Reactions continue to come in from both sides of the isle, following President Donald Trump’s commutation of the prison sentence of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich today.
Congressman Darin LaHood and the Illinois House Republican Delegation expressed disappointment with the President in a joint statement released this afternoon. LaHood along with Illinois Congressmen John Shimkus, Adam Kinzinger, Rodney Davis, and Mike Bost called Blagojevich “the face of public corruption in Illinois”, citing it is their belief that “he received an appropriate and fair sentence, which was at the low end of the federal sentencing guidelines for the gravity of his public corruption convictions. “
Blagojevich was convicted in a wide-ranging political corruption case months after he appeared on Trump’s reality TV show, The Apprentice. The 63-year-old Democrat was found guilty in 2011 of crimes that included seeking to sell an appointment to Barack Obama’s old Senate seat and trying to shake down a children’s hospital.
100th District State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer says the move sets a bad precedent considering the ongoing corruption investigations in Illinois state government.
“At a time like this when the FBI is in the middle of investigations uncovering a ton of different corruption in the State of Illinois, I think it sets a bad precedent to let a politician who tried to use a public elected seat to gain personally, and I just think it sets a bad precedent for all the corruption that is being uncovered today and will be uncovered in the months to come by the FBI in the State of Illinois.”
Democrat Governor J. B. Pritzker said today that the it sends the wrong message at the wrong time, while Illinois House Republican leader Jim Durkin said he also disagrees with the decision.
“We are currently existing in a crisis of corruption in ethics in the State of Illinois, and his actions distract away from the investigation that is currently going on in this building and throughout the State of Illinois. There are more deserving people who are in the Federal Bureau of Prisons who could use relief from this President other than Rod Blagojevich.”
Democratic U.S. Senator Dick Durbin also weighed in today stating that “Illinois and Washington should move quickly to establish stricter ethics requirements, including the full detailed disclosure of income, net worth, and income tax returns by all elected officials.”
Blagojevich has served eight years of a 14 year sentence and exhausted his last appeal in 2018. Blagojevich is reported to be released soon, although no official word has been released as of press time.