Illinois impeachment inquiry continues

January 5, 2009 5:13:29 PM PST
On Monday Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn publicly called on Roland Burris to step down from his senate appointment. Quinn also announced that he is setting up a panel to make recommendations on cleaning up Illinois government as more steps are taken to quickly impeach governor Blagojevich. Last week, virtually the next full working day after Rod Blagojevich appointed Roland Burris house speaker Michael Madigan accelerated the process that could lead to the impeachment, senate trial and ousting from office of the governor.

And there are new signs the transition is underway as the Illinois lieutenant governor is already acting as though he's the state's top elected official.

With an oversized photo of rod Blagojevich staring over his left shoulder lieutenant governor Pat Quinn announced to the packed Chicago City Club that he is forming a new state government reform commission. Later, he was asked if he believed he'd be governor before the end of 2009.

All of us in Illinois need to be committed to a year of reform and I think that Governor Blagojevich is not the person to lead that," said Lt. Governor Pat Quinn.

In Springfield, the Illinois house impeachment inquiry committee continued its work during a rare, unofficial Sunday session. Its democratic leaders were told by speaker mike Madigan last week to finish the hearings before the end of this week.

"The state democratic party is feeling a great deal of embarrassment for allowing this situation to occur,' said IL Rep. Jim Durkin (R) House Select Committee on Impeachment.

The full house--which returns to Springfield on Wednesday--could receive a recommendation by the committee of inquiry by Thursday and take a vote on an impeachment resolution before the end of the week. A simple majority would approve articles of impeachment that don't have to include charges that rod Blagojevich committed any crimes.

"The only thing driving this is the incredible unpopularity of the government," said Paul Green, PhD, Roosevelt University.

"That is not a sufficient reason to remove anyone from office unless they face the voters in an election," said IL Sen. Bill Haine (D) Alton.

A state senate committee met in Chicago Monday to plan the governor's trial even though an impeachment resolution still hasn't been heard or debated in the house. Senate President John Cullerton supports the need for speed insisting that Springfield cannot function with a cloud over the state's chief executive.

"You have to know that the governor is going to either remain the governor or if he is removed there's a new governor," said Sen. John Cullerton (D) IL Senate President.

As we reported earlier this afternoon, there is a possibility the house committee of inquiry might have some limited access to FBI tapes of secretly recorded conversations involving the governor.

The committee looking at whether governor rod Blagojevich should be impeached has cancelled its meeting that was scheduled for Tuesday.

Instead the committee will meet on Wednesday. The house leadership wants to have a vote on the impeachment resolution before the fourteenth of January when the new legislature is sworn in.


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