Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Watch List: Blago, Ryan, Durbin and Thompson

The Chicago Daily Herald wonders what impact the charges against Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) will have on the clemency application of former Illinois Governor George Ryan (R). Ryan's application, as you may recall, is supported by another former Governor of Illinois, Jim Thompson (R), the current Governor (Blagojevich) and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D).

The possibility of clemency "should end" in "a nanosecond," according to Congressman Mark Kirk (R). Harold J. Krent, dean of the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, says commuting Ryan's 61/2-year corruption sentence after only 13 months, might suggest:

... we don't take political corruption as seriously as we should. There's a risk if you grant clemency to George Ryan now it would be seen by some as minimizing the extent and depth of corruption that plagues state government.

The story concludes with these observations:

Ryan's chances for clemency weren't strong to start with, said P.S. Ruckman, an associate professor of political science at Rock Valley College in Rockford, who has researched and written extensively about the pardon process. Blagojevich's arrest has made that even more unlikely, he said. "This might knock it off the table," Ruckman said.

Ruckman said he had recently begun to think clemency for Ryan, a Republican, was possible as part of a possible scenario where Bush could commute Ryan's sentence at the same time he granted clemency for former Gov. Edwin Edwards of Louisiana, a Democrat who has already served six years for racketeering. Commuting both men's sentences could be seen as a "balancing act," Ruckman said. That was before Tuesday's arrest. "The news story today makes me think that the Ryan thing isn't going to happen," Ruckman said.

See story here.

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