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A Just Cause

A Just Cause

The Impeachment and Removal of Governor Rod Blagojevich

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Bernard H. Sieracki. Foreword by Jim Edgar


E-book (Other formats: Hardcover)
16 illustrations


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  • Excerpts

About the Book

Illinois State Historical Society Certificate of Excellence 2016

During the predawn hours of December 9, 2008, an FBI team swarmed the home of Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and took him away in handcuffs. The shocking arrest, based on allegations of corruption and extortion, launched a chain of political events never before seen in Illinois. In A Just Cause, Bernard H. Sieracki delivers a dynamic firsthand account of this eight-week political crisis, beginning with Blagojevich’s arrest, continuing through his impeachment and trial, and culminating in his conviction and removal from office. Drawing on his own eyewitness observations of the hearings and trial, the comments of interviewees, trial transcripts, and knowledge gained from decades of work with the Illinois legislature, Sieracki tells the compelling story of the first impeachment and removal from office of an Illinois governor, while providing a close look at the people involved.

A Just Cause depicts Blagojevich as a master of political gamesmanship, a circus ringmaster driven by personal ambition and obsessed with private gain. Sieracki examines in depth the governor’s unethical behavior while in office, detailing a litany of partisan and personal hostilities that spanned years. He thoroughly covers the events leading to Blagojevich’s downfall and the reactions of the governor’s cohorts. The author discusses the numerous allegations against Blagojevich, including attempts to “sell” appointments, jobs, and contracts in exchange for financial contributions. Sieracki then exhaustively recounts Blagojevich’s senate trial and the governor’s removal from office.

This engrossing volume is both a richly detailed case study of the American checks-and-balances system and an eyewitness account of unprecedented events. It will appeal to anyone interested in the stunning, true tale of a state upholding the maxim “The welfare of the people is the supreme law.” 


Bernard H. Sieracki teaches public administration at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and at the Stuart School of Business, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. Sieracki received his PhD from the University of Illinois, Chicago. Prior to teaching he was an Illinois lobbyist for nearly four decades.  


“A Just Cause provides a compelling and fascinating account of the impeachment and removal from office of Governor Rod Blagojevich. For those who follow Illinois politics, it is a familiar story; however, Sieracki provides an extraordinary amount of information gleaned from his interviews with numerous players in the drama. Sieracki delves deeply into the sordid history of the Blagojevich era and provides the documentation that federal and state authorities amassed regarding his numerous transgressions. This story should provide, if nothing else, a cautionary tale for other public officials in Illinois and elsewhere who may be tempted by the ‘pay to play’ and ‘culture of corruption’ mentality that has infected Illinois for too many years.”—John S. Jackson, editor of The Essential Paul Simon: Timeless Lessons for Today's Politics
“A Just Cause gives the reader an insider’s view of the most dramatic event in Illinois politics in recent memory. The author takes advantage of remarkable access to all of the key figures in the process to present a detailed and compelling account of the why and how of the impeachment of the elected chief executive of the State of Illinois. As both a lesson in ultimate exercise of power within the structure of the American political system and a gripping story of real politics, this is a fascinating and important book.”—Kent Redfield, University of Illinois Springfield.

"Sieracki was in a good position to give us what journalists call a "tick tock" account of how the story unfolds. He worked as an Illinois lobbyist for 40 years, he knows the players and the nooks and crannies of the state's politics. His access to the staffers, legislators, and political players in the state meant he is able to give us a good account of how the process unfolded, even if his descriptions of old associates are sometimes a tad flowery."--David Yepsen, Southern Illinois University Carbondale