NRCC Attacks Emanuel Over Involvement in Blagojevich Scandal

Posted December 12, 2008 at 11:59am

As the House GOP continues its effort to highlight the questionable ethics of Democratic Members, the National Republican Congressional Committee took aim on Friday at Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), who is at the center of the storm in the developing Illinois political corruption scandal.

As details emerged on Thursday that incoming White House Chief of Staff Emanuel had spoken to disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) about President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat, the NRCC seized on Emanuel’s decision to avoid questions from reporters.

“Considering Rahm Emanuel’s penchant for being one of the most outspoken political hit men in Washington, it speaks volumes about his possible role in the Blagojevich scandal that he refuses to answer a single question from the press,” NRCC spokesman Ken Spain said.

Blagojevich was arrested early Tuesday on corruption charges, including an alleged “pay to play” scheme to try to sell his Senate appointment to the highest bidder. During a news conference on Thursday, Obama said he was confident his representatives were not involved in any deals related to the Senate seat.

“I’ve asked my team to gather the facts of any contacts with the governor’s office about this vacancy so that we can share them with you over the next few days,” he said.

The attack on Emanuel is the latest in a series of ethics-related assaults this week. Until Friday, the committee had focused mainly on calling attention to the ethics probe into Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel’s (D-N.Y.) personal finances, including his failure to pay taxes on his vacation home.