Ill. House OKs impeachment proceedings

Dec. 15, 2008 at 11:12 PM
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Dec. 15 (UPI) -- The Illinois House voted 113-0 Monday to open impeachment proceedings against Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who faces federal corruption charges.

The vote came on the same day as Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said he would appoint a special committee to begin an impeachment investigation against the governor, a Democrat in his second term. Blagojevich was arrested last week on federal charges stemming from an alleged effort to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama to the highest bidder.

Democratic House leaders in the state capital decided, however, against immediate consideration of a plan to strip Blagojevich of his authority to appoint someone to serve the remainder of Obama's Senate term, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The House adjourned until Jan. 12.

Madigan said at a news conference before the vote that he has been studying the idea of impeaching Blagojevich for about a year. Even before the latest charges surfaced, Blagojevich was under federal investigation in a pay-to-play scheme that involved awarding state jobs and contracts based on who could raise the most campaign cash.

"We plan to proceed without delay," Madigan said, adding he intends fully to cooperate with Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

Madigan's daughter, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, filed a motion with the state Supreme Court Friday seeking Blagojevich's removal from office, or at the very least, a restraining order to keep him from performing his duties, to speed the process along.

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