DECEMBER 12, 2008
Rich supporters of the Illinois congressman prominently mentioned in Rod Blagojevich’s indictment offered the disgraced governor $1 million to secure his appointment to Barack Obama’s old Senate seat.
When news broke that Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr., a seven-term House member, was “Senate Candidate 5" in Blagojevich’s massive 76-page federal indictment, he frantically assured that he never offered the scandal-plagued governor any favors in return for the appointment.
"I did not initiate nor authorize anyone, at any time, to promise anything to Gov. Blagojevich on my behalf,” said the son of the famed civil rights leader with the same name. The congressman adamantly denies any knowledge of a bribery scheme on his behalf, even though his brother and some of his top donors are directly implicated.
According Jackson’s hometown newspaper, a wealthy Indian businessman offered to raise $1 million to help persuade Blagojevich to appoint him to the president elect’s vacant Senate seat. The businessman and a Blagojevich aide told attendees at an October 31 meeting that they needed to raise the money for the governor to ensure Jackson’s appointment.
The story quotes sources that attended the meeting and were hit up for cash. A few days later the same rich Democrat donors held a fundraiser for Blagojevich that was attended by Jackson’s brother, Jonathan. Jackson met with Blagojevich the following day to discuss the Senate seat but assures no favors were offered. The day after that meeting, Blagojevich got arrested.
Prosecutors say that Blagojevich was considering awarding the seat to Jackson because the congressman’s emissaries had promised to raise as much as $1.5 million for Blagojevich’s campaign fund. The information comes from conversations, recorded by FBI wiretaps, between the involved parties.
Besides trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat, the governor has been charged with operating a massive, years-long corruption scheme in which he sold the influence of his office, lucrative state jobs and contracts. Judicial Watch has been investigating the massive corruption in the Blagojevich administration for years. In 2006 Blagojevich refused a Judicial Watch public records request for subpoenas relating to the federal investigation of his administration and in 2007 Judicial Watch filed an open records lawsuit in the Cook County, Illinois Circuit Court to obtain them.
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