AND: The Chicago Tribune published this article shortly before the news of the arrest broke:
A three-year federal corruption investigation of pay-to-play politics in Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration has expanded to include his impending selection of a new U.S. senator to succeed President-elect Barack Obama, the Tribune has learned.Nothing but sunshine ... the better to cast long shadows.
Federal authorities got approval from a judge before the November general election to secretly record the governor, sources told the Tribune, and among their concerns was whether the selection process might be tainted. That possibility has become a focus in an intensifying investigation that has included recordings of the governor and the cooperation of one of his closest friends....
"I don't believe there's any cloud that hangs over me. I think there's nothing but sunshine hanging over me," the governor said.
UPDATE: Some details:
As Mr. Blagojevich mulled the Senate appointment, prosecutors say, he discussed gaining “a substantial salary” at a nonprofit foundation or organization connected to labor unions, placing his wife on corporate boards where she might earn as much as $150,000 a year and trying to gain promises of campaign money, or even a cabinet post or ambassadorship, for himself.So who is this Candidate 5?
A 76-page affidavit from the United States Attorney’s office in Northern Illinois says Mr. Blagojevich was heard on wiretaps over the last month planning to “sell or trade Illinois’ United States Senate seat vacated by Pres-elect Barack Obama for financial and personal benefits for himself and his wife.”...
Under Illinois law, Mr. Blagojevich has sole authority to fill the seat being vacated by Mr. Obama, who was elected to the Senate in 2004.
According to the statement from prosecutors, Mr. Blagojevich told an adviser last week that he might “get some (money) upfront, maybe” from one of the candidates hoping to replace Mr. Obama. That person was identified only as “Candidate 5.”
AND: Feast your eyes on the criminal complaint, which quotes Blago saying the Senate seat "is a fucking valuable thing, you just don't give it away for nothing."