"Blago's unkind words for fund-raisers"

By Sarah Ostman and Natasha Korecki
Chicago Sun-Times
July 7, 2010

Rod Blagojevich told the FBI in 2005 that he kept his politics and his fund-raising separate.

But two former campaign staffers testifying in the ex-governor's corruption trial Tuesday had one word to say to that: "Bulls----er."

Not only was Blagojevich in the room forFriends of Blagojevich fund-raising meetings, said Kelly Glynn, the campaign's finance director from 2002 to 2004, he was a vocal contributor, especially when he thought a fund-raiser wasn't pulling his weight.

"That's when the governor would chime out, 'Bulls----er!' " Glynn shouted in the courtroom, prompting laughter from one juror and sheepish giggling from a red-faced Blagojevich.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom Louis Susman was dubbed a "bulls----er," said Glynn, a prim-and-proper-looking witness who shouted the term into the microphone matter-of-factly. So was businessman Blair Hull, who earlier in the trial was pegged an "idiot" by Blagojevich on a secret recording.

Most of Tuesday's testimony circled on charges that Blagojevich lied to the FBI in March 2005. Still in his first term as governor, Blagojevich was already being investigated for linking campaign contributions to state jobs, contracts and board appointments.

Glynn's testimony -- seconded by another finance director who testified later in the day -- backs that claim, putting the ex-governor at the heart of his fund-raising the same year he told the feds he deliberately put up a "firewall" to stay away from it.

FBI agent Patrick Murphy testified that in the 2005 interview, held in Blagojevich's lawyer's office at Winston & Strawn, the then-governor said he purposely stayed in the dark on fund-raising matters.

"This was a decision he made when he became governor," Murphy said the governor told him.

Blagojevich told the FBI he kept a "firewall" between politics and his governing, and anything he learned about fund-raising was only incidental, according to Murphy's testimony.

Blagojevich's lawyer Sam Adam Jr. tried portraying the FBI interview as lopsided: agents spent hours and hours talking to other witnesses and allowed them to clarify their answers, meanwhile charging Blagojevich after talking to investigators for three hours.

Adam cited witness Joseph Cari, who spoke to federal agents on five or so occasions before the ex-governor was interviewed. Adam noted that in several of those talks, Cari failed to mention the much-publicized plane ride on which the ex-governor allegedly tried to wrangle the fund-raiser's help on his campaign.

Murphy later explained that he didn't want to reveal to Blagojevich that Cari was cooperating in the probe at the time and generally asked the then-governor about whether he offered to trade state perks forcampaign cash.

Also Tuesday, road contractor Gerry Krozel testified that Blagojevich invited him into his campaign finance offices in September 2008. In the meeting, Krozel said Blagojevich made a connection between billions of dollars in state money for roads and campaign contributions forhimself.

Krozel, who represented road builders and pavement associations, said Blagojevich told him he would push through a $6 billion tollway program as well as a $1.5 billion infrastructure program.

Blagojevich then told Krozel about new ethics legislation that would prohibit top contributors from getting state work.

"Talk of the tollway and the request for money was very coincidental," testified Krozel, a 70-year-old onetime executive with Prairie Materials Sales Inc. who testified under a grant of immunity.

"How did you feel about defendant Blagojevich's request that you raise money?" asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Niewoehner.

"I understood that a fund-raiser would probably determine the validity of the project," said Krozel. "The monies that I could possibly raise forhim would have a bearing on the project."

Krozel said Blagojevich told him he wouldn't publicly announce the paving funding until the following January.

Krozel said he believed Blagojevich wanted him to hit up those in the construction industry for campaign contributions.

"I think he was waiting to see how much money I could bring in," Krozel said.


An FBI agent said Rod Blagojevich told him he stayed in the dark when it came to fund-raising. But Blagojevich's former campaign finance director testified the former governor was vocal when talking about fund-raising and even deemed contributors who weren't pulling their weight "bullsh----rs."

Up next: Highway contractor Gerry Krozel continues testimony that Blagojevich allegedly shook him down for campaign cash in exchange forpushing through billions of dollars in capital projects.