"We were approached 'pay to play.' That, you know, he'd raise me 500 grand. An emissary came. Then the other guy would raise a million, if I made him (Senate Candidate 5) a senator."
It all began Tuesday when an unsealed FBI affidavit revealed that Blagojevich wanted Obama "to put something together…something big" in exchange for going along with Obama's choice to fill his vacant U.S. Senate seat.
"I've got this thing and it's f***ing golden, and, uh, uh, I'm just not giving it up for f***in' nothing. I'm not gonna do it. And I can always use it. I can parachute me there," Blagojevich said in a phone call secretly recorded by the FBI Nov. 5, the day after the election, according to the affidavit.
"It is conduct that would make Lincoln roll over in his grave," said U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in announcing the charges today in Chicago. He said the governor's efforts to "sell" the Senate seat was the "most sinister and appalling" of a range of alleged corrupt acts detailed in today's case.
Fitzgerald said, "there's no reference in the complaint to any conversations involving the president-elect or indicating that the president-elect was aware of it, and that's all I can say." His comment did not close the door on the possibility that Obama or someone on his staff may have known of some aspect of the governor's demands.
Since then, Obama has denounced Blagojevich's activities and called for him to resign. And in a letter sent to Blagojevich Wednesday, all 50 members of the U.S. Senate Democratic Caucus also called for him to resign and to not make any appointment to the Senate seat vacated by Obama.
One of Blagojevich's deputy governors, Bob Greenlee, stepped down from his post Wednesday, one day after federal agents arrested the governor. Greenlee, who appears to be "Deputy Governor A" in the complaint filed by federal prosecutors against Blagojevich, resigned without explanation.
The document describes numerous secretly recorded conversations between "Deputy Governor A" and the governor in which they strategize about how the governor can financially benefit from his power to replace Obama in the Senate, and other topics.
Blagojevich was previously linked to disgraced former political fundraiser Tony Rezko, who was convicted in June of charges stemming from him using his influence with the governor's office in a multimillion-dollar kickback scheme. Blagojevich's relationship with Rezko, who is in jail awaiting sentencing Jan. 6, was a consistent theme of Rezko's trial.