Peter Flaherty, President of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), today reacted to Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s appointment of Roland Burris to Barack Obama’s Senate seat by saying:
It’s getting more difficult for Barack Obama to extricate himself from the political mess in Illinois. Obama and other leading Democrats should have stuck to their calls for a special election to fill his Senate seat, instead of reverting to a brokered process. It only invited this kind of shenanigans from Blagojevich.
It is hard to see how Blagojevich’s appointment of Roland Burris has less credibility or moral standing than one brokered by other Illinois politicians. They all come out of the same corrupt culture that includes both parties.
Much of the initial media coverage of Blagojevich missed the point. I don’t believe was he was out of control or some sort of lone wolf. I believe his intercepted conversations are typical of politicians in Illinois and other states.
The media focus on Obama’s Senate seat is justified but it is obscuring equally important information from the FBI affidavit, namely the role of Obama’s political sponsor Tony Rezko as Blagojevich’s bagman. I doubt Rezko had one set of ethical standards when Obama was in the room, and another when he was with Blagojevich.
NLPC promotes ethics in public life, and sponsors the Government Integrity Project.