Hannah-Gate Begins

The Chicago Sun-Times recently unearthed what could be a political bombshell when it reported that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich landed free tickets for himself, his wife Patti and their two kids to see Hannah Montana / Miley Cyrus at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont December 8th.

The tickets were courtesy of state Sen. James DeLeo, a close political ally of the governor. DeLeo is close to the family that owns the property surrounding Allstate Arena.

"I call (the box office) and say, ‘I need six or eight or 10; what do you have?’" DeLeo forthrightly told the paper. The box office told him to "Come over and buy them," which he did.

He said he got there 10 minutes before tickets went on sale and stood in line just like everybody else. He bought 12 tickets, each at $65 – meaning the loge section, not floor seats.

"I’m a rich legislator," he said. "I buy my Cubs tickets. I buy my stuff out of my own money."

DeLeo reportedly took his 10-year-old daughter. The freebies to Blagojevich are in line with the state’s Gift Ban Act, which bars state politicians from accepting free gifts worth more than $100 except in cases of "personal friendship," the Star-Tribune said.

Maybe the taxpayers should give DeLeo a pass on this one; if the governor had the same experience as the state legislator did, it wasn’t a fun night for either.

"I was there under duress, OK?" DeLeo told the paper. "There were 20,000 screaming 11-year-olds. I’d never do it again. Not that I don’t love my daughter but, oh, my God, it was torture."