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Who is Mark Vargas? Blagojevich thanks ‘the kinda guy who can get you out of prison’

Vargas stood behind the former governor and his wife, Patti, at the ex-governor’s speech outside his Ravenswood Manor home.

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich thanks Mark Vargas, a political strategist and advisor, as he speaks to reporters outside the family’s Ravenswood Manor home the day after he was released from a Colorado prison, Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 19, 2020. President Donald Trump on Tuesday commuted Blagojevich’s 14-year prison sentence on charges of public corruption.
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich thanks Mark Vargas, a political strategist and advisor, as he speaks to reporters outside the family’s Ravenswood Manor home the day after he was released from a Colorado prison, Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 19, 2020. President Donald Trump on Tuesday commuted Blagojevich’s 14-year prison sentence on charges of public corruption.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

During his welcome-home appearance late Wednesday morning, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich profusely thanked President Donald Trump, his wife and daughters, and Mark Vargas, a political strategist and advisor who Blagojevich called “the kinda guy who can get you out of prison if you find yourself stuck there.”

Vargas, who has been operating as a spokesperson for the Blagojevich family, describes himself on Twitter as a tech entrepreneur and a contributor to the Washington Examiner, where his recent columns include “Trump isn’t the threat to democracy, Democrats are” and “Cory Booker is a complete and total failure.”

In October, Vargas told CBS Chicago that he was “in direct communication with Jared Kushner,” President Trump’s son-in-law, and was assisting Patti Blagojevich in her campaign to get her husband’s case in front of the president.

In August, Trump praised the former Illinois first lady and hinted that he would consider granting Blagojevich clemency: “His wife, I think, is fantastic,” the president said, “and I’m thinking about commuting his sentence very strongly.”

According to his LinkedIn profile, Vargas worked on numerous political campaigns in Illinois, including on Dennis Hastert’s Hastert for Congress Committee in 2004, Illinois Sen. Steve Rauschenberger’s campaign for governor in 2005 and 2006, and Kevin Williams’ campaign for Kane County Sheriff in 2006. In 2009 he ran for the 14th District Illinois congressional seat in between stints as a liaison officer in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Vargas wasn’t the only person credited in Blagojevich’s speech Wednesday. The former governor also thanked his father-in-law former Ald. Dick Mell, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and formerly imprisoned ex-Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., but reserved his “most profound and everlasting gratitude” for President Trump.

Vargas could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Mark Vargas, a political strategist and advisor, watches as former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich speaks to reporters outside the family’s Ravenswood Manor home the day after he was released from a Colorado prison, Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 19, 2020. President Donald Trump on Tuesday commuted Blagojevich’s 14-year prison sentence on charges of public corruption.
Mark Vargas, a political strategist and advisor, watches as former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich speaks to reporters outside the family’s Ravenswood Manor home the day after he was released from a Colorado prison, Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 19, 2020. President Donald Trump on Tuesday commuted Blagojevich’s 14-year prison sentence on charges of public corruption.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times