Illinois House starts impeachment process against governor
Springfield, IL – The Illinois House has started the slow process to impeach Governor Rod Blagojevich. Lawmakers voted 113-0 Monday evening to create a committee that will consider whether or not to proceed with efforts to oust Blagojevich from office.
Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie will lead the committee, which will have subpoena power. She said Blagojevich has the right of due process.
"This is not a kangaroo court," Currie said. "This is a committee that is going to take its responsibility seriously, it isn't just about Governor Blagojevich. What we do in this committee sets precedent for issues that arise later, for problems that other governmental actors may face in the future."
Currie said the committee will meet as long as it takes to give the issue proper consideration. She said she hopes any work the committee completes will be accepted by the next General Assembly, which convenes in January. If the House votes to impeach, Blagojevich would face a trial in the Illinois Senate.
Lawmakers did not consider legislation that would set up a special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by president-elect Barack Obama. Blagojevich faces criminal charges for allegedly trying to sell that seat to the highest bidder.
Any proposals would force counties to hold at least one additional election, and many of the state's clerks say they don't have room in their budget. That issue appears to have derailed the Democratic caucus.
In Madison County, an election would cost about $250,000, and St. Clair County would have to absorb $200,000 in additional expenses.