Blagojevich's Arrest Anniversary: Reason To Celebrate?

Dec 9, 2013

Credit WBEZ

  It's been five years to the day since FBI agents arrived at then Governor Rod Blagojevich's house to arrest him on charges of corruption. Blagojevich is serving a 14-year prison sentence, and for most Illinois politicians it's good riddance. Amanda Vinicky reports. 

Fresh off the General Assembly's passing a law to overhaul the state's pensions, I had the chance to catch up with House Speaker Michael Madigan:

VINICKY: "It's the five year anniversary of Blagojevich's arrest coming up ... any reaction, any ...

MADIGAN: "Yeah, we should … celebrate."

Beyond "celebrating" is there anything Illinois politicians should be doing to prevent the type of corruption that led to Blagojevich's arrest?

The Speaker's daughter, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, says there's always more that can be done. But she says it's hard to guard against a situation like Illinois had with Blagojevich.

"Far too many people … I think were ... taken in, is probably the best way to describe it," she says. "When in fact, if you spent any amount of time on the inside of government you could see that it was not being run appropriately, that his fundraisers were people making hiring decisions and directing contracting."

Exactly one year after Blagojevich was arrested, Illinois enacted its response: the state's first-ever limit on campaign contributions.

The current governor's race would have been the first for those caps to be in effect. Instead, because Republican businessman Bruce Rauner has pumped more than a million dollars of his own cash into his campaign, those caps are lifted for the primary.