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Blagojevich team: Gov.'s critic suggested family, pals for state jobs
By John Patterson | Daily Herald Staff

Jack Franks


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Published: 7/2/2008 10:29 PM

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SPRINGFIELD - On the same day a suburban lawmaker suggested it's time to officially consider whether Gov. Rod Blagojevich should be impeached, the governor produced a memo showing that lawmaker recommended family and friends for state jobs.

The center of attention in this unseemly political battle is state Rep. Jack Franks, a Woodstock Democrat and flamboyant Blagojevich critic.

On Wednesday, Franks said lawmakers should use next week's special session ordered by the governor to launch an impeachment investigation.

"These special sessions are a game to the governor. I will ask Speaker (Michael) Madigan today to create a committee to investigate whether there is enough evidence to proceed with articles of impeachment against Governor Blagojevich," Franks said in a news release Wednesday afternoon.

But the Blagojevich administration responded with a 2003 memo that Franks sent to a personnel official listing a dozen people he'd like to see get state jobs or be appointed to state boards and commissions.

The list includes family and key players within the McHenry County Democratic Party.

"This memo shows, two months into the administration, he (Franks) was playing the politics of insider baseball - the hypocrisy to go out and talk about impeachment," said Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero.

Franks denied there was any untoward cronyism and said the circumstances surrounding the memo surfacing Wednesday reminded him of the "Nixon White House."

"We know how that ended," he quipped.

Franks' explanation is that when Blagojevich first took office in 2003, the governor was looking for qualified people for state jobs and Franks responded with the memo in question. He said it's likely nearly every Democratic official in the state had similar requests.

Franks said three of the 12 were appointed to posts or got a job, including his father, who was named to an unpaid post on the Illinois Courts Commission. Franks' father is the former president of the Illinois State Bar Association and Rep. Franks said he's "eminently qualified."

Franks was unsuccessful in recommending his wife and brother for state posts.

He said he found it peculiar that the Blagojevich administration has had a month to try to figure out how to balance the budget, but can't, yet within minutes he was able to produce a 2003 memo on his hiring recommendations.

"I'm fair game. My family is not," Franks said. "For him to attack them shows how absolutely desperate this administration is."

But Guerrero said the memo speaks for itself.

"It's refreshing he admits he's trying to put his family on the payroll," Guerrero said.

Daily Herald staff writer Joseph Ryan contributed to this story.

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