Leitch: Start impeachment if Guv does not resign

DeWayne Bartels
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich,was taken into custody this morning by federal agents at his suburban Chicago home.

State Rep. David Leitch (R-Peoria) said, just moments ago, a petition is circulating in the statehouse to begin impeachment proceedings against Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich, if he does not resign.

Leitch said he gladly signed the letter.

Blagojevich was arrested this morning by the FBI in Chicago for allegedly trying to sell the vacant U.S Senate seat of Barack O'bama, among other charges.

The charges include: conspiring to obtain personal financial benefits for Blagojevich by leveraging his sole authority to appoint a U.S. senator; threatening to withhold substantial state assistance to the Tribune Company in connection with the sale of Wrigley Field to induce the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members sharply critical of Blagojevich; and to obtain campaign contributions in exchange for official actions – both historically and now in a push before a new state ethics law takes effect Jan. 1, 2009.

Asked for his inital reaction to Blagojevich's arrest, Leitch said, "It's about time."

Leitch said he did not see a press conference in which Robert Grant, FBI special agent in charge, said if Illinois is not the most corrupt state in the nation, "it is one hell of a competitor."

Leitch said he agreed with Grant.

"I think it was well said. I couldn't have said it better myself," Leitch said.

He added some in the general assembly feel this development will impede the work to solve the state's financial crisis. Leitch said he feels just the opposite. 

"I think the governor has been the source of the problem," Leitch said.

"The sooner he's out of the picture the sooner we can get to work in a bi-partisan manner and clear this mess up."