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Blagojevich target donors named on list in published news report

Sen. Roland Burris and three possible candidates for the Senate seat are among 150 names on the list of people the ex-governor's campaign committee had targeted for donations.

March 29, 2009|Associated Press

CHICAGO — A list of people targeted for contributions by former Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich's campaign committee included four possible candidates for appointment to President Obama's vacant Senate seat, according to a published newspaper report.

The Chicago Sun-Times obtained the Friends of Blagojevich committee's list and posted it on the newspaper's website Saturday. It's dated Dec. 3, six days before Blagojevich's arrest on federal charges of scheming to sell or trade the Senate appointment, among other alleged misdeeds.

The former governor also is charged with using his power to squeeze state contractors for campaign contributions. He denies any wrongdoing.

The list published by the Sun-Times includes Chicago billionaire J.B. Pritzker and U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.), all of whom were reported to have been under consideration for the Senate seat; and Roland Burris, whom Blagojevich appointed.

None is reported to have contributed to Blagojevich's campaign. About 150 names are on the list.

A spokesman for Pritzker, Dave Lundy, said: "They may have had him on the list. But they had a lot of quirky ideas that didn't have a basis in reality." Pritzker was being targeted for a $100,000 contribution, according to the list.

Schakowsky said she never was asked for a donation. Gutierrez had taken himself out of the running for the seat in late November. Burris has acknowledged that he attempted to raise money for Blagojevich, but has denied wrongdoing.

Already in debt because of mounting legal fees, Blagojevich was trying to amass as much money as possible before a new ethics law kicked in Jan. 1, according to prosecutors.

The campaign document "was a preliminary outline of who might have fundraisers and what we might be able to expect from them," said Michael Ettinger, a lawyer for the former governor's brother, Robert Blagojevich, who headed the committee.

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