for the first time the issue of whether his transition staff had any contacts.

He did not offer a definitive denial, saying he wanted to "gather all the facts" about that and expected to know more in the next few days.

But he was definitive about whether his staff had any involvement in Blagojevich's attempted wheeling and dealing.

"What I'm absolutely certain about is that our office had no involvement in any dealmaking around my Senate seat. That I'm absolutely certain of," he said. "That would be a violation of everything that this campaign has been about. And that's not how we do business."

In addressing the issue, the usually smooth-talking Obama occasionally stuttered or stumbled.

Nothing in the federal complaint suggests any wrongdoing by Obama or his staff. But the accusations against Blagojevich are an unwelcome distraction to the presidential transition, bringing fresh attention to some of the unsavory characters that have connections, however distant, to Obama and to questions of whether he can follow through on his message of change and clean government.

Obama noted that Blagojevich himself was quoted in the criminal complaint, compiled in large part from wiretaps on the governor's phones, criticizing Obama in colorful, vulgar language for being unlikely to help him.

"As is reflected in the U.S. attorney's report, we were not, I think, perceived by the governor's office as amenable to any deal making," Obama said. "I won't quote back some of the things that were said about me. This is a family program, I know."

Obama called again on Blagojevich to resign.

"I think the public trust has been violated," he said. "I do not think that the governor at this point can effectively serve the people of Illinois."

With lawmakers in Illinois maneuvering to quickly take the appointment responsibility out of Blagojevich's hands, Obama did not dictate a particular solution but demanded one be found.

"This Senate seat does not belong to any politician to trade," he said. "Any vacancy will be filled in an appropriate way, so that whoever is sent to Washington is going to be fighting for the people of Illinois. I hope and expect that the leaders of the Legislature will take these steps to ensure that this is so."

Secretary of state salary cut for Clinton
By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer Laurie Kellman, Associated Press Writer
1 hr 21 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton would make about $4,700 less as secretary of state than her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice.

Congress late Wednesday lowered the salary for the nation's top diplomat to keep Clinton's nomination from running afoul of the Constitution.

An obscure section on compensation for public officials, the Emoluments Clause, says that no member of Congress can be appointed to a government post if that job's pay was increased during the lawmaker's current term.

In other words, Clinton, D-N.Y., might have been ineligible to serve in the post because she was serving in Congress when Rice's salary was raised to its current level of $191,300. So late Wednesday, the House and Senate quietly rolled the secretary of state's salary back to $186,600, its level in January 2007 when Clinton began her second Senate term.

Even at the lower rate, Clinton would still get a raise over her Senate salary.

Senators now make $169,300 and are expected to receive a raise to $174,000 next year.

President-elect Barack Obama nominated Clinton to the post earlier this month. She is expected to keep her Senate seat pending confirmation by the Senate next year. Republicans and Democrats have said they expect no serious objections to her confirmation.


The measure is S.J. Res. 46 and can be viewed at

Illinois governor tried to sell Senate seat: prosecutors
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09 Dec 2008By Michael Conlon and Andrew Stern

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, was arrested on Tuesday on "staggering" corruption charges that alleged he tried to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by fellow Democrat, President-elect Barack Obama.

The governor also tried to extort the Chicago Tribune, one of the country's leading newspapers, into firing editorial writers who were critical of him, federal prosecutors said.

Obama has long distanced himself from the governor of his home state -- who has been under investigation on other issues for years -- but Blagojevich's arrest was a likely embarrassment to the president-elect. Obama said he was "saddened and sobered" by the news and had not been aware of the alleged efforts to sell the Senate seat he vacated.

The case shined light again on old-style corruption in the grimy caldron of Chicago politics from which Obama emerged.

Obama, who takes office on January 20, resigned from the Senate after winning the November 4 presidential election. The Illinois governor is meant to pick Obama's Senate replacement.

The U.S. Senate's Democratic leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, called for the decision on appointing Obama's replacement to be taken out of Blagoveich's hands.

State lawmakers said they would go into session to try to have the law changed so a replacement can be picked by a special election -- meaning that Obama's replacement could be a Republican if the voters so decided.

Caught on tape, Blagojevich used an expletive as he described the Senate seat as something so valuable "you just don't give it away for nothing." He said he might even appoint himself if he could get nothing for it, the criminal complaint against him said.

"The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the federal prosecutor, said in a statement detailing the charges.

It was enough to make revered Illinois statesman Abraham Lincoln "roll over in his grave," Fitzgerald later told reporters, adding the arrest of Blagojevich was made in order to stop a "crime spree."

The governor and his chief of staff, John Harris, were taken into custody at their Chicago homes. Blagojevich appeared in court later and was released on his own recognizance, meaning he did not have to post bail.

There were immediate calls from both Republicans and Democrats in Illinois for Blagojevich to resign.

Blagojevich's office issued a statement saying the allegations would not affect the functioning of the state.

Fitzgerald stressed there were no allegations in the criminal complaint about Obama. The president-elect told reporters: "I had no contact with the governor or his office and so I was not aware of what was happening."


Blagojevich and Harris were each charged in a federal complaint with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and a second count of solicitation of bribery.

The mail and wire fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison while the bribery charge has a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Each count carries a maximum fine of $250,000.

The charges "allege that Blagojevich put a 'for sale' sign on the naming of a United States senator; involved himself personally in pay-to-play schemes with the urgency of a salesman meeting his annual sales target; and corruptly used his office in an effort to trample editorial voices of criticism," Fitzgerald said in his statement.

Blagojevich was accused of threatening to withhold state assistance to the Tribune Company in connection with the sale of the Chicago Cubs' baseball home, Wrigley Field, in order "to induce the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members sharply critical" of him, Fitzgerald said.

Investigators said Blagojevich and Harris were caught on court-authorized wiretaps.

Blagojevich was seeking a "substantial" salary for himself at a nonprofit foundation or union affiliated organization, a spot on a corporate board for his wife, promises of campaign cash, as well as a cabinet post or ambassadorship in exchange for his Senate choice, an FBI affidavit said.

Democrats, with independent allies, would hold at least 58 seats in the 100-seat Senate when the new Congress convenes in early January if Obama's successor is a Democrat. A Minnesota Senate seat is still undecided.

Blagojevich, in his second term, is the latest in a string of Illinois governors to run afoul of the law. His immediate predecessor, George Ryan, is in jail following a federal corruption conviction.

(Reporting by Michael Conlon and James Vicini, Kyle Peterson and Karen Pierog in Chicago; Editing by Jackie Frank, Frances Kerry and Bill Trott)

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