Six Degrees of Rod Blagojevich

Ambinder puts it well:

Having read through the charging document twice, there’s no evidence whatsoever that anyone associated with the Obama presidential transition did anything improper. Obama himself is barely mentioned.

However — the transition will be called to account for all of its members’ contacts with Blagojevich, and those Obama advisers who are mentioned by pseudonym — including Valerie Jarrett — will face pressure (and the candidate’s promise of transparency) to make a public accounting.

(Emphasis in original). Chicago is a big city, but politics is a small town. People know people. They have professional, political, and for all I know, even business relationships. Connections will be drawn. This will get ugly, particularly in the fever swamps of the far right.

Two things I think that Obama should do, relatively quickly:

1) Make it clear that Fitzgerald will stay on. Obama is between a rock and a hard place, because if he keeps Fitz on, even if it is clear that there is no evidence against him, then the wingnuts will say that Fitz is covering up for Obama to keep his job. But that’s better than firing him. And Fitz is damn good at his job: when in doubt, you might as well at least do the right thing.

2) Waive all secrecy provisions concerning the investigation as far as he or anyone on his staff is concerned.

Update: To use Churchill’s formulation, we have a case here of anticipatory plagiarism: Obama promised last June to keep Fitzgerald on. I’m waiting for Republicans to criticize him for this. (Obama, not Churchill).

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.