From the Village Voice:
Rod Blagojevich, who was selling his just-published book in New York last week, has a lot to say about Bradley Tusk, the former Deputy Governor of Illinois now running Mike Bloomberg's campaign.
Tusk left Bloomberg's City Hall staff in 2003 just a few months after Blagojevich became governor to take what Blagojevich said in a Voice interview Monday was his "number one post" in the government. Tusk remained deputy governor through Blagojevich's 2006 re-election, leaving to join Lehman Brothers in 2007. Asked if Tusk ever expressed any "concerns" about the pay-to-play and other allegations that engulfed the Blagojevich administration during those years, the former governor said: "No, he never said that. He did not think that things were being done in a wrong way."
...the initial federal complaint against Blagojevich charged him with "a scheme to defraud the state" that started in 2002. The first 31 pages of the 76-page arrest affidavit recounted events that occurred while Tusk was at the helm of the government. In fact, the affidavit indicates that the probe began in 2003. By the time Tusk left, a half dozen of Blagojevich's closest associates had been indicted, some had even pled guilty, and his campaign committee had paid over $700,000 to a top criminal law firm to fend off charges against him.
The fires peaked during the 2006 campaign, when a flight to New York to see Bloomberg -- orchestrated by Tusk in 2003 and later dubbed the Shakedown Shuttle in Chicago news accounts -- evoked a firestorm of criticism. Tusk and Blagojevich's bodyguard were the only passengers on the seven-passenger chartered flight not to be indicted.
Blagojevich came to the city to jointly announce an international prescription drug importation program with the mayor, an initiative that Tusk developed that was so illegally operated it became a charge in the eventual impeachment proceedings against Blagojevich. Not only does the pending Blagojevich indictment allude repeatedly to the criminal conversations that occurred on that flight, government charges filed against others on the flight were filed while the ostensibly untroubled Tusk was still with Blagojevich.
The ex-governor was very protective of Tusk during his 35-minute interview, recalling, for example, that he'd met former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld and onetime New York State Comptroller Ã‡arl McCall at a Harvard Club fundraiser thrown for him during the 2003 trip, and even recounting what he'd said at the fundraiser, but drawing a blank on whether Tusk was there. Tusk also wouldn't answer questions about whether he'd gone to the three fundraisers that day when we posed them before we published the March story (Wolfson answered questions selectively at that time and Tusk declined to talk to us). A Democratic legislator, Jack Franks, told the Voice in March that Tusk's appearance on the trip was "highly inappropriate," noting that Blagojevich's staff was "enabling him" to blur "the line between state and political business."