10 December 2008

The value of a senate seat?

I haven't heard what the bids were for Obama's old Senate seat. Blagojevich probably thought that the price of a Senate seat is pretty high. One way to estimate its worth is to look at close Senate races to see what's spent for a 50% chance at a seat.

The problem is that winning the seat in an election and purchasing it from Blagovich are two entirely different things and will change valuation. So, there's a difference depending on how the seat is obtained.

First, you've got to figure that Blagovich is shopping the Senate seat around. He's not just offering it to you. You could ask him if he's shopping it around, but will you get an honest answer?

So, if he's shopping it around, what are the chances that one of the people will turn him in? I think here you've got to assume he will be turned in.

Therefore, for the cost of a Senate seat, you've got to factor in the risk that the deal will be turned in and you either won't get the seat or you'll have it for a short time only. Will you face jail time? I don't know. It might be illegal to SELL a senate seat, but not illegal to BUY it. Or, they'll want to prosecute Blagojevich, so you could cut a deal: testify against him and get off. To me, I think that it's like prostitution. The Law wants the prostitute, but not the john. Will your name live in infamy? If you get the Senate seat, and then have to resign, YES. However, if you get the seat, but resign, you may still be eligible for some valuable things, like grade A health insurance for life for you and your family, and a retirement plan.

What Blagojevich could get for a Senate seat seems to me to be pretty low, and depends on the numbers you assign to the various factors above.

Brad Evans