01/01/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

GOP Leader Opposes Ryan Commutation, Criticizes Durbin

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna on Monday criticized the push to have President Bush commute the sentence of the state's former Republican governor, George Ryan.

In a statement issued in response to Sen. Dick Durbin's release of his letter to Bush on behalf of Ryan, McKenna said both Durbin and Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who expressed support for a Ryan commutation, impede "the difficult task of bringing change to Illinois."

The entire statement:

"This issue is not one of party, but of bringing real change to Illinois by the way we conduct business.

"My heart goes out to Mrs. Ryan and her family during this difficult time, however, Governor Ryan was convicted in federal court by a jury of his peers and all of his appeals, including one to the U.S. Supreme Court, were denied.

"A commutation of Governor Ryan's sentence sends the wrong message to not only those who betray the public trust but also to the honest, hardworking men and women of Illinois who expect public corruption will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

"Senator Durbin and Governor Blagojevich's line of thinking only contributes to the difficult task of bringing change to Illinois."