Last weekend Christopher Kelly, an adviser and former fundraiser for impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, died suddenly at age 51 under mysterious circumstances. Kelly, who was convicted last month of tax fraud and was due to report to prison on September 18th, was expected to cooperate with authorities and tell them the full extent of the corruption in the Blagojevich administration. Whether or not this will hinder the feds' investigation remains to be seen; with overwhelming evidence against him, at this point it's not a question of whether Blagojevich will be found guility but how severe his sentence will be. Blago, on the other hand was nowhere near where Kelly's body was found; the former governor was in New York City, beginning another round of mugging to the cameras and stating his case to any media pundit that will listen to (but not necessarily tolerate) him. Kelly's testimony would've fueled the fire, but the government has plenty of lighters and oily rags to spare.
As one Illinois political scandal fades toward its inevitable conclusion, another might be unspooling as we speak. I'm not sure how much national media attention has been given towards Todd Stroger, the incumbent Cook County Board President, but he makes the news here in Chicago almost every night. Last week, it was announced that the Illinois Democratic Party would not endorse Stroger for another term and that there would be a party primary held in early 2010. Stroger's stint as county president has been one big botch job; thrust into office after his father suffered a massive stroke in 2006, "The Toddler" has benefited from nepotism and, like Blagojevich, has stridently defended his platforms despite decreasing public support and near-constant vilification in the local media. In his three years in office, his most notable achievements include hiking the county sales tax to 10.1% (the highest in the nation) and encouraging further nepotism and cronyism. Would anyone care to guess why Stroger has a 10% approval rating?
One last parting shot: have you noticed how Republicans don't want the public option in health care, yet they want it in their marriages? ;)