Illinois panel begins impeachment process

SPRINGFIELD, IL The committee of 12 Democrats and nine Republicans was to discuss how the panel will operate and review the claims against Blagojevich.

Blagojevich was arrested last week on federal corruption charges, accused of putting President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat up for sale.

House Speaker Michael Madigan has said the allegations include the federal criminal charges, as well as abuse of power, taking action without legal authority and ignoring state laws.

The committee is to make a recommendation on whether to impeach to the full House, which would decide whether to file charges against the governor. The Senate would then hold hearings and ultimately make a ruling.

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