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|Illinois Senate President Says Blagojevich Should Defend Himself
|The president of the Illinois Senate says he's disappointed that Governor Rod Blagojevich won't defend himself against impeachment.
Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) said Monday morning in Chicago that the governor's strategy is befuddling, but he said the governor shouldn't now be objecting to the trial rules.
Cullerton explains how the rules were devised by a state Senate committee which met on three occasions, twice on the 16th floor of the Thompson Center in Chicago, about 140 feet from the governor's office. "No one from the governor's office came to weigh in as to how these rules should be drafted," Cullerton said.
Cullerton says the governor's claim in public appearances that he can't call witnesses in his defense is "absolutely not accurate."
Cullerton acknowledges there are some witnesses that won't be called at the request of the U.S. attorney, such as White House officials Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett and U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Chicago), but the governor can submit the public statements or affidavits from these individuals.
Cullerton said the reason only one American governor has been impeached in the last 70 years is because the senators who sit in judgment are also politicians who are subject to impeachment, and they don't want impeachment to be easy, or for the process to be unfair, out of fear it could be used someday against them.
The governor also has accused lawmakers of trying to oust him so that they and Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, the heir apparent, could raise taxes. Cullerton said on Monday that new tax revenue of $1 billion a year will be needed to fund a badly needed capital bill. As for tax increases for other purposes, Cullerton said they will be "on the table," but he's not sure the votes exist for them, nor whether it is necessarily a wise policy.
Cullerton spoke to an audience at the City Club of Chicago.
(Illinois Radio Network)
|01 26 09 by Newsroom
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