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Blagojevich successor to control stimulus funds

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[January 30, 2009]  WASHINGTON (AP) -- So it looks like the governor of Illinois will have control over billions of dollars in state aid from President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan after all -- now that disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been kicked out of office.

A provision in the House stimulus bill would have blocked Blagojevich from exercising any control over the money due the state. Instead, it would have been under the control of the legislature.

Now, with Blagojevich removed from office on Thursday by the state Senate, his successor, Lt. Gov. Patrick Quinn can determine how the money is used.

The idea behind the provision was to make sure Blagojevich -- impeached on charges of abuse of power after the Justice Department accused him of trying to sell Obama's vacated Senate seat -- couldn't have used the money to enrich himself or his associates. Illinois stands to gain about $1 billion just for road projects to be contracted across the state.

"We must ensure the governor is not allowed to use these funds to give himself or others a parting gift," said Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who engineered the anti-Blagojevich language.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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