Then gubernatorial candidate Rod Blagojevich, left, and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., participate in a rally during the Democratic Party of Illinois 2002 State Convention in Springfield, Ill., Thursday, Aug 15, 2002. (AP File Photo/Seth Perlman)

Should Rod Blagojevich’s sentence be commuted? Politicians weigh in

SHARE Should Rod Blagojevich’s sentence be commuted? Politicians weigh in
SHARE Should Rod Blagojevich’s sentence be commuted? Politicians weigh in

Should Rod Blagojevich’s sentence be commuted?

After President Donald Trump made comments last week that he would consider cutting the former Illinois governor’s prison sentence short, politicians are considering that question.

Here’s a list of politicians who, after Trump’s statement, have gone on the record on whether the former governor should get out of prison early. (In December, 19 high-profile Illinois politicians asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear Blagojevich’s appeal.) It will be updated as more statements are made.

President Donald Trump


“What (Blagojevich) did does not justify 18 years in a jail,” Trump said. “If you read his statement, it was a foolish statement. There was a lot of bravado … but it does not … plenty of other politicians have said a lot worse. And it doesn’t, he shouldn’t have been put in jail.”

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin (D)


“I’m not commenting on whether he was culpable or guilty. That was decided by the courts, but I thought the sentence was outrageous, and if there’s a way to reduce the sentence for him and his family, I would support it.”

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R)


“I can say that many judges, many legal experts, attorneys have reviewed that case and the facts around Blagojevich, and they all came to the conclusion that Blagojevich is exactly where he deserves to be.”

Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker


From his campaign: “JB thinks there’s plenty of other things that Donald Trump should be focusing on.”

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan (D)


Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said the speaker has “no opinion” on the possible commutation.

Illinois Rep. Danny Davis (D)


“I hope he does receive it. I’ve always felt that Rod got a raw deal . . . He offered to appoint me to the Senate and he never uttered a single word about any kind of contribution. There was no hint of any quid pro quo.”

Illinois Rep. Randy Hultgren (R)


“Pardons are to be used sparingly and in extraordinary circumstances. As a State Senator during the impeachment proceedings, I listened to all the arguments and don’t believe a pardon is appropriate in this situation.”

Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski (D)


Lipinski’s spokesman said he “does not support it.”

Illinois Rep. Mike Quigley (D)


“I do not support the commuting of Rod Blagojevich’s sentence, and I believe that such action would constitute yet another abuse of power on behalf of a president who only has his self-interest in mind. Sadly, President Trump has proven that he views the pardon as a political tool to undermine the legitimacy of our legal system in general and the Mueller investigation in particular.”

Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D)


“She would support the commutation of his sentence,” a Schakowsky spokesman said.

Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin


Does not support commutation: “The former governor has availed himself every possible avenue in the judicial system and Leader Durkin supports the opinion of the courts.”

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton (D)


“The Senate President has let the impeachment, conviction and disqualification speak for themselves,” a Cullerton spokesman said.

Illinois Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady


“Despite feeling bad for his family, he should abide by the sentence that was handed down,” a Brady spokesman said.

Illinois GOP Chairman Tim Schneider


“A jury of his peers, persuaded by FBI wiretaps and other evidence, found Rod Blagojevich guilty on seventeen counts of corruption and extortion. Blagojevich later attempted several appeals, but judges upheld the original conviction. The judges made the right call: Blagojevich should serve out the remainder of his term.”

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