Blago's Financial Shell Game

Schemes to hide campaign funds alleged

It should come as no surprise to Gov. Rod Blagojevich that authorities are reportedly moving to freeze his campaign fund - and not just because the same thing happened to George Ryan. According to the criminal complaint filed against Blagojevich, the governor and three of his aides contemplated that prosecutors might do just such a thing – and discussed ways to secure the millions of dollars in the fund by moving the money elsewhere.

“Also on December 5, 2008,” the complaint says, “Rod Blagojevich and three others discussed whether to move money out of the Friends of Blagojevich campaign fund to avoid having the money frozen and also considered the possibility of prepaying money to Rod Blagojevich’s criminal defense attorney with an understanding that the attorney would donate the money back at a later time if it was not needed. They also discussed opening a new fund raising account named Citizens for Blagojevich with new contributions received.”

The discussion appears to have been prompted by the Tribune’s story that day that an ally of the governor’s was cooperating in the federal probe.

One individual in the complaint is described as Fundraiser A and chairman of Friends of Blagojevich. "Blagojevich's brother Robert is his campaign chairman," Newsday (and others) has reported. "Fundraiser A is listed several times in the affidavit as helping the governor pressure contributors.

"At one point when the governor remarks that he is not involved in any illegal activity, his brother responds by saying 'unless prospectively somebody gets you on a wire'."

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