Illinois’s Republican congressmen are on the record as opposing any kind of mercy for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
The state’s Republican congressmen all signed a letter to President Donald Trump this week that makes the case for keeping Blagojevich in prison.
“We ask that you give thoughtful attention to our fear that granting clemency for the former governor would set detrimental precedent and a damaging message,” the letter states.
Congressman Darin LaHood helped write the letter. A former federal prosecutor, LaHood said Blagojevich shouldn’t be a candidate for clemency.
“You think about commuting someone’s sentence when there’s complete remorse. Where they take responsibility for what they did wrong,” LaHood said. “Rod Blagojevich has done absolutely the opposite. He’s never been remorseful. He’s never admitted that he did anything wrong.”
LaHood also worried that mercy from Trump would send the wrong message to other prosecutors investigating public corruption.
“We are fighting public corruption in the state every single day,” LaHood said. “It has been a problem when four of your last seven governors have gone to prison, both Republicans and Democrats. And to think that the president is thinking about pardoning or giving Blagojevich a commutation is just wrong.”
The letter goes on to remind the president of the evidence against Blagojevich, including his shakedown of a Children’s Memorial Hospital for a $50 thousand campaign contribution and the delay in signing a new law for the state’s horse tracks until he had secured $10,000.
“During his tenure, Rod Blagojevich participated in several pay-to-play practices in which he attempted to solicit money in exchange for official public acts,” the congressmen wrote in their letter to Trump, who raised the idea of ending Blagojevich’s 14-year sentence last month. He said the former governor shouldn’t be in prison for “saying something stupid.”
The men have a history. Blagojevich was a guest on the president’s TV show “Celebrity Apprentice.”