Illinois politicians and leaders reacted Wednesday to the 14 year prison sentence handed down to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Here's what some of them had to say:
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL): "Judge Zagel's sentence is a clear warning to all elected officials that public corruption of any form will not be tolerated. Illinois families have long suffered from an estimated $500 million hidden corruption tax. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has done a great service to Illinois by bringing two criminal governors to justice."
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald: "Blagojevich betrayed the trust and faith that Illinois voters placed in him, feeding great public frustration, cynicism and disengagement among citizens. People have the right to expect that their elected leaders will honor the oath they swear to, and this sentence shows that the justice system will stand up to protect their expectations."
Ill. Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka : "The former Governor will now have plenty of time to consider his performance over these years, and quietly assess the consequences of his actions. It may seem like an eternity to him, but in truth, the damage he has caused to our state will far outlast any prison sentence he will serve."
Ill. GOP Chairman Pat Brady: "Today's sentence ends the Rod Blagojevich saga, but unfortunatley his enablers continue to burden the people of Illinois with financial mismanagement and higher taxes that have caused the downward spiral of the Illinois economy, and also widespread distrust of our public officials."
Ill. Attorney General Lisa Madigan: "Blagojevich refused to govern responsibly and, instead, put Illinois up for sale. He tarnished the state's reputation nationally and internationally, and he destroyed the public's trust in government. May today's sentence put an end to corruption in the Illinois' governor's office."
U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): "Rod Blagojevich has never understood the fundamental difference between serving the public and serving his own personal interests; Ultimately, the people of Illinois have suffered the consequences. Although Blagojevich's punishment will not restore statewide, much less nationwide certainty in Illinois, some justice has been served to our State today. We must now move past this humiliating time in history and turn our focus toward working together to rebuild Illinois."
Ill. Senate President John Cullerton: "Today’s sentencing closes a tragic chapter in Illinois politics. I hope our state will never again face such an unfortunate and untenable situation. I feel sorry for the Blagojevich family during this difficult time. My role in this process began and ended with the impeachment and removal of Rod Blagojevich. While I take no joy in Blagojevich's sentence, I trust that the criminal court system administered justice fairly."
Ill. Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon: "We cannot rely on a prison sentence to deter corruption. Illinois needs stronger ethics laws to kill pay-to-play politics. It's time we expose conflicts of interest before they cost taxpayers, and clear the way for true public servants to rebuild trust with the public. Increased transparency, coupled with the threat of serious prison time, can end these shameful courtroom battles. Together we can put this chapter behind us, restore integrity to government and live up to our legacy as the Land of Lincoln.”
U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL-13): "The former governor left behind a legacy of disgrace and dysfunction, and his sentencing today represents justice for the people whose trust he abused. Illinois deserves better, and I hope that our new leaders in Springfield take this episode as a reminder that no one is above the law. It’s time to close this sad chapter for our state, and get back to doing the work of the people."
U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL-14): "This is the second consecutive governor from Illinois to be sent to a federal penitentiary, a stark reminder that public office should never be used for personal gain. I had the responsibility of voting to impeach former Governor Blagojevich when I served in the Illinois Senate and I said then that it is right and proper for the citizens in Illinois to be sick and tired of their elected officials being involved in pay-to-play, patterns of abuse of power, and cultures of corruption. I knew then, just as I do now, that we will never realize the true cost of political corruption and the financial repercussions of former Governor Blagojevich's abuses of power will be felt throughout this state for generations."
Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of Chicago Office of FBI: "The sentence handed down today represents a repayment of the debt that Blagojevich owes to the people of Illinois. While promising an open and honest administration, in reality, the former governor oversaw a comprehensive assault on the public’s trust."
State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock): “Today, justice has been done. The deliberate acts of bribery, extortion and fraud that ultimately led to this day warrant a punishment tantamount to the serious nature of Blagojevich’s crimes. Let this day be a firm warning to those in public service – we will not rest until integrity and accountability serve as the rule, not the exception, in state government.“
State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Westmont): "Thankfully this sentence marks the end of a long, sorry story in Illinois history. It should serve as a reminder that we have to be diligent in fighting corruption in our government. As a lawyer and the spokesperson on the Senate Judiciary Committee, I believe in the American judicial system and support Judge Zagel's sentence. As far as those who believe Blagojevich deserved a more lenient penalty, I'll say this: My mother always told me you reap what you sow and I believe this sentence is a good reflection of that."