Friday, January 30, 2009

1870: first US governor removed by impeachment

Furry-headed Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was thrown out yesterday. The impeachment case included not only the criminal charges against Blagojevich, but allegations he broke the law when it came to hiring state workers, expanded a health care program without legislative approval and spent $2.6 million on flu vaccine that went to waste. The 118-member House twice voted to impeach him, both times with only one "no" vote. Illinois never before impeached a governor, despite its long and rich history of graft.

Seven other U.S. governors have been removed by impeachment

In 1870, William Holden (R-N.C.) was the first governor to be impeached on charges of high crimes and misdemeanors and put out of office; among them for suspending the right of habeas corpus and sending the militia to confront the Ku Klux Klan that had been intimidating blacks from voting.

In 1871, David Butler (R-Neb) was impeached and convicted on a number of charges, including appropriating funds into the treasury that to be used for his personal use, and loaning money that was used recklessly without proper authority.
In 1913, the New York Assembly impeached and removed from office William Sulzer (D-N.Y.) on charges of filing false campaign receipts and misusing contributions to his campaign fund.

In 1917, the House prepared 21 articles of impeachment against James Ferguson. (D-Texas). The Senate subsequently convicted the governor on 10 charges, nine of them involving criminal activity, including the misuse of public funds. A day before the Senate was to vote, Ferguson resigned from office.

In 1923, Governor John C. Walton (D-Okla.) was convicted and permanently removed from office on a number of charges, including illegally collecting campaign funds, abusing his pardoning powers and general incompetence.

In 1988, Evan Mecham (R-Ariz.) was removed from office when the Senate convicted him of obstructing justice and misusing $80,000 in state money that he was charged with funneling into his car dealership. (info from The Associated Press, & Wikipedia)

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