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SEIU president met with Blagojevich

January 8, 2009
CHICAGO — Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) met with Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich around the time it is alleged Blagojevich discussed selling a Senate seat for a high-profile union position, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The November 3 meeting, also attended by Tom Balanoff, head of SEIU in Illinois, was confirmed by the Associated Press after reviewing a copy of Blagojevich''s official calendar, the story stated.
The federal complaint alleges that Blagojevich''s plan was to appoint a labor-friendly candidate to the Illinois Senate seat vacated by president-elect Barack Obama in exchange for a $300,000-a-year position at an SEIU-affiliated labor federation called Change to Win, the story noted.
Michelle Ringuette, an SEIU spokeswoman, told the Journal: "Our commitment from the beginning has been to respect the U.S. attorney''s investigation and refrain from public comment on the specifics; we will honor that policy. As we have previously stated, no one at SEIU has been accused of any wrongdoing."
Blagojevich, who addressed SEIU''s first executive board meeting after winning the governor''s seat in 2003, received $1.8 million in campaign contributions from the union during his two bids for governor, the story added.
Stern and other SEIU officials have denied that the union made contributions in exchange for special treatment by the governor.
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