Democrat Dirty Laundry: Feds Looking into Jesse Jackson Jr’s Role in Blago Scandal

April 9, 2009

Feds Looking into Jesse Jackson Jr’s Role in Blago Scandal
Add Jackson to List of Dems Mired in Pay-to-Play Ethics Investigations

Pelosi “Vouched” for Jackson, Claimed He Did Nothing Wrong

“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday vouched for the integrity of the two House members caught up in the probe of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s (D) alleged attempt to sell President-elect Obama’s Senate seat.

“Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she does not believe that Illinois Democratic Reps. Rahm Emanuel and Jesse Jackson Jr. have done anything wrong.

“‘I know them. I think they haven’t,’ Pelosi said in response to a question at her weekly news conference.

“‘I don’t know of the particulars of what Mr. Jackson was doing,’ Pelosi stated, adding: ‘But I do know that they’re both people who are very honorable and served in Congress with great integrity.’” (Mike Soraghan and Susan Crabtree, “Pelosi stands behind Emanuel, Jackson,” The Hill, December 15, 2008)

Feds “Step-Up” Investigation into Jackson’s Role in Blago’s Pay-to-Play Scandal

“Federal authorities have questioned a former chief of staff to ex- Gov. Rod Blagojevich and other cooperating witnesses about an attempt by friends of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. to raise funds for Blagojevich to encourage him to pick Jackson for the U.S. Senate, sources said.

“A federal grand jury investigating alleged corruption in the Blagojevich administration is expected to hear from witnesses about the fundraising effort in coming weeks, sources said.

“Federal prosecutors allege Blagojevich, who was indicted last week on corruption charges, was considering awarding the seat to Jackson in return for a Jackson associate offering $1.5 million in campaign cash.

“Covert recordings of Blagojevich last fall allegedly captured the then-governor suddenly going from cold to hot on naming Jackson to replace President Barack Obama in the Senate. Prosecutors allege Blagojevich told aides he had been promised something tangible and immediate to name Jackson to the seat—namely money—and that he was leaning toward appointing Jackson.

“Prosecutors said they arrested Blagojevich on Dec. 9 to stop a ‘crime spree’ that included a plot to sell the Senate seat.

“Authorities have recently interviewed Jackson as part of the investigation, and a congressional ethics panel has begun a probe of the congressman’s actions in the days and weeks leading up to Blagojevich’s arrest. Sources suggested the ethics inquiry would take a back seat to the criminal investigation because defendants are unlikely to cooperate and it remains unclear how much assistance the U.S. attorney’s office will provide.”  (Jeff Coen and John Chase, “Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.: Feds step up inquiry,”  Chicago Tribune, April 9, 2009)