WE ARE ILLINOIS
Once again, Blagojevich proves why he can't be trusted
Rich Miller, Chicago Sun-Times
One of the biggest challenges reporters have covering Gov. Blagojevich is they have to fact-check every word that comes out of his mouth.
Way too often, Blagojevich ventures beyond the generally accepted boundaries of political spin into out-and-out lies and complete fabrications.
The man just makes stuff up.
For instance, Blagojevich has claimed over and over that a Democratic House member confided that he feared losing his job with the City of Chicago if he voted for the governor's proposed multibillion-dollar construction bill. Blagojevich says House Speaker Michael Madigan, who opposes the governor's bill, had used his awesome powers to put the heat on this unnamed legislator.
Blagojevich repeated this claim during a Wednesday press conference.
"They fear their leader, Mr. Madigan, and if Mike Madigan tells them to vote a certain way, they will tell you privately, and I've had these discussions with a couple of state reps, one of whom said, 'I'm afraid if I vote for the jobs bill I'll be fired from my job at Streets and Sanitations [sic]. I'm afraid I'll lose my job.' "
This was the first time the governor had revealed where that mystery lawmaker worked.
A check showed only one House Democrat works at Streets and San: state Rep. Rich Bradley (D-Chicago).
Trouble is, Rep. Bradley told me he hasn't spoken with the governor in about two years. Bradley claims he is opposed to the capital plan as written because the House Latino Caucus opposes it.
I had heard from numerous sources, including Deputy House Majority Leader Gary Hannig, that the governor announced during a legislative leaders meeting that Rep. John D'Amico (D-Chicago) was the state representative who feared losing his city job. D'Amico works for the Chicago Department of Water, not Streets and San, but I guess I could see how the governor might be confused.
So, I called Rep. D'Amico.
Turns out, D'Amico did talk to Blagojevich.
As D'Amico tells the story, Gov. Blagojevich asked D'Amico if he was voting against the capital plan because he was afraid of losing his job.
D'Amico said he told the governor that he has been in the union for 26 years and there's no way he could be fired over a legislative issue unless they first canned a whole bunch of people with less seniority to get at him. Rep. D'Amico said he told the governor he opposed the capital plan because Mayor Daley was against it. D'Amico told me he informed the governor that he didn't fear losing his job over the capital bill.
Blagojevich also repeated a claim this week that he had asked U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel to call the legislator and assure him he wouldn't lose his city gig.
D'Amico said he did receive a phone call from Emanuel, but he said Emanuel never mentioned the threat stuff. Instead, Emanuel just lobbied D'Amico to vote for the capital bill.
D'Amico asked Emanuel if he knew that Daley was against the capital bill, and Emanuel immediately "backed off." Emanuel is a Blagojevich ally, but he is a Daley creation.
No way would he want to work against the mayor's interests.
A source close to Emanuel confirmed everything D'Amico said. Blagojevich's press office did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Do you understand a bit better now why it's so darned difficult to deal with this governor?
When you hear people like Mayor Daley say that there's a "trust issue" with Blagojevich, it's because nothing he says can be believed -- not even his favorite story about how Mike Madigan's members fear losing their city jobs.
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