After a series of court-ordered wiretaps, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested on conspiracy charges related to advancing his career and finances, including a plot to sell President-elect Barack Obama's former Senate seat.
Officials arrested Blagojevich at his home Tuesday morning, for attempted bribery and mail fraud. John Harris, the governor's chief of staff, was also arrested. No other individuals, including Obama, have been accused of involvement in the case.
How will corruption charges in Obama's home state affect the president-elect? Click play for more from CBN News Reporter Heather Sells.
In a 76-page FBI document, investigators say that over the last month Blagojevich discussed selling or trading the state's vacant seat for personal benefits for himself and his wife, Patti.
The FBI report charges that the Illinois governor sought a substantial salary at a nonprofit group associated with labor unions in hopes that Obama would increase assistance to such groups while in office. Blagojevich also wanted campaign contributions and a spot for his wife on corporate boards, where she could earn $150,000 a year in director's fees.
"I want to make money," the affidavit quoted him as saying in one conversation caught on wiretap. The wiretaps were part of an ongoing FBI investigation of "pay-to-play politics" in Illinois.
In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald called the corruption charges "shocking." He said it was "a truly new low" for the state, which many claim has had a deep history of political corruption.
"We were in the middle of a corruption crime spree and we wanted to stop it," Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald also claims the governor was even considering appointing himself to the Senate seat to better his career and possibly a run for office in 2016.
The FBI affidavit says Blagojevich also threatened to stop funding to the Chicago-based Tribune Company, if the Chicago Tribune did not fire some of its top editors who had been critical of him.
Corruption in the State's Highest Office
Blagojevich took office in 2003, promising to clean up the mess of former Gov. George Ryan, who is now serving a six-year prison sentence on racketeering and fraud charges.
Blagojevich has denied any wrong doing.
Source: The Associated Press