House Republicans in the Illinois delegation are calling for President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel plans to subpoena Trump lawyer who advised on how to overturn election Texans chairman apologizes for 'China virus' remark Biden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day MORE to not commute the prison sentence of former Democratic Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is serving 14 years on federal corruption charges.
The push comes in the wake of Trump telling reporters Wednesday he was “very strongly” considering commuting the sentence of the former "Celebrity Apprentice" contestant — who was removed from office in 2009 and convicted of multiple charges, including attempting to sell former President Obama’s Senate seat — saying he believes Blagojevich "was treated unbelievably unfairly.”
In a statement released Thursday, GOP Reps. Darin LaHoodDarin McKay LaHoodIllinois redistricting proposal creates new Hispanic seat, sets up member-vs.-member races Illinois Democrats propose new 'maximized' congressional map US must support Lebanon as it faces economic and political instability MORE, John ShimkusJohn Mondy ShimkusGOP ekes out win in return of Congressional Baseball Game Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Lobbying world MORE, Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerIllinois redistricting proposal creates new Hispanic seat, sets up member-vs.-member races The 9 Republicans who voted to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress Cheney reveals GOP's Banks claimed he was Jan. 6 panel's ranking member MORE, Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisIllinois Democrats propose new 'maximized' congressional map GOP rep presses Capitol Police Board on outstanding security recommendations House approves John Lewis voting rights measure MORE, and Mike BostMichael (Mike) J. BostMORE argued commuting the former governor could further the pattern of corruption among high-ranking politicians in the state.
“It’s important that we take a strong stand against pay-to-play politics, especially in Illinois where four of our last eight Governors have gone to federal prison for public corruption,” they wrote.
“Commuting the sentence of Rod Blagojevich, who has a clear and documented record of egregious corruption, sets a dangerous precedent and goes against the trust voters place in elected officials. We stand by our letter and urge the President to not commute Rod Blagojevich’s sentence.”
The lawmakers previously sent a letter in 2018 pleading with Trump not to grant clemency for Blagojevich.
"As you know, Illinois has gone through a difficult period of public corruption in the past, with several of our recent governors falling to corruption charges and convictions. This trend reached its pinnacle with the impeachment, and later criminal conviction, of former Gov. Blagojevich on 18 counts of public corruption including lying to federal agents, wire fraud, extortion, and bribery,” they wrote.
“The events leading up to his impeachment, conviction and sentencing to 14 years in prison grew out of a series of actions by the former governor that showed a consistent pattern of public corruption – both within the State of Illinois and it’s agencies – culminating in the ultimate act of public corruption attempting to sell a United States Senate seat.”
Blagojevich began serving his sentence in 2012.