Illinois governor impeached; AG calls on Blagojevich to leave office

Chris Rizo Jan. 9, 2009, 1:38pm

Rod Blagojevich (D)

Lisa Madigan (D)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Legal Newsline)- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Friday reiterated her calls for Gov. Rod Blagojevich to resign office, following a House vote to impeach the embattled governor.

The Illinois House voted 114 to 1 to make Blagojevich the first Illinois governor to be impeached. Just 60 votes were needed for the impeachment motion to pass. Three representatives did not vote.

The Senate will in the coming weeks hold a non-criminal trial to determine if the two-term governor should be removed from office.

"Today, in taking the extraordinary step of impeachment, the House of Representatives has concluded that Governor Blagojevich has failed the people of this state, violated their trust, and placed his personal gain before the public good," Madigan said.

She added that Blagojevich, her fellow Democrat, has harmed Illinoisans, and by refusing to recognize "his utter inability to govern effectively, he continues this harm."

The Illinois House panel investigating Blagojevich on Thursday recommended that the governor be impeached.

The 69-page report approved Friday says Illinoisans should have confidence that their governor will "faithfully serve the people and put their interests before his own. It is with profound regret that the committee finds that our current governor has not done so."

Last month, the governor was arrested for allegedly trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama in exchange for political and personal favors.

For his part, Blagojevich has denied any wrongdoing and has refused to leave office.

Three weeks after his arrest, Blagojevich appointed former state Attorney General Roland Burris to Obama's seat.

In their report, House impeachment committee members said the governor has refused to appear before the panel to rebut the allegations federal authorities have levied against him.

"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.

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