AP: E-Mails Show Rahm Emanuel Wrote Letter to Chicago Tribune Praising Blago in Exchange for Release of $2 Million Grant…

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Weasel Zippers
6/21/2010

Corrupt to the core…

(NBC Chicago)- President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, then a congressman in Illinois, apparently attempted to trade favors with embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich while he was in office, according to newly disclosed e-mails obtained by The Associated Press.

Emanuel agreed to sign a letter to the Chicago Tribune supporting Blagojevich in the face of a scathing editorial by the newspaper that ridiculed the governor for self-promotion. Within hours, Emanuel’s own staff asked for a favor of its own: The release of a delayed $2 million grant to a school in his district.

The 2006 discussion occured with Blagojevich’s top aide, Deputy Gov. Bradley Tusk, and doesn’t appear to cross legal lines; Emanuel couldn’t speed up the distribution of the funds. But it offers a peek at ties between two high-profile Illinois politicians — one now the president’s right-hand man, the other facing years in prison if convicted of political corruption.

Discussion of the exchange could come up at Blagojevich’s corruption trial, currently under way in Chicago. Blagojevich, who is accused of plotting to profit by selling an appointment to Obama’s former Senate seat, also tried later that year to use the school grant in an extortion attempt against Emanuel, according to federal prosecutors.

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