Is What Blago Did Illegal?

Is What Blago Did Illegal?


Playing devil’s advocate for a moment. Obviously, if the tapes areaccurate, what Blagojevich was odious and unethical and dishonorable.But was it illegal?

Here’s why I ask: the Tribune‘s reporting that not only was Jesse Jackson Jr. candidate five,but that Blago had a meeting with a business man named Raghuveer Nayakwho’s a fundraiser for both men, and it was during that conversationthat Nayak offered to raise as much as $1.5 million for Blago’s campaignfund if he gave Jackson the seat.

OK, it’s possible that Jackson had no idea these folks (including, itappears, his brother) were scheming on his behalf. But here’s myquestion: My understanding of the law is that there’s a distinctionbetween personal pecuniary interests/compensation and campaignfundraising. In other words: it would be manifestly illegal, obviously,if Blago was “selling” the seat in the sense of trading it fro cash forhimself. But is trading the seat for fundraising help really illegal?and if so, doesn’t that mean that a huge percentage of politicaltransactions are illegal, including all those conversations during theprimary about Obama inducing HRC to drop out in exchange for fundraisinghelp to retire her debt?

I’m not defending this at all. Let me make that clear. I’m saying thatpoliticians trade things for fundraising help all the time, it’shalf of what they do. So where’s the line where that becomes illegal?

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