Following the arrest of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich over his alleged attempt to sell President-elect Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill and her Democratic colleagues, today sent a letter to the governor urging him to resign immediately and insisting he not appoint anyone to the open seat.
McCaskill also provided the following statement regarding Blagojevich's arrest: "Having read the transcript of Governor Blagojevich's conversations I only have one word - prison."
The letter, signed by all Democratic members of the Senate, further threatens that, should Blagojevich refuse to resign and appoint someone to fill Obama's position, Congress would exercise their constitutional right to refuse to seat the Senate appointee.
Text of Letter:
December 10, 2008
Dear Governor Blagojevich:
We write to insist that you step down as Governor of Illinois and under no circumstance make an appointment to fill the vacant Illinois Senate seat. In light of your arrest yesterday on alleged federal corruption charges related to that Senate seat, any appointment by you would raise serious questions.
It is within the authority of the Illinois legislature to remove your power to make this appointment by providing for a special election. But a decision by you to resign or to step aside under Article V of the Illinois Constitution would be the most expeditious way for a new Senator to be chosen and seated in a manner that would earn the confidence of the people of Illinois and all Americans. We consider it imperative that a new senator be seated as soon as possible so that Illinois is fully represented in the Senate as the important work of the 111th Congress moves forward.
Please understand that should you decide to ignore the request of the Senate Democratic Caucus and make an appointment we would be forced to exercise our Constitutional authority under Article I, Section 5, to determine whether such a person should be seated.
We do not prejudge the outcome of the criminal charges against you or question your constitutional right to contest those charges. But for the good of the Senate and our nation, we implore you to refrain from making an appointment to the Senate.
Sen. Ben Nelson
Sen. Bill Nelson