It should come as no surprise to Gov. Rod Blagojevich that authorities are reportedly moving to freeze his campaign fund – and not just because the same thing happened to George Ryan. According to the criminal complaint filed against Blagojevich, the governor and three of his aides contemplated that prosecutors might do just such a thing – and discussed ways to secure the millions of dollars in the fund by moving the money elsewhere.
And how were they going to do that? By the ages-old “prepay the lawyer, & have him refund you” trick:
“Also on December 5, 2008,” the complaint says, “Rod Blagojevich and three others discussed whether to move money out of the Friends of Blagojevich campaign fund to avoid having the money frozen and also considered the possibility of prepaying money to Rod Blagojevich’s criminal defense attorney with an understanding that the attorney would donate the money back at a later time if it was not needed. They also discussed opening a new fund raising account named Citizens for Blagojevich with new contributions received.”
The discussion appears to have been prompted by the Tribune’s story that day that an ally of the governor’s was cooperating in the federal probe.
Nothing like a stoolie to bring out the creativity, isn’t it?
Anyway, Ed explains,
“Prepaying” an attorney? That’s money laundering. The attorney would hold the cash until the feds went away, then suddenly “refund” the unused balance to Blagojevich. Setting up a legal defense fund would have been perfectly acceptable, though, and will probably happen now that the state has refused to pay Blagojevich’s legal bills.
And not to worry, there’s plenty of Blagos to come. His brother Robert’s also involved.
For now at least, Blago’s not resigning.