Rod Blagojevich would be wise to put aside any profits from his new book, The Governor, because if he's convicted on the federal charges against him he will have to surrender those profits to the state of Illinois.
I have not purchased or read The Governor, however, I have been following the news articles and reports on the book's early release and have been amused by the excerpts that I've seen from the book. It is a self-serving diatribe designed to influence a jury pool rather than a tell-all, expose-the-bad-guys type of book.
Back in February, I filed House Bill 4078 before Blagojevich inked his six-figure book deal in anticipation that he would continue his habit of trying to turn a profit by feeding off the citizens of Illinois. The bill was signed into law August 18, 2009. Now, if Blagojevich is convicted on the federal charges against him, he will have to forfeit all profits gained from his participation in any activities based on his notoriety to the state of Illinois. That will include profits from The Governor, any paid radio and television appearances, his Web site and more.
The people of Illinois have paid dearly for the mistakes of Rod Blagojevich. His legacy as governor has left our state in the worst fiscal crisis it has ever seen, due in part to his circumventing the legislature and developing programs which the state did not, and does not, have the money to fund, as well as repeatedly stalemating the budgeting process each of his six years in office. His actions as one of the most mislead leaders in Illinois history should not be rewarded financially, and he should not profit from sharing his story with the world.
Critics of the new law say it violates Blagojevich's first amendment rights, but it does no such thing. Blagojevich absolutely has the right to say whatever he wants, write as many books as he wants and share his side of the story with whomever he chooses. However, if he is convicted, all those monies can then the turned over to the state. He has a family to support like the rest of us, and like us he could do the honest thing and get a real job. He needs to understand, as all crooked politicians must know, that crime does not pay. If convicted, instead of cashing in, he will be cashing out.