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Rod Blagojevich is an Illinois-based politician whose career has been marred by as many scandals as it has been highlighted by successes.
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Blagojevich claimed the check was a gift to his daughters. Beverly says she believes the money was given in exchange for her position.
Blagojevich also faced questions about his ties to Tony Rezko, a business tycoon and key fundraiser for Blagojevich. The governor appointed Rezko to a number of boards in the city. Rezko and several other Blagojevich fundraisers were later indicted for using their power on these boards to extort money from businesses. Despite the allegations,
Blagojevich won re-election in 2006. During this time, the governor's actions aroused suspicions in U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who began closely investigating the governor's activities.
By 2008, Blagojevich's performance as governor had earned him a 13 percent approval rating, giving him the title of "Least Popular Governor in the Nation." Later that same year, federal agents finally had enough evidence to arrest the governor for attempting to trade President-elect Barack Obama's newly vacant senatorial seat in return for campaign contributions and a high-paying job for his wife. Transcripts of phone conversations also revealed that Blagojevich threatened to block financial assistance to the company that owns the Chicago Tribune newspaper, unless they fired members of the paper's editorial board who criticized the governor.
On January 29, 2009, following an extensive Senate trial, Blagojevich was impeached and barred from ever holding public office in the state of Illinois. Two separate and unanimous votes of 59-0 by the Illinois State Senate found the governor guilty of abuses of power. In April of 2009, he was indicted by a federal grand jury on criminal corruption charges. On June 27, 2011, Blagojevich was found guilty on 17 of 20 corruption charges. He faces up to 300 years in prison, and will be the fourth Illinois governor to face prison in recent history.
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