Illinois' attorney general on Thursday threatened to go to the state Supreme Court to have embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich declared unfit to hold office if he doesn't resign soon or get impeached by the Legislature.
"I am prepared to take action," state Attorney General Lisa Madigan said on CNN.
She said the best thing would be for Blagojevich (bluh-GOY'-uh-vich) to resign. The governor was arrested Tuesday on charges that he put President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat up for sale and he has ignored calls for his resignation.
Blagojevich was expected to return to work at his Chicago office Thursday, but there was no sign of him leaving home by midmorning. Aides did not return phone calls and e-mails seeking comment.
To understand how cynical this ploy is one has to have the kind of context few understand and also the kind that the media doesn't report. It isn't that Madigan is a few weeks, months, or hours too late, but rather she is joining the fray several years late.
Since he arrived in Chicago seven years ago, the list of those convicted, under investigation, or indicted by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is long, wide, and crosses party lines. He has indicted politicians, power brokers, and political appointees. My favorite Latin phrase is Res Ipsa Loquitor, the facts speak for themselves. Fitzgerald's record as a corruption crusader speaks for itself. So too, does the record, or lack thereof, of Lisa Madigan's. While Fitzgerald was busy sweeping up just about every corrupt individual in Chicago, Lisa Madigan has been rather silent in indicting, investigating, and convicting corrupt Illinois politicians. This is NOT a matter of turf. These politicians committed crimes in Illinois, and there are plenty of crimes that the Attorney General of Illinois could go after these folks for. That she largely hasn't speaks a lot more to her lack of will and caring about the corruption here than to a lack of crimes to investigate.
Lisa Madigan is the daughter of Michael Madigan, the Speaker of the Illinois House. As such, she is the ultimatel Illinois political insider. Only Madigan herself knows why Fitzgerald continues to make convictions, arrests and indictments while she stays on the sidelines, but I can tell you that her behavior is no different than any other Illinois politician. In the fall, Tony Peraica, then candidate for Cook County State's Attorney, got scolded by Patrick Fitzgerald for using an advertisement that suggested that Fitzgerald had endorsed him. In reality, Peraica was pointing out that deep rooted corruption in the offices of Illinois Justice meant that Fitzgerald was alone in prosecuting corruption. Peraica's point was that he wanted to help Fitzgerald in prosecuting the corruptors. While Peraica was directing his comments from his own perch as a potential Cook County State's Attorney, clearly it was all the Illinois Justice apparatus that was derelict and left Fitzgerald alone.
The main driver of this non existent justice is of course the Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan. It is cynical, disingenuous, and the sort of political ploy that Chicago, Cook County and Springfield are known for, for her to now pronounce that she is ready to indict as though she is some beacon of crusading against corruption. The reality is that corruption is ingrained in Chicago, Cook County, and Springfield exactly because folks like Madigan do way too little to stop it. She has done scant little. All the heavy lifting has been done by Fitzgerald. Her time to answer for this will come but in the meantime let's hope no one holds her up as some pure force fighting against corruption.