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Cullerton advances bid to donate — not sell — Obama Senate seat

SPRINGFIELD-Leftover office furniture and other state-owned belongings linked to President Barack Obama when he was an Illinois state senator could be donated to Obama’s presidential library under legislation that advanced Wednesday in the state Senate.

The measure sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, passed the Senate Executive Committee unanimously after the top Senate Democrat unleashed one of the spring’s better one-liners.

“Basically I think it would be a good idea for us to donate the furniture we have from former Sen. Obama to the presidential library rather than sell his seat. Someone tried that, and it didn’t work out so well for him,” Cullerton said, alluding to imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s criminal bid to sell the U.S. Senate seat Obama vacated in 2009 to the highest political bidder.

A chair Obama used during caucus meetings in the Senate president’s office is still housed in the office with a picture of Obama mounted behind him. Other Obama artifacts are stored off-site.

Cullerton’s legislation, Senate Bill 125, now moves to the Senate floor and represents the second bill by state lawmakers related to an Obama presidential library.

House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, has moved legislation to the House floor that would allot $100 million in state funds toward a presidential library if Obama and his supporters choose to locate it here in Illinois.