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Blagojevich called ‘a pox on Illinois politics,’ his conduct ‘reprehensible’

Updated: June 28, 2011 2:12AM



SPRINGFIELD — A tainted era in state government has now ended with the sweeping guilty verdicts against impeached ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Illinois’ political leadership and government watchdogs said Monday.

Here is a sampling of the reactions:

COMPTROLLER JUDY BAAR TOPINKA

Blagojevich’s 2006 GOP opponent

“This is nothing to celebrate. Through his unconscionable behavior and reckless leadership, Blagojevich inflicted damage on Illinois that will take years, if not generations, to repair. He broke the public trust and mismanaged dollars with a zeal that was unique even in our storied state.

“I find his behavior reprehensible and am personally pleased to see him held responsible. But more important, I hope that today’s verdict delivers a reminder that elected leaders serve the public, not the other way around — and they will be held accountable, even if it takes a while.”

“While I look forward to turning the page on Blagojevich, I hope that the lessons learned from his prosecution live on. Ironically, it would prove to be his greatest contribution to our state.”

U.S. SEN. MARK KIRK (R-Ill.)

Elected to the Senate seat Blagojevich is charged with trying to sell

“Today’s verdict is a stark reminder that no one is above the law. This decision is the culmination of a tumultuous two and a half years for the people of Illinois, and Rod Blagojevich must now face the consequences of his corrupt actions. I commend the work of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and his team. Now it’s time to close this unfortunate chapter in our history and focus on tackling the difficult issues we face at home in Illinois and across the country.”

U.S. SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-ILL.)

“I hope today’s verdict finally draws this sad and sordid chapter in Illinois history to a close.”

ATTORNEY GENERAL LISA MADIGAN

“Today’s verdict proves once more that Rod Blagojevich not only broke the law but grossly violated the public’s trust by pursuing his own interests over those of the state. The jury’s decision has reaffirmed that public servants work for the people and must pay a serious price if they fail to uphold the solemn duties of their office.”

GOV. PAT QUINN

“I think Rod Blagojevich deceived and misled lots and lots of people in Illinois, the voters included. And the facts that came out in this trial with the conviction by the jury speak for themselves. ... The conviction of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the previous conviction of George Ryan — both have been convicted of felonies — underlines, I think, for every person in Illinois the importance of reforming our government on a daily basis from top to bottom.”

“I think he deceived everyone. ... I think we learned that through this trial and through the actions of the jury that he has committed serious crimes, and he’ll have to pay for that. I regret the toll on his family. I’ve known his wife for many years. She’s a very good person, Patti Blagojevich, and their wonderful children. I’m very sorry that happened to their family. But you have to be accountable for your deeds. Unfortunately, former Gov. Blagojevich committed crimes, according to a jury, a good 12 men and woman, good and true, and so did George Ryan. And they’re going to both be in jail. I think it should be an alarm bell to all of us in Illinois, in government and outside of government, to work together to strengthen our democracy.”

LT. GOV. SHEILA SIMON

“Illinoisans deserve better. We must move forward with a renewed focus on ethics reform. It is time to beat back the Illinois culture of corruption, restore integrity to the Land of Lincoln and make sure these crimes never happen again.”

SENATE PRESIDENT JOHN CULLERTON (D-CHICAGO)

“Once again, the former governor’s pattern of dishonesty has been confirmed. I thank the jury for its public service. Just as it was sad but necessary for the Senate to remove him from office, today is another sad event for Illinois. I would hope that this verdict would further allow us as a state to move on and ahead.”

SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHRISTINE RADOGNO (R-LEMONT)

“It was clear that Rod Blagojevich conspired to use the governor’s office for personal gain. He inflicted real, permanent damage on the state during his six years in office. Unfortunately, future generations will be paying for his administration for years to come. I am as anxious as everyone to now put this sordid chapter in our state’s history behind us.”

COOK COUNTY BOARD PRESIDENT TONI PRECKWINKLE

“Our country is founded on the rule of law, and today former Gov. Rod Blagojevich was found guilty by a jury of his peers. I hope that this will send a clear message to the people of Illinois and the nation: Corruption no longer has a place in our political system. Government at every level faces significant economic hardship. We need to put our energies into demanding more accountable and responsible government as we work to rebuild our state’s reputation.“

DAVID MORRISON

Deputy director

Illinois Campaign for Political Reform

“The jury today has ratified the sense of millions of Illinoisans that Rod Blagojevich was a pox on Illinois’ political system. His conviction also serves as a warning that no one is above the law and that anyone today thinking of abusing the public trust for their private benefit should consider the very real consequences.”

DAN RUTHERFORD

State treasurer

“The guilty verdict against former Gov. Rod Blagojevich closes a long, embarrassing chapter for the citizens of Illinois. He deserves everything he’s going to get.”

PAT BRADY

State chairman

Illinois Republican Party

“I’m glad that the verdict is finally in on Rod Blagojevich. However this closes only one chapter of Democrat corruption in Illinois. Illinois Democratic politicians who now try everything they can to hide their past support of Rod Blagojevich should look themselves in the mirror and remind themselves that little has changed since the day Blagojevich was arrested.”

REP. JACK FRANKS (D-MARENGO)

One of Blagojevich’s earliest Democratic critics

“Today, Illinois can finally begin to move beyond the Blagojevich saga. The truth has always been Blagojevich’s arch enemy, we saw that affirmed today. The former governor was symptomatic of the corruption that has seized Illinois politics. Having been found guilty in 18 of 20 counts, ranging from extortion to bribery to wire fraud, Blagojevich got exactly what he deserved.”



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