Pay To Playby Elizabeth Brackett
Weeks after President Barack Obama's remarkable victory, the nation was shocked to learn that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich had been arrested at his home by the FBI. There are allegations that Blago had tried to sell Obama's soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat for cash. This effort appeared to be only the latest in a cascade of corruption that prompted U.S. attorney
Weeks after President Barack Obama's remarkable victory, the nation was shocked to learn that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich had been arrested at his home by the FBI. There are allegations that Blago had tried to sell Obama's soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat for cash. This effort appeared to be only the latest in a cascade of corruption that prompted U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to charge the governor with actions that would make Lincoln roll over in his grave. In Pay to Play, Elizabeth Brackett, award-winning correspondent in the political realm for PBS's The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, uncovers new details as she goes behind the story of the first governor to be impeached by the Illinois legislature. All the time tracing the background of corruption in Illinois politics and its implications for state government executive branches across the country, she tells precisely how Blagojevich's personal biography and his political upbringing paved the way for his reckless fall; what the dilemma of selecting replacement senators means for other states; what secrets the federal trial of the governor is likely to produce; why Roland Burris was selected for the U.S. Senate seat for Illinois; and how a man named Obama could emerge with integrity from the swill of this same political environment.
Chicago PBS newswoman Brackett details the latest episode in Illinois politics' long-running soap opera, the fascinating story of smooth-talking, big-haired governor Rod Blagojevich, arrested last December, who stuck a price tag on almost everything that crossed his desk. After law school and an introduction to politics by his less-than-ethical father-in-law, powerful Chicago alderman Dick Mell, "Blago" became a loud but ineffective member of the Illinois Senate, "rarely showing up for committee meetings," and often hard to find for important votes. As governor, he empowered infamously corrupt Chicago characters to oversee his kickback operations, but the red-hot core of the pay-to-play scandal was his attempt to sell President Obama's vacated U.S. senate seat. The tale continued as, free on bond, Blago executed a national media tour to establish his virtue and victim-hood. Blago's ensuing impeachment, an Illinois first, is buttressed by a number of sideshows, including a suburban hospital sting, a government push to fire critical Chicago Tribune editors, and Blago's final act of power, appointing politico Raymond Burris to the infamous Senate seat. This passenger-seat view of Blago's wild ride is not only remarkably thorough (especially given Brackett's quick turnaround), but a surefire political page-turner. B&w photos.
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- Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
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- 5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.30(d)
Meet the Author
Elizabeth Brackett is a longtime correspondent for PBS's The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and a winner of the Peabody Award for her political coverage. She is news host for WTTW-TV's flagship program Chicago Tonight. A lifetime resident of Chicago, with intimate contacts in city and state politics, she has also won four Emmy Awards.
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Elizabeth Bracket did a great job of researching and pulling together the pieces of this tale. The story leaves the reader indignant at the actions of the former governor. The reader also comes away with some understanding of why Rod Blagojevich did what he did.
The story of Governor Rod Blagojevich and how his presidential aspirations, his ego and arrogance gets him nothing more than an arrest and federal criminal indictment. The book is a fast read because it's like reading a newspaper. There are some facts that are not entirely accurate,and some names not spelled correctly, which leads me to believe the book was written in a hurry to take advantage of the timeliness of the story. The story ,of course, is not over. The trial will be next year.
Elizabeth Brackett puts into sequence what has already been written about Rod in past magazine and newspaper articles but I'm afraid anyone who is familiar with Chicago & Illinois politics might be dissappointed for there is not much new information provided...The most hanis crime that was written about Rod was his deal with Companion Security, although Patrick Fitzgerald has not yet indicted him for this, some of the people involved (John Harris and Tony Rezko) are cooperating with federal athorities. Rod Blagojevich was paid $100,000 by Daniel T. Frawley for use of a military base in Savanna Illinois to train Iraqi militants to use AK-47's. (Frawley was a Chicago police officier fired after 7 months for being a rabid racist, he has millions of dollars in judgements against him for failure to pay and assault). Tony Rezko's other partner was Aiham Alsammarae ex-baath party member and ex-Minister of Electricity for Iraq. He was convicted & jailed in Iraq for stealing $650 million dollars. He escaped the Iraqi green zone boasting "Chicago style". Their third partner was Nahdmi Auchi also an ex-baath party member and arms dealer to Saddam Hussein. These are the men that were going to bring 150 Iraqi militants' to Savanna Illinois to train to use AK-47's...These men were not vetted, who was going to vet the 150 Iraqis??? It is well known throughout the world that Illinois politicians are for sale and when you combine that with the strictest gun laws in the country it is a RECIPE FOR DISASTER! Where would you go if you were a terrorist looking to infiltrate the U.S??? Rezko, Frawely, Auchi and Alsammarae chose Illinois. I would have if Elizbeth Brackett write about this for few have. This is a good read especially for the people of Illinois and people who enjoy politics.