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Editorial: Governor of Illinois has major problems

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Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
(320) 235-6769 customer support
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

Illinois and national political circles were shaken Tuesday when Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was indicted for seeking to sell the state's U.S. Senate seat in a "pay-to-play" scheme.

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Blagojevich allegedly sought to financially benefit himself and/or his wife through his responsibility to appoint President-elect Barack Obama's replacement as a U.S. senator representing the state of Illinois.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald called it a "sad day for government."

We agree.

Both Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and one count of solicitation of bribery.

These are serious charges. It is not the first time an Illinois governor has been in trouble in recent decades.

In the 2006, Republican Gov. George Ryan was convicted of corruption. In the 1960s, Otto Kerner, a Democrat, was convicted of bribery, tax evasion and more. In the 1970s, Democrat Gov. Dan Walker was convicted of bank fraud.

It will be interesting politics, even for Illinois, to see what steps Gov. Blagojevich takes next: take a leave, resign or face possible impeachment. Certainly, it looks like his political future does not have a long-term potential.

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