Tuesday, June 28, 2011

SEIU Swept Up in Blago's Guilty Verdict

In case you didn’t catch the news, SEIU was swept up in Monday’s corruption verdict against former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The federal jury found Blago guilty on 17 counts of extortion, bribery, wire fraud, etc. Tom Balanoff, President of SEIU Local 1 and a member of SEIU’s International Executive Board, was on the phone with Blago when the former governor committed two counts of wire fraud, according to the Chicago Sun-Times:

GUILTY. Count 5: Wire fraud: Senate seat. In this Nov. 12 call to union leader Tom Balanoff, prosecutors allege Blagojevich requested a 501c4 job in exchange for appointing Jarrett. Maximum penalty: 20 years.

GUILTY. Count 6: Wire fraud: Senate seat. In another Nov. 12 call to Balanoff, prosecutors allege Blagojevich was requesting the 501c4 job in exchange for appointing Valerie Jarrett -- and telling Balanoff to be careful about how he made the request on the governor's behalf. Maximum penalty: 20 years.

Andy Stern was also involved, meeting directly with Blago and Balanoff to talk about a deal. Apparently, they discussed the idea of getting Blago a job at a private foundation funded by SEIU in exchange for Blago naming the right replacement to Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat. And in another scheme, Blago talked about getting high-paying jobs for him and his wife at Change to Win in exchange for the Senate seat. Tasty especially likes this excerpt from prosecutors’ evidentiary proffer:

Harris [Blago's Chief of Staff] suggested to Blagojevich that the Change to Win idea might be better than a private foundation because the Change to Win job is controlled by SEIU and Blagojevich would not necessarily have to step down as governor to take it immediately, like he might have to do with a private foundation job. Blagojevich responded that the Change to Win idea was a “fucking great idea.” Later, Blagojevich stated he would like to be on some “corporate boards” in addition to taking the Change to Win job.

Hmm… corporate boards?? As they say, birds of a feather… Who knows? When Blago emerges from his years in the Big House, maybe Andy will find him a seat over at SIGA Technologies!