A longtime political observer isn’t surprised former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s sentence wasn’t reduced by a federal judge.
Blagojevich was convicted on charges stemming from what prosecutors said was the former chief executive’s attempt to personally benefit from the appointment to an open U.S. Senate seat. Federal Judge James Zagel said Blagojevich’s good behavior behind bars doesn’t erase the harm his actions had on Illinois.
Retired University of Illinois Political Studies Professor Jim Nowlan agreed.
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“Clearly somebody who tries to sell a United States Senate seat and who was known during his governorship as 'Pay to Play Rod,' wherein people had to pay to his campaign fund in order to do business with the state, deserves serious punishment,” Nowlan said.
Nowlan said there’s a reason people in public life get corrupted. “Apparently people who enter public life and abuse the public trust think they’re going to get away with their abuses, otherwise they probably wouldn’t go ahead and abuse the trust.”
While Nowlan said Blagojevich’s corruption convictions are different from former Gov. George Ryan’s, there are similarities. “Both are very serious charges and so various punishments need to be meted out.”
Ryan finished his nearly 6 year sentence in 2013 for convictions of fixing driver’s licenses and other charges. Blagojevich won’t be released until 2024.