With Arrest, Blagojevich Joins Other Ill. Governors

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Gov. Rod Blagojevich is the latest in a string of modern Illinois governors who have run afoul of the law. He follows in the footsteps of George H. Ryan, Daniel Walker and Otto Kerner.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

When he was elected to his first term in 2002, Governor Rod Blagojevich ran as a reformer.

(Soundbite of Blagojevich speech, 2002)

Governor ROD BLAGOJEVICH (Democrat, Illinois): The people of Illinois are good, honest, and hardworking. It is time, ladies and gentlemen. It is time for a government that's as good and as honest and as hardworking as the people of this great state.

SIEGEL: At that time, Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat, was seeking to replace Governor George H. Ryan, who was the subject of a corruption investigation. Now Mr. Ryan is serving time in prison for fraud and racketeering.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Ryan joined a long line of Illinois governors. Daniel Walker ran the state in the 1970s. He later pleaded guilty to fraud and perjury charges and spent a year and a half in prison.

SIEGEL: Before that, there was Governor Otto Kerner. He served as governor in the 1960s and then served time in prison for fraud, perjury, conspiracy, bribery, and tax evasion.

NORRIS: And actually, while we're on the subject of tax evasion, a little bit of good news for the state of Illinois. William Stratton, governor from 1953 to 1961, was indicted for tax evasion, but he was later acquitted.

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