Sunday marked a decade since the FBI arrested Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and even today the chapter is painful.

And embarrassing.

And shameful.

That Blagojevich tried to sell Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat was just one piece in a staggering criminal case that included allegations of corruption and shakedowns -- 18 counts in all.

Kick-back schemes.

Blatant insider contracts and hiring deals.


There were wiretaps and incriminating tapes.

"I've got this thing, and it's (bleeping) golden."

It all symbolized the worst in Illinois politics.



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Relentless bravado.

He was detained in his Mediterranean-style home on Sunnyside Avenue in Chicago. It was Dec. 8, 2008.

The news was explosive. Blagojevich, and by proxy all of Illinois, was mocked relentlessly on national TV.

He got 14 years in prison, a sentence that still smacks of being for show, as if to prove that the bombastic politician from Illinois should get what's coming to him.

Naturally, there were appeals, and recently a clemency bid was sought from President Donald Trump, who in this "Twilight Zone" knew the governor through "Celebrity Apprentice." Nothing came of it.

Blagojevich is a felon now. Disgraced. A footnote.

The name can't be washed from everything, not from the glass plaque in the atrium of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, built during the Blagojevich years. (Ironically, the name of Gov. George Ryan, another convicted Illinois governor, is on the outside of the library portion across the street.)

And the whole chapter resurfaced during the election of Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker, a fellow Democrat, and those tapes from a decade ago. In one, Blagojevich was asking Pritzker, a Hyatt Hotels heir, for a donation and the possibility of a treasurer's or attorney general position. It briefly became a campaign issue. Pritzker denied wrongdoing.

Blagojevich is a felon now, a resident of a federal prison near Littleton, Colorado, not far from the Front Range of the Southern Rocky Mountains, where for our governor the views of the spectacular snow-topped peaks are obscured by bars and razor wire.

We shouldn't let his misdeeds vanish from our memories.

Don't forget what Rod Blagojevich did to Illinois.

-- Lee News Service

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