SPRINGFIELD - A state senator complained Friday that Gov. Rod Blagojevich made unethical threats against him and that the two nearly came to blows in a disagreement over health care.
"There should never be a time when the governor of Illinois threatens someone in a political and personal manner. It's beneath the decorum of this building," said a visibly angry Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline. "I thought we were going to come to blows."
Jacobs' accusations were just the most sensational example of the frustration in Springfield over Democrats' failure to pass a state budget. The budget has been complicated by Blagojevich's call for a massive new program to guarantee health insurance for everyone in the state.
Blagojevich was desperate to win Jacobs' vote for the health plan Friday. Jacobs says that when he wouldn't agree, the governor threatened to do everything possible to throw him out of office.
Jacobs said Blagojevich promised to find candidates to run against him, urge unions to oppose him and even take money away from a state university in his district. If Blagojevich had talked to him that way at a tavern, Jacobs said, "I would have kicked his tail end."
In an e-mail, the governor's office said Jacobs wanted a $75 million project in his district before voting for the health care plan, but Blagojevich wouldn't agree. The e-mail didn't address Jacobs' accusations.