Gov. J.B. Pritzker | Facebook
Gov. J.B. Pritzker is criticizing President Donald J. Trump’s commutation of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s 14 year prison sentence.
Blagojevich has served eight years of a 14-year sentence on more than a dozen felony charges, which included wire fraud, bribery, conspiracy and extortion. The former Illinois governor began his prison sentence in 2012, but his sentence was commuted by Trump on Tuesday, Feb. 18. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Blagojevich’s appeal.
“Illinoisans have endured far too much corruption, and we must send a message to politicians that corrupt practices will no longer be tolerated. President Trump has abused his pardon power in inexplicable ways to reward his friends and condone corruption, and I deeply believe this pardon sends the wrong message at the wrong time,” Pritkzer said in a statement. “I’m committed to continuing to take clear and decisive steps this spring to prevent politicians from using their offices for personal gain, and I will continue to approach this work with that firm conviction."
But, the Chicago Tribune reported in 2017, that Pritzker once sought a political office from Blagojevich – back in 2008, when Blagojevich was dealing with an empty seat in the U.S. Senate. The Tribune reports that Pritzker asked Blagojevich if he would make him state treasurer instead, as he wasn’t interested in the Senate seat that opened up after then Sen. Barack Obama was elected to the presidency. This came to light in phone calls recorded by the FBI, according to the Chicago Tribune report.
In another call, Pritzker suggested that Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State, be appointed to fill the Senate seat, and made comments that he has since apologized for.
Not only that, but Pritzker and his wife donated at least $140,000 to Blagojevich’s campaign between 2002 and 2006, the Chicago Tribune reported.