Blagojevich In Fed Custody, Still Presumably Planning To Stick It To Bank Of America

Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

Obviously the whole attempting to make some cash money off of a Senate seat situation is potentially embarrassing enough for Governor Blagojevich, but it's made so much more excellent by yesterday's grand display of cutting of Bank of America at the knees, is it not? I sincerely hope you're taking a moment to laugh this morning, Ken Lewis. From the Chicago Tribune:

Updated at 9:08 a.m.: Blagojevich and Harris were arrested simultaneously at their homes at about 6:15 a.m., according to the FBI. They were transported to FBI headquarters in Chicago, where they remained at 9 a.m.
Updated at 9 a.m.: Blagojevich is slated to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan today at a time that has not yet been scheduled, according to Randall Samborn of the U.S. attorney's office.
Updated at 8:57 a.m.: On the issue of the U.S. Senate selection, federal prosecutors alleged Blagojevich sought appointment as Secretary of Health and Human Services in the new Obama administration, or a lucrative job with a union in exchange for appointing a union-preferred candidate.
Blagojevich and Harris conspired to demand the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members responsible for editorials critical of Blagojevich in exchange for state help with the sale of Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs baseball stadium owned by Tribune Co.
Blagojevich and Harris, along with others, obtained and sought to gain financial benefits for the governor, members of his family and his campaign fund in exchange for appointments to state boards and commissions, state jobs and state contracts.

"The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement. "They allege that Blagojevich put a 'for sale' sign on the naming of a United States senator; involved himself personally in pay-to-play schemes with the urgency of a salesman meeting his annual sales target; and corruptly used his office in an effort to trample editorial voices of criticism."
Updated at 8:48 a.m.: Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested today by FBI agents on federal corruption charges.
Blagojevich and Harris were accused of a wide-ranging criminal conspiracy that included Blagojevich conspiring to sell or trade the Senate seat left vacant by President-elect Barack Obama in exchange for financial benefits for the governor and his wife. The governor was also accused of obtaining campaign contributions in exchange for other official actions.
Blagojevich was taken into federal custody at his North Side home this morning.
A Blagojevich spokesman said he was unaware of the development. "Haven't heard anything -- you are first to call," Lucio Guerrero said in an e-mail.
The stunning, early morning visit by authorities to the governor's North Side home came amid revelations that federal investigators had recorded the governor with the cooperation of a longtime confidant and had begun to focus on the possibility that the process of choosing a Senate successor to President-elect Barack Obama could be tainted by pay-to-play politics.
Blagojevich was taken into custody hours after the Tribune reported that the investigation into allegations of pay-to-play politics within his administration had been expanded to include his pending choice of a Senate replacement for Obama. The Democratic governor has said he expects to make a decision on the state's next senator in weeks.
Sources told the Tribune that investigators intensified their investigation into Blagojevich amid concerns that the process of choosing a new senator could be tainted. The actions by federal authorities came a day before Blagojevich's 52nd birthday.
The Tribune previously disclosed that federal investigators had recordings of Blagojevich. Those recordings were aided by the cooperation of longtime Blagojevich confidant and former congressional chief of staff John Wyma.
On Monday, Blagojevich said he has done nothing wrong in his stewardship of the state and challenged critics to record him because his discussions were "always lawful."

Related

Bank Of America Hoping To Fire Thousands Of Employees In Record Time

Remember Project New BAC, i.e. Bank of America's plan to transform itself from Ken Lewis's house of fun, where everyone went home happy but the concept of making money was less of a focus than keeping the good times coming, to an institution that did things like post profits? The bank has said previously that PNBAC "will result in $8 billion in annual savings by 2015—$5 billion from the first phase and $3 billion from a second phase" and while it stands by those figures and remains committed to cutting as many employees as it takes, some people would like them to be a bit snappier about it. Bank of America is accelerating a broad cost-cutting plan and has set a target of shedding 16,000 jobs by year's end—cuts that would see the company relinquish its title as U.S. banking's largest employer. The proposed year-end total of 260,000 would be the lowest count since 2008 and likely give Bank of America a smaller workforce than JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, or Wells Fargo...Chief Executive Brian Moynihan is trying to speed the company's transformation into a smaller and more efficient operation as he tries to persuade investors that expenses can be adjusted to compensate for revenue lost to new regulations, an uneven economy and shaky markets. Since becoming CEO in 2010, he has shifted away from a nationwide expansion strategy embraced by his predecessors Hugh L. McColl Jr. and Kenneth D. Lewis, and shed many of the businesses that he considers to be nonessential...Hitting the new staffing target would fulfill a year early Mr. Moynihan's pledge to slash the bank's workforce by approximately 30,000. "If they want to make any headway toward improving profitability," said Sterne Agee & Leach Inc. senior banking analyst Todd Hagerman, "they need to accelerate the timeline." Bank Of America Ramps Up Job Cuts [WSJ]