Prompt action needed to address Illinois scandal

Freedom New Mexico

President-elect Barack Obama at one level emerges with surprisingly clean hands from the scandal surrounding Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s arrest for allegedly trying to “sell” the appointment to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Obama.

Not only did U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald explicitly say the president-elect was not named in the 76-page complaint, but one wiretapped conversation had Gov. Blagojevich cursing Obama and complaining that his people offered “nothing but appreciation” in return for possibly naming longtime Obama supporter Valerie Jarrett a senator.

Nonetheless, the scandal is bound to taint the incoming administration. Obama cut his political teeth in the traditionally corruption-ridden world of Chicago politics. However, while he maneuvered deftly in that sleazy environment and has apparently been far from a close associate of the governor — even supporting an Illinois ethics bill the governor found particularly distasteful — he has inevitably had associations with less-than-perfect characters, as have some of his top aides.

One aide, David Axelrod, three weeks ago said that, of course,