Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested at their homes this morning in a probe involving the governor's quest to fill Sen. Barack Obama's Senate seat, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. The charges include alleged attempts by the governor to influence the Chicago Tribune editorial board. The governor threatened that if the Tribune didn't support the governor, he wouldn't approve the sale of Wrigley Field.
The governor is accused of obtaining campaign contributions in exchange for official actions – both in the past and recently in a push before a new state ethics law takes effect Jan. 1. Blagojevich, 51, and Harris, 46 were each charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery. A 76-page FBI affidavit alleges that Blagojevich was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps during the last month conspiring to sell or trade Illinois' U.S. Senate seat vacated by Obama for financial and other personal benefits for himself and his wife. On Nov. 7, while talking on the phone about the Senate seat with Harris and an advisor, Blagojevich said he needed to consider his family and that he is “financially” hurting, the complain states.