Paging Eliot Ness! Will Mr. Ness please pick up the phone?

John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune who’s been writing some fascinating and grimly funny articles about the corrupt politics of Chicago and Illinois; the Blagojevich arrest has opened a gold mine for him. Today’s involves some speculations about Obama advisor and Chicago congressman Rahm Emanuel, Governor Blagojevich, and the man who connects them, State Senator James DeLeo: Man behind curtain is wizard of Rod, Rahm

DeLeo is an extremely powerful politician. You know this because he’s hardly ever quoted in newspaper stories.

Emanuel and DeLeo have a relationship. Emanuel is the congressman from the 5th Congressional District, where DeLeo is the Democratic state central committeeman. What hasn’t been reported on much is that Emanuel has not yet resigned from the House. And if you want to play politics in Jimmy’s sandbox, you need his OK.

DeLeo is also considered by some to be the real governor of Illinois. Blagojevich is the nutty guy who makes the speeches and gets the federal slap. They’re so close that if Jimmy suddenly stopped walking, Rod would chip his teeth on the back of Jimmy’s head.

It’s reasonable to assume that if there’s one fellow Rod would talk to about the Senate seat, it’s Jimmy. And given their relationship, Jimmy could talk to Rahm. I’m not suggesting money was offered. There is nothing illegal about politicians horse-trading to fill seats. Only when such deals are monetized—as the governor is alleged to have done—is it illegal.

I’m just talking about putting political pieces on the board the Chicago Way. A vacant Senate seat and a soon-to-be vacant House seat in Illinois would be a package deal. Consider this mathematical equation: Jimmy/Rod + Jimmy/Rahm = Happy Rod, Jimmy and Rahm. Get it?

Why do I keep hearing the theme to The Untouchables in the back of my mind? Chicken


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