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Illinois governor and father-in-law in political spat

UPI News Service, 01/14/2005 

Illinois has a tradition of indicting governors but the latest twist in state politics is the family feud between Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his father-in-law.

In a state where politics have been described as a blood sport and mandarins caution, "You always dance with the one that brung you," Blagojevich and father-in-law, Chicago Alderman Dick Mell, have taken political animosity to new heights, with Mell charging the governor may be selling top jobs in the state.

Both Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Cook County States Attorney Dick Devine announced investigations after the Chicago Sun-Times published remarks by Mell that Blagojevich's chief fund-raiser, Christopher G. Kelly, traded plum state appointments for $50,000 campaign contributions.

The feud started when Blagojevich cited a family member's landfill for violations and ordered it shut down, prompting Mell to accuse Blagojevich of just using people.

Blagojevich has denied wrongdoing, calling the allegations "defamatory and false."

"If you're going to make them, you'd better be able to back them up. And if you can't back them up, then you'd better step out there and say it," Blagojevich said.

Late Friday, Kelly demanded Mell withdraw his charges.

"If he doesn't come forward with the truth...before next week is up then litigation for defamation will be inevitable," Kelly told a telephone press conference.

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Copyright 2005 by United Press International


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