In the wake of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's arrest on corruption charges, state legislators on both sides of the aisle are calling for his impeachment.
Republicans and Democrats alike in Springfield are saying that impeachment proceedings are necessary to restore faith in the state government. They plan to meet this afternoon for the first time since the indictment.
Blagojevich was arrested last Tuesday. FBI wiretapping had recorded the governor allegedly discussing his attempts to sell Obama's vacant Senate seat, along with other conversations demonstrating allegedly criminal behavior. (Prosecutors say there is no evidence showing that Obama or his team were aware of the discussions.)
Yet the governor has remained in office since his indictment, giving no indication that he will resign. This morning, he headed in to work as usual, telling reporters that his agenda included signing a bill giving tax credits to filmmakers if they come to Illinois. His spokesman said that Blagojevich "has no plans on resigning Monday."
As long as the governor stays in power, he has the full rights and responsibilities of his office—including appointing someone to Obama's seat.
But even if he does resign or is impeached, it isn't clear who would get to fill the seat for him. National Democrats are angling to have the seat filled by appointment, which would probably be done by Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn. But state Democrats, as well as Republicans nationwide, seem to be hoping for a special election.
As the Chicago Tribune wrote in a recent editorial, even though Quinn is an "honest soul": "a caretaker senator appointed by a caretaker governor . . . that wouldn't be a great situation."
- Read about Illinois's history of political corruption.