Geez, Obama bails out on his Church and Pastor, Durbin bails on Blagojevich... what profiles in courage our Senators.
An Illinois GOP Press Release... and he holds up George Ryan?
Senator says he has been troubled by Blagojevich allies currently facing legal battles
By David Mendell
Chicago Tribune reporter
May 30, 2008
Illinois' senior Democratic senator said Friday he had a much better working relationship with former Republican Gov. George Ryan than Democratic successor Rod Blagojevich.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, during a wide-ranging interview with the Tribune editorial board, also said he was "troubled" by some of Blagojevich's early appointments. Some of those appointees, Durbin noted, played prominent roles at the public corruption trial of Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a former top fundraiser for Blagojevich.
"You may assume—and it's natural that you would —that there's a closer working relationship with the governor and senator than there actually is. There isn't much," Durbin said, adding he's talked privately with Blagojevich only a handful of times since Blagojevich took office in 2003.
Durbin said he was particularly troubled by the appointment of Republican fundraiser Stuart Levine, who later pleaded guilty in a political corruption case. Durbin, who is running for re-election this fall, said he has never been close to Levine, though he acknowledged Levine gave $1,000 to his campaign fund in 2000.
"What's happened here was fairly obvious to a lot of us on the outside," Durbin said of the federal investigations of the Blagojevich administration.
Asked whether he should have registered his unease to Blagojevich about appointees like Levine, Durbin said, "When it comes to dealing with the state and all of the decisions involved in it, there's just so much I can do, to be honest with you."
Durbin's comments came as Steve Sauerberg, the senator's GOP challenger, has sought to link the senator to the beleaguered Blagojevich. "Dick Durbin's statement about his limited contacts with the governor is either an opportunistic lie or—if it's true—represents a total abdication of responsibility on behalf of the senior senator from Illinois," Sauerberg said in a statement.
As for how Ryan compares to Blagojevich, Durbin said he regularly received phone calls from Ryan as late as midnight to discuss public business. That never happens with Blagojevich, he said.