Blagojevich "The Antithesis Of Leadership"

The political currents are running strongly against Rod Blagojevich, with a former state official saying if the Illinois Governor does not resign, every measure must be taken to remove him from office.

Yesterday in an unprecedented move, the state's highest law enforcement official asked the state's highest court to strip Blagojevich of his powers.

"The state government is paralyzed by a governor who is incapable of governing," said Illinois attorney general Lisa Madigan.

Madigan is petitioning the State Supreme Court to temporarily remove Blagojevich from office, kicking him out while the legislature works toward a permanent exit through impeachment, reports CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds.

But does the Illinois attorney general have the power to force the governor out of office?

Former Ill. attorney general Jim Ryan said the attorney general is the right person to file an action in the state Supreme Court but adds, "Whether or not she'll prevail is still problematic because there's no precedent."

Appearing on The Early Show Saturday Edition, Ryan told anchor Chris Wragge, "I think she did the right thing because if Rod Blagojevich won't go voluntarily, then we have to use every legal means at our disposal to try to remove him."

Under the Illinois Constitution which references the reasons for removing a sitting governor ("If the Governor is unable to serve because of death, conviction on impeachment, failure to qualify, resignation or other disability …"), a question is whether the federal indictment into Blagojevich's alleged attempts to financially benefit from selling a political favor means he is "disabled" from serving in his position as governor.

Ryan said this reading of the law is technical, and remarked, "That's untested, unchartered waters that the attorney general is in right now. We have to wait for the court to decide that. But from a practical standpoint, I think he's incapable of governing. No one trusts him and no one is going to listen to him. He is the antithesis of leadership right now.

"He has to go either voluntarily or we have to force him out," Ryan said.

Ryan said the charges against Blagojevich indicate "reckless" behavior which would taint any decision he makes - whether appointing a successor to Obama, issuing executive orders or spending state money - as a "travesty."

The Associated Press reported that on Saturday, Blagojevich's vehicle was seen parked outside the offices of high-profile defense attorney Ed Genson, whose clients have included newspaper magnate Conrad Black and R&B singer R. Kelly.


Obama Aide Not A Target

In another development, The Chicago Tribune reported that Obama's pick for chief of staff, Rep. Rahm Emanuel, was recorded on government wiretaps speaking with Blagojevich, although the Justice Department said that Emanuel is not a target of the investigation at all.

Emanuel, a Chicago congressman who has long been close to both Blagojevich and Obama, gave Blagojevich's chief of staff a list of Democrats acceptable to Obama to fill the Senate seat, according to the Tribune report. The report did not suggest there was any dealmaking in the conversations, which were captured on court-ordered wiretaps.

In fact, in transcripts released by the Justice Department, Blagojevich complained to chief of staff John Harris that Obama's team was "not willing to give me anything except appreciation. [Expletive deleted] them."

Blagojevich met with a group of ministers on Friday seeking spiritual guidance. He said nothing publicly.

But the stain of the corruption probe is causing discomfort among local politicians and their advisers.

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Among them: the person alluded to in the government's criminal complaint as "Senatorial candidate number five," who has been revealed to be Jesse Jackson, Jr. (left). The Chicago congressman is denying a report in the Chicago Tribune suggesting he and his brother were involved with Blagojevich's pay-to-play schemes to auction off Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat.

Of his brother's alleged fundraising, Jackson said simply, "He's not authorized to, nor has he ever done it on my behalf and he doesn't have to do it on my behalf."

Citizens of Illinois for Better Government said its members would gather at noon in front of Jackson's Chicago office and call for his resignation.
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