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updated: 11/23/2010 5:39 PM

Future of Blagojevich's papers in Quinn's hands

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SPRINGFIELD -- Rod Blagojevich left the governor's office nearly two years ago, but many of the papers documenting his administration are still there.

When a governor leaves office in Illinois, papers about his policies or his correspondence with other officials go to the Illinois State Archives, where they're kept to record history.

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Blagojevich didn't leave office in the typical way, though, when he was ousted via impeachment trial in January 2009.

What happens to his papers in the meantime is largely up to Gov. Pat Quinn, said David Joens, director of the Illinois State Archives.

Joens said it makes sense that Quinn would want to keep some of Blagojevich's papers on file because many of the issues the former governor dealt with will come up again.

For example, policy research on the state budget or gambling expansion could be useful to Quinn during his term in office.

"A lot of the Blagojevich papers would be relevant, and they should keep them on," Joens said.

Other documents, though, such as correspondence with lawmakers or other officials, could shed light on Blagojevich's tenure, Joens said. And if Quinn isn't using them, the archives would like to have them. Joens said he's talked to Quinn's staff about the process of turning the papers over.

Quinn's staff says they're not quite ready yet. They say they're still going through Blagojevich's materials, as well as papers from former Gov. George Ryan, who's serving time in federal prison for his corruption conviction.

"The Quinn administration is working with the state archives to archive documents from both the Ryan and Blagojevich administrations and plans to also do the same for the Quinn administration," Quinn spokeswoman Annie Thompson said. "We are currently retaining many documents from the Blagojevich administration until the former governor's criminal proceedings have concluded."

Once Blagojevich's papers are eventually turned over, archives staff will weed out routine correspondence about where the staff is going to lunch and keep and file the rest, Joens said.

Outgoing state Comptroller Dan Hynes and Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias will also have papers sent to the archives. So will documents from Quinn's own stint as lieutenant governor. But far less material about their tenures will be saved than is typically filed from a governor's term. Joens said.

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