Ex-Blagojevich Staffer Tells of Clout in Hiring

CHICAGO (AP) -- One of Rod Blagojevich's former staffers says two major fundraisers had heavy influence in deciding who got seats on key boards under the former governor.

Jill Hayden, director of boards and commissions, said at Blagojevich's corruption trial Thursday that Tony Rezko and Christopher Kelly got five people onto the nine-member board of the Illinois Finance Authority.

The law required the governor to nominate two candidates for the executive director job. But she said Rezko's friend, Ali Ata, was the only serious candidate in the board's eyes.

Prosecutors say Rezko and Kelly had so much influence over key jobs because they raised millions for Blagojevich.

Blagojevich has pleaded not guilty to scheming to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat President Barack Obama gave up after his November 2008 election.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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