One of the complaints about the original system of choosing U.S. Senators (by the state legislatures) was that a rich man (always men, in those days) could easily purchase a Senate seat.
Now, Governor Rod Blagojevich, Democrat of Illinois, has been arrested on corruption charges. Apparently, part of the alleged misconduct is related to the process of selecting someone to fill the U.S. Senate seat that has been vacated by President-elect Obama. The governor is empowered to make an interim appointment for the last two years of the term to which Obama was elected in 2004. If the allegations are true, it's an interesting attempt to revive that 19th century practice of selling places in the upper house of Congress.