Two House Democrats said discussions on a possible impeachment resolution targeting Blagojevich accelerated after Tuesday’s disclosure by Ali Ata, whom the governor appointed to a $127,000-a-year post running the Illinois Finance Authority.
In his surprise guilty plea to federal corruption charges, Ata said he gave two $25,000 campaign contributions to the governor and then got Blagojevich’s assurance of landing a state job in which Ata “could make some money.” Ata is expected to testify against indicted former Blagojevich fund-raiser Tony Rezko.
State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock) and Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago) said a decision on impeachment could come within two weeks.
“We now find ourselves in a very different environment, where an individual has pled guilty to being a co-conspirator in transactions involving the governor,” Fritchey said. “Can state government be effectively led by a governor who is apparently at the center of some very significant allegations of wrongdoing?”
Blagojevich surfaced Wednesday at a Springfield prayer breakfast that was not disclosed by his staff. In an eight-minute speech, the governor did not address Ata. But, perhaps offering a glimpse into his current mind-set, Blagojevich closed by invoking the lyrics of an obscure, 1950s Hank Williams song, “Men with Broken Hearts.”
” ‘You never stood in that man’s shoes or saw things through his eyes or watched with helpless hands while the heart inside you dies,’ ” Blagojevich said. ” ‘So help your brother along the way no matter where he starts because the same God that made you made him too, these men with broken hearts.'”