In some ways It’s been nice seeing an Illinois GOP at least put up a fight instead of sending Andy McKenna around to whine. However, it’s gotten a bit predictable:
Giannoulias Has Questions To Answer
“You have to be as transparent as possible and answer questions.” – Alexi Giannoulias, June 18, 2010
SEIU Official Tom Balanoff testified in federal court today that Alexi Giannoulias asked him to ask Rod Blagojevich about appointing him to Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat.
Union leader Tom Balanoff testifies to a couple of other discussions.
He says Alexi Giannoulias, a friend to then President-Elect Barack Obama, asked him to ask Blagojevich about a possible appointment for him.
In a Nov. 24th meeting, Balanoff raises the point.
Blagojevich bristled, he testified.
“That mother f—–, I wouldn’t do s— for him. Every chance he got he took a shot at me.”
Balanoff’s sworn version of events directly contradicts at least three claims made by Alexi Giannoulias.
December 4, 2008: Alexi Giannoulias told the Chicago Tribune that Rod Blagojevich’s staff had reached out to him about a possible appointment to the vacant Senate seat.
Giannoulias also said that staff within Blagojevich’s office have “reached out” to him as a possible candidat to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate, though a Blagojevich spokesman said the governor has not contacted Giannoulias directly.
December 4, 2008: In the same interview, Giannoulias told the Chicago Tribune that he was not “pushing for the seat”
Giannoulias said he’s not pushing for the seat, but if it’s offered he’d have to take a “very, very hard look,” at the opportunity to work in Washington D.C. alongside his close friend Obama.
December 12, 2008: Alexi Giannoulias said that he hadn’t “really thought about” Obama’s Senate seat.
Giannoulias, a Democrat, said he’s been busy sorting through the state’s financial woes following Tuesday’s arrest of Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
“I haven’t really thought about it to be honest with you,” he said during an appearance at Aurora University. “I’ve been focused on trying to do my job and trying to rebuild the public’s trust in us as elected officials.”
There’s nothing suggesting Giannoulias is actually lying here. It’s entirely possible some staffer did reach out to him–it’s pretty clear that Blagojevich’s staff had to act on it’s own given they had an insane man as their boss. December 4th and 12th appear to be pro forma answers to the press about something you are unlikely to get, but wouldn’t mind taking.
What we do know? Alexi blasted Blagojevich enough to piss him so that he wasn’t go to be considered regardless of what he wanted which kind of blows a hole in the theory that they were in lockstep as the Illinois GOP keeps claiming. Hell, Blagojevich may have hated Alexi almost as much as he hated Quinn and Jackson Jr. What’s odd is that Alexi ran against Madigan’s candidate, won, and is now tarred as part of the Illinois Democratic machine. I understand why Republicans make the argument, I don’t know why the press doesn’t laugh at them. Alexi had no real allies in Springfield. His two biggest allies are generally Durbin and Obama.
More seriously, there are two big issues the GOP has taken Giannoulias to task on that are legitimate. The first is the Bright Start where one of the funds took a huge loss based on a bad operator. Giannoulias and the state were able to reach a settlement where between 50 – 55 percent of the investment were returned to investors. That’s not something to tout, but it’s also not the worst outcome and Giannoulias was the first to figure out the fraud amongst states involved in the fund.
The second is his family’s bank. It’s legitimate and fair to point out the bank failed and Alexi has long touted it as experience. What’s weird are the zombie lies keep getting brought up about loaning money to the mob. These were originally dug up by Madigan’s team (and everyone in the press seems to have forgotten that) and ultimately they amount to legal loans were made to some people who turned out to be unsavory, but also had loans at larger more established banks.
What all of this does do, though, is keep Mark Kirk from having to address his actual political beliefs that seem to change with the audience.