SPRINGFIELD, IL -- The public rift between Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Governor Rod Blagojevich is growing deeper.
More signs of the divide emerged yesterday as Blagojevich's office filed to have Madigan removed as its attorney in defending itself against an effort to reveal federal subpoenas the Governor's office has received.
Chicago-based based watchdog group Better Government Association (BGA) has sued the Governor under the Freedon of Information Act (FOIA) to make the subpoenas public.
The subpoenas relate to a federal investigation of the Blagojevich administration's hiring practices. The probe began after newspaper reports claimed that Blagojevich campaign donors had been given plum jobs in state bureaucracies.
The Governor's office claims the Attorney General won't be motivated to defend Blagojevich with "zeal and integrity" because she has already called for the subpoenas to be made public. They claim Madigan intends to file a friend of the court brief opposing Blagojevich's stance.
So yesterday, Blagojevich staffers filed a motion with a judge in Sangamon County asking that they be allowed to hire their own attorneys rather than rely on Madigan.
"The Attorney General is effectively adverse to the Governor's office in this matter and has an irreconcilable conflict of interest," Blagojevich's general counsel, William Quinlan, wrote in a recent court document.
A Madigan aide said she intends to oppose the motion and BGA lawyers expect it to fail. Attorney Howard Feldman pointed out that the Attorney General "solely and exclusively" decides whether to defend state clients in such cases.
A further hearing on the case will be held on Monday.