Illinois House committee urges impeachment of Blagojevich 2009-01-09 01:07:02   Print

    CHICAGO, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Illinois House impeachment committee called Thursday for impeachment of Governor Rod Blagojevich who is accused of selling U.S. senator seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

    In a 69-page report posted on the House website, the committee noted that the governor refused to testify and rebut any of the allegations involving his conduct or the federal criminal charges surrounding his arrest at his home on Dec. 9.

    "While the governor's silence could not be held against him in a criminal case, the opposite is true in a non-criminal proceeding such as this impeachment inquiry," the report said.

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich speaks during a rally in Chicago April 16, 2007.(Xinhua/Reuters, File Photo)
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    Committee members said in the report that the "purpose of impeachment is not to punish the officeholder" but to "protect the citizens from the abuses of an official."

    The report does not include a formal article of impeachment laying out the charges against Blagojevich, which could be written separately. But it says there is cause to believe Blagojevich engaged in pay-to-play politics.

    "The committee has heard a great deal of evidence relating to various instances where the governor's inappropriate actions constitute abuse of power," the report reads.

    Blagojevich was arrested Dec. 9 on federal charges that include allegations he schemed to profit from his power to name President-elect Barack Obama's replacement in the Senate.

    While the impeachment panel has reviewed prosecutors' complaint, it also has reviewed allegations the second-term governor has improperly expanded state programs, spent tax money without authorization and circumvented hiring laws for political purposes.

    The report comes on the same day that a federal judge in Chicago will determine if the impeachment committee will have access to secret government recordings of Blagojevich that were used as the basis for federal charges against the governor.

    After that decision is made this afternoon, the committee expects to hear from Blagojevich's controversial U.S. Senate appointee, Roland Burris, who is expected to be grilled on how he was chosen and on past contributions he, his lobbying firm and the firm's clients have made to Blagojevich.

    Analysts here believe once those two issues are resolved, there is a strong likelihood the impeachment committee will conclude its work and take the matter to the full House for a vote, possibly as early as Friday.

    So far Blagojevich's office had no immediate comment. 

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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