She added: "The totality of the evidence clearly suggests this is not an individual fit to be governor of the state of Illinois."

"The totality of the evidence clearly suggests this is not an individual fit to be governor of the state of Illinois"

Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie,
chair of legislative panel

A vote on whether to go-ahead with impeachment proceedings is expected in the Illinois House of Representatives on Friday.

If the vote passes, the case would then move to the Illinois state senate which would conduct a formal impeachment trial to determine if he should be removed from office.

Blagojevich, a two-term Democrat, has furiously denied any wrong-doing saying he "can't wait' to clear himself in court, but has refused to defend himself in front of the impeachment inquiry.

Following the panel's recommendation, his office issued a statement saying the "outcome was a foregone conclusion", and that proceedings "were flawed, biased and did not follow the rules of law."
 
"When the case moves to the senate, an actual judge will preside over the hearings, and the governor believes the outcome will be much different," the statement concluded.

Distraction

The case has been an embarrassing distraction for the incoming Obama administration, just days before the former Illinois senator is sworn in as president.

Obama himself is not accused of any wrongdoing and has said that an internal review found his team had no "inappropriate" contacts with the Illinois governor's office.

However, Rahm Emanuel, Obama's incoming chief of staff, has come under fire for discussing the senate seat with Blagojevich.

Among the allegations against the governor is a raft of corruption accusations contained in a 76-page FBI affidavit.

In one case Blagojevich is alleged to have refused to free up funds for a children's hospital until he received a $50,000 campaign contribution.

He is also accused of trying to get editors who were critical of his administration fired from the Chicago Tribune.

Blagojevich's lawyers meanwhile have dismissed as a bunch of "jabbering" partial transcripts of taped conversations about how the governor could trade Obama's vacated US senate seat for a cabinet post, ambassadorship or high-paying job.