Three Former Blago Aides Fined

Illinois Executive Ethics Commission said press release amounted to campaigning for Barack Obama.

Three former aides to ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich were fined by a state ethics panel for using taxpayer-funded resources to support Barack Obama during his campaign for president.

Sspokeswomen Abby Ottenhoff and Rebecca Rausch, as well as Deputy Gov. Sheila Nix violated state law two years ago when they issued a press release on behalf of Blagojevich supporting Obama on the day he announced his candidacy in Springfield.

The release quoted the governor as saying that he was "proud to support Senator Obama in his bid for the presidency."

The commission said the statement amounted to campaigning on behalf of Obama and fined Ottenhoff $1,500. Rausch and Nix each were fined $1,000. Blagojevich wasn't involved in drafting the press release.

The trio's attorney, Matthew Ryan, said the ruling didn't reflect his clients' intentions. They said they were responding to numerous media requests for comment and noted that the statement called for the state's primary election day to be moved.

The ethics panel reached its decision Nov. 18 but did not post the information online until this week. A spokesman told the Chicago Tribune that isn't out of the ordinary.

The state says it has not received payment for the fines.

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