Category Archives: Punditocracy

Poll: Keep Ryan in Jail

“Two-thirds of adults in Illinois (66%) are opposed to a presidential pardon for former Governor George Ryan, according to a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state.

“Just 23% say Ryan, the Republican convicted on federal corruption charges in 2006, should be pardoned. Eleven percent (11%) are undecided.”

Perhaps the poll’s most interesting finding is this:

“Members of Ryan’s own political party are more unforgiving than his former political opponents. Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Republicans oppose a pardon versus 59% of Democrats. Twenty-six percent (26%) of both parties favor pardoning Ryan. Among those unaffiliated with either major political party, just 15% support a pardon, while 77% oppose one.”

I can only guess that a segment of Democrats think Ryan’s death penalty moratorium should play into this.

- Via Progress Illinois

Chief of Cash

The New York Times delves into what it calls “a little-known episode of Mr. Emanuel’s biography” – you know, those 36 months in which he made $18 million working as a mergers & acquisitions guy.

My favorite part is this:

“Confidants of Mr. Emanuel’s said he decided to try his hand at business because he wanted financial security for his family, before eventually returning to public service.”

Oh, the sacrifices he’s made for us!

“He had a number in his head to make enough for the family,” one of Rahm’s brothers, Ezekiel, told the Times.

And he fell just short!

Going Blue

From Chicagoist:

“As if it hadn’t yet, we can now firmly say Obama merchandise has jumped the shark. Or something like that . . . “

Obama Punts

“Add president-elect Barack Obama to the growing list of politicians across Illinois issuing statements this week about former George Ryan being released from federal prison,” NBCChicago.com reports. “He doesn’t have an opinion.”

You know, I wrote the other day over on the Beachwood that I wasn’t going to spend the next four years saying “I told you so,” but that doesn’t mean I’m never gonna say it. So consider it said.

Conrad’s Clemency Con

“Conrad Black is pinning his hopes on clemency from U.S. President George W. Bush as a last-ditch effort to get out of jail early, and he wants his former publishing company to foot the legal bill,” the Toronto Globe and Mail reports.

That’s right – Black wants the Sun-Times Media Group to pay the legal fees associated with his clemency bid.

Apparently Jim Thompson didn’t offer him pro bono services like he’s done with George Ryan. Thompson, of course, was on the audit committee of the Sun-Times’s former corporate board when Black was looting the company.

Mystery Pardon

There’s been a dearth of information about the one Illinoisan on the list of 14 that President Bush pardoned a couple weeks ago: Richard Micheal Culpepper.

Who?

Richard Micheal Culpepper. Of downstate Mahomet.

Seeing as how the 2000 census put Mahomet’s population at 4,877, a lot of folks down there probably know Culpepper. But I’ve come up pretty much empty.

What we do know is that Culpepper was sentenced on Jan. 15, 1988 to five years’ probation for making false statements to the government. He was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and $4,351.90 in restitution.

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Kirk Steps Up; Who’s Next?

“Rejecting an idea endorsed by two top Democrats, Republican North Shore Rep. Mark Kirk sent a letter to the White House today asking President George Bush not to commute the federal corruption sentence of former Republican Gov. George Ryan,” the Tribune (and others) reports.

“The letter’s terse subject matter refers to the former governor, incarcerated at the federal correctional facility in Terre Haute, Ind., as Federal Inmate Number 16627-424.”

“George Ryan betrayed the public trust, was convicted beyond the shadow of a doubt by a jury of his peers and lost all of his appeals. His crimes struck at the fabric of our democracy and invited a new wave of public corruption in Illinois,” Kirk wrote.

Will the rest of the delegation weigh in? Obama?

The Devils in Durbin’s Details

A collection of noteworthy points, details and arguments from the Durbin-Ryan-commutation imbroglio that I haven’t yet had a chance to point out.

* “If Ryan is released early, he will have spent less time in prison than two friends convicted in the case – Ryan’s aide, Scott Fawell, who did the dirty work, and businessman Lawrence Warner, who profited from the dirty deals,” the Sun-Times notes in an editorial today.

* “Let’s also look at one of the main assertions on Ryan’s behalf, that he’s been punished enough in part because his government pension has already been taken away,” Mark Brown writes today.

“What they fail to mention is that he had already collected about $800,000 from his ridiculous $197,000-a-year pension before he was sent off to prison. How many of you can expect to collect $800,000 from a pension in your entire lifetime? Not many. It’s not our fault if he spent it all.”

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10 Questions for Dick Durbin

UPDATE DEC. 2: Some of these questions have now been asked and – sort of – answered. Let’s take a look (from various news sources).

*

Well, Durbin did it.

1. Why not just wait for Barack Obama to become president and ask for him to commute George Ryan’s sentence? You certainly have more influence with Obama than George W. Bush. And Obama certainly is more familiar with Ryan’s case.

“Durbin said he did not ‘think it would be appropriate’ to wait to ask President-elect and fellow Illinois Democrat Barack Obama to issue a commutation when he takes office since clemency actions normally come during the final days of an outgoing presidency.

Define “appropriate.” And, actually, presidents act on pardons and clemency requests throughout their terms; there is usually a flurry at the end of a term because it’s the last chance they get to exercise their power. And wouldn’t it be more appropriate if the new president from Illinois acted on this case? And will someone ask where Obama stands on this?

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My Darling Clemency

In conjunction with stating on Thursday that George Ryan should be set free, Gov. Rod Blagojevich is expected to announce the following this week:

* He will not only keep Death Row empty, but clear out Simple Felony and Misdemeanor Row too.

* He is planning to enter the priesthood sometime between the end of his term as governor and the day of his coming federal indictment. He has also taken on a second job at a soup kitchen and a third job as a paralegal at Winston & Strawn.

* He will accept an ambassadorship from Barack Obama, but swears it is not because it will give him diplomatic immunity.

* Yes, he knows what irony means.

* Patti made him do it.

Meanwhile, Jim Thompson insists that Ryan feels remorse.

A) He’s just been too shy to say so publicly.
B) He’s damn sorry he ever trusted Scott Fawell.
C) He’s sorry he shanked that guy in Unit C and he’ll apologize for anything to get out before the ladies trap him in the shower.