Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider argues that commuting the sentence of now-jailed former Gov. Rod Blagojevich would send the wrong message in a state still notorious for political corruption.
“In a state where corrupt, machine-style politics is still all too common, it’s important that those found guilty serve their prison sentence in its entirety,” Schneider said in a statement earlier this month. “Rod Blagojevich is certainly no exception. The former governor’s proven record of corruption is a stain upon Illinois and its citizens. We must stand up and send the message that corruption will not be tolerated in Illinois.”
Talk of Blagojevich’s fate has taken on a life of its own ever since President Donald Trump indicated he is considering freeing the one-time “Celebrity Apprentice” contender from a federal prison in Colorado.
In speaking with reporters late last week, Trump shared that he recently "floated" the idea of commutation "to see where the Democrats stood, where the Republicans stood," the Associated Press reported.
More recently, a spokesperson for Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Trump had contacted his office to talk about the former governor’s sentence.
To date, Blagojevich has served roughly half of his 14-year corruption sentence.