Lawmakers Take First Step Toward Impeaching Blago

Gov. Rod Blagojevich's bad situation just got worse.

Illinois lawmakers and the newly appointed state Legislature's impeachment committee begin work this morning on plans to oust Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

"We have given the governor six days to resign," said Speaker of the Illinois House Michael Madigan said. "He has declined to take the opportunity to resign; I think it's time to move forward."

The state Legislature unanimously voted to approve the committee, 113-0. 

Twelve Democrats and nine Republicans will make up the committee, which will work every day except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, until it decides whether the House should move to draw up formal impeachment charges.

Yesterday lawmakers started the proceedings, but a divided Democratic Party left Blagojevich with the power to appoint a new U.S. senator. Blagojevich was arrested at his home last week and is accuse of trying to profit from his power to appoint a replacement for President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate.

"I have stood in opposition to Gov. Blagojevich, many times alone. My record of opposition to the governor ... will not stand in the way of this committee affording to the governor all his constitutional rights," Madigan said.

Blagojevich, meanwhile, has hired Chicago attorney Ed Genson, a tough, street-smart lawyer known for rich and famous clients like R&B singer R. Kelly. Genson said last night that Blagojevich has no plans to resign.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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