Sep 13, 2009

If An Alleged Blago-Related Criminal Dies, Should We Care? [Scandal]


Rod Blagojevich and his alleged misdeeds have been the subject of much spilled media ink, and much of that ink was spilled by his own hand. But could that story now have spilled blood?

Perhaps, for a former fundraiser for disgraced Governor and media whore Blagojevich, Christopher Kelly, has left this world, the apparent victim of what cops say could be a self-administered overdose. That seems to be a tragedy. But is it?

Kelly, who refused to rat out his pal Blago, was brought to the hospital on Friday and told cops that he had overdosed on drugs, although the officer who took that statement later said he couldn't confirm such a report. Fair enough, but that does nothing to quiet murmurs about known gambling addict Kelly's death. This guy, who was pronounced dead on Saturday, had loads to lose, and not only over his devotion to Blagojevich:

...At the time of his death, Kelly had run up thousands of dollars in personal debts was believed to be strapped for cash.

He was facing three years in prison for hiding $1.3 million in income, including company money he used to pay gambling debts that he wrote off as business expenses. He was facing five additional years for taking part in an $8.5 million fraud involving roofing work on United Air Lines and American Airlines hangars at O'Hare International Airport.

Of course, considering Kelly's relationship with old Blago, some are wondering whether the investigation led to Kelly's so-called suicide.

Carol Marin, a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, has been following Kelly's problems for some time now, and thinks that all the hub-bub over his "misdeeds" may have led him to end his life in a spectacular, drug-induced manner. She also assumes he was guilty of his crimes.

That may be so, but aren't such questions overlooking the real question: should we be troubled by Kelly's death? Sure, on a human, sympathetic level, we should at least empathize with a man whose personal woes led to his downfall. On the other hand, this man clearly had some shit to work out. And, considering the investigations, we would put money on the fact that something wasn't quite right.

Still, there's something troubling here. Humans are fallible, sure. We get that. But could it be that the alluring prospect of personal gain in the political realm, something greater than one man's life, led to this? There are shades of Vince Foster in all of this.

We won't go so far to say there was a conspiracy, because that would be downright melodramatic, but this man, however corrupt, was seduced by a system that he thought he could win. He obviously lost.

But, in the end, politics is a game. And, as disturbing as this personal tragedy may be, Mr. Kelly's downfall is, sadly, only one more drop in the bucket. So, kids, still want to be president?









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