Illinois AG asks state supreme court to force Blagojevich from office

[JURIST] Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan [official website] on Friday filed a motion [motion, PDF; brief, PDF; supporting record, PDF] with the Illinois Supreme Court [official website] to have Governor Rod Blagojevich [official website] declared unfit and removed temporarily from office. Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested [JURIST report] Tuesday by federal agents on charges of corruption [complaint, PDF]. Madigan asked that the court appoint Lieutenant Governor Patrick Quinn [official website] as acting governor. She is concerned [Chicago Tribune report] that, if allowed to remain in office, Blagojevich would still have the power to appoint someone to President-elect Barack Obama's vacant senate seat. Madigan argued in her motion:

As the State's chief executive, Mr. Blagojevich has substantial power and authority to set policy, direct administrative agencies, issue executive orders, provide for disbursement of funds, borrow money on behalf of the State, award contracts, and appoint state officials. Because of the pendency of the federal complaint, the executive decisions that Mr. Blagojevich makes are tainted. Indeed, every day this State is faced with an allegedly corrupt Governor making critical decisions that have no legitimacy. Furthermore, Mr. Blagojevich's continued exercise of gubernatorial authority damages the public's faith and confidence in the Office and in the effectiveness of the state government.
Quinn has joined calls for Blagojevich, who has continued to report to work since the arrest, to be impeached [AP report]. Madigan issued a statement [press release] Tuesday calling for Blagojevich's resignation. Obama has also called for Blagojevich's resignation. Harris resigned [AP report] Friday.

Madigan told CNN Thursday that she was prepared to file a motion [JURIST report] with the state Supreme Court. Both Blagojevich and Harris have been charged [DOJ press release, PDF] with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery. They are accused of conspiring to sell or trade the senate seat left vacant by Obama and obtaining illegal campaign contributions. They are also accused [Chicago Tribune report] of threatening to withhold assistance to the Chicago Tribune with the sale of Wrigley Field unless two editorial writers who had been critical of Blagojevich were fired. Both men were taken into federal custody early Tuesday morning and were released later in the day after appearing before a federal magistrate.


 

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