Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Updated: Jesse Jackson Jr Under Investigation

UPDATE: "A congressional ethics board has launched a preliminary inquiry into U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), related to President Obama's vacant Senate seat and the corruption investigation of ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.".... Is "the Man" trying to keep Jesse Jackson, Jr. down? No, I'm not talking about Senator Harry Reid blocking the appointment of three black men by Blagojevich last year to fill Obama's empty Senate seat, and instead pushing two white women. No, I'm referring to the ongoing federal Blagojevich corruption case, in which Jackson stands immersed up to his chin. Back in December, the Congressman Jackson (and a gaggle of other Illinois Democrats) was very busy denying any involvement in Rod Blagojevich's corruption "crime spree." The "spree" included the alleged attempted sale of Obama's vacated US Senate seat, for which Blagojevich was recently indicted. New developments, as reported in the April 7 edition of the Chicago Sun-Times, indicate that Jackson's denials were not enough to make the federal investigators lose interest in him: Federal authorities have asked U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson (D.-Ill) why former Gov. Rod Blagojevich believed he would get campaign cash in exchange for appointing Jackson to President Obama's vacant Senate seat, sources told the Sun-Times. More than a week ago, Jackson and his criminal defense lawyer sat down for an interview with investigators in connection with the ongoing corruption probe of the now-indicted Blagojevich. (Chicago Sun-Times) Junior's daddy, the "Reverend" Jesse Jackson, would probably be accusing the feds of racism by now. Daddy has been curiously quiet about all of this, however, and the race card would be difficult to play anyway. Most of those under investigation or indictment in connection to the Blagojevich scandal are white, after all. The Sun-Times quotes Daddy as saying "I've stayed a respectful -- but supportive -- distance from his political work." That's rather uncharacteristic for Daddy Jackson, a man not exactly known for being shy about expressing himself publicly. The Sun-Times continues: But the charges against Blagojevich include an alleged scheme involving Jackson's possible appointment. The ex-governor [Blagojevich] believed he would receive $1.5 million in campaign money in exchange for appointing Jackson to the seat, according to the allegations. Now, why would Blago have believed that he would get $1.5 million from Jackson? The Southtown Star points out in its April 7 edition that "Jackson's recent interview took place nearly four months after he publicly announced he wasn't a target of the FBI investigation and said he expected to meet with agents in a few days. Jackson isn't accused of wrongdoing and has said he never gave anyone authority to trade cash for the appointment." On April 5, the Chicago Tribune also pointed out that federal investigators "say Blagojevich was approached by an associate of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) who offered $1.5 million in campaign contributions in exchange for Jackson's appointment to the seat." It's amusing to see, in every major report about Jackson, a reminder that Jackson has been accused of wrongdoing. I suppose that's the work of the media lawyers. The federal investigators, on the other hand, seems less reluctant to come right out and say that "Blagojevich was approached by an associate of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) who offered $1.5 million in campaign contributions." Are federal investigators imagining that a Jackson associate approached Blagojevich and offered $1.5 million for that senate seat? Was Blagojevich himself so confused that he misinterpreted an alleged offer of $1.5 million? Did the federal investigators, all of them, completely misunderstand what they heard on the recorded Blagojevich conversations? The April 5 Tribune report also said: Blagojevich is accused of telling his brother, Robert, who led his campaign fund and who also was indicted Thursday, to tell Oak Brook businessman Raghuveer Nayak to begin the fundraising effort in exchange for Jackson's appointment. Raghuveer Nayak MS, RPh was a major money man for Rod Blagojevich. He lives in Oak Brook, a wealthy western Chicago suburb, and he owns the Rogers Park One Day Surgery Center at 7616 N. Paulina in Rogers Park, a Chicago neighborhood on Lake Michigan and at Evanston's southern border. The Trib had the following on December 12, 2008 (emphasis added): As Gov. Rod Blagojevich was trying to pick Illinois' next U.S. senator, businessmen, including Raghuveer Nayak, with ties to both the governor and U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. discussed raising at least $1 million for Blagojevich's campaign as a way to encourage him to pick Jackson for the job, the Tribune has learned. Imagination? Fabrication? The Man keeping Jackson down? Seems not, if you can believe that December 12 report from the Chicago Tribune: Blagojevich made an appearance at an Oct. 31 luncheon meeting at the India House restaurant in Schaumburg sponsored by Oak Brook businessman Nayak, a major Blagojevich supporter who also has fundraising and business ties to the Jackson family, according to several attendees and public records. Two businessmen who attended the meeting and spoke to the Tribune on the condition of anonymity said that Nayak and Blagojevich aide Rajinder Bedi privately told many of the more than two dozen attendees the fundraising effort was aimed at supporting Jackson's bid for the Senate. Among the attendees was a Blagojevich fundraiser already under scrutiny by federal investigators, Joliet pharmacist Harish Bhatt. An excellent article by Prof. Vijay Prashad on December 31, 2008 gave deeper insight into the fundraiser attended by Nayak (emphasis added): On October 31 [2008], a Konkani businessman, Raghuveer Nayak, booked India House for a private party. He hosted luminaries of Chicago’s business community, people such as pharmacy owners Harish and Renuka Bhatt, hotelier Satish “Sonny” Gabhawala, and prominent political leaders of the Indian-American community, such as Babu Patel and Iftekhar Shareef (both past presidents of the Federation of Indian Associations). Nayak, also a former head of the Federation of Indian Associations, owns a group of surgical centres. A highly regarded Democratic Party fund-raiser, Nayak is also a friend of another person who attended the lunch, Rajinder Bedi, an aide to Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (the Governor calls Bedi “My Sikh Warrior”). In addition, among the few who are not Indian American, the party included Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.’s brother Jonathan. Governor Blagojevich made a brief appearance. (CounterPunch) (Vijay Prashad bio) Prashad continued: On December 4, the Governor met with “Advisor B” (as he is named in the criminal complaint) and told him that “Senate Candidate 5” (Jesse Jackson Jr.) would get “greater consideration” because of a surety that No. 5 would help Blagojevich raise money and that he would give him “some [money] up front, maybe.” Blagojevich wanted something “tangible” now because “some of this stuff’s gotta start happening now… right now… and we gotta see it. You understand?” Is Jackson, Jr. innocent? That will be for the legal system to figure out. Is Jesse Junior accused of wrongdoing? Not officially. Are the federal investigators keenly suspicious of him? It certainly appears so. Do they have reason to be suspicious? Seems so. Will Junior eventually be "accused of wrongdoing?" You can probably bet on it, then place another bet that he'll strike a deal in return for his testimony and cooperation. The phrase "sing like a canary" comes to mind. RELATED: Full Blago Indictment (US DoJ) Rogers Park Blago Money Connection American Thinker Blog: Jesse Jackson, Jr. not out of the woods yet ABC News: Jesse Jackson Jr. Is Candidate 5... Chicago News Bench RSS Feed CommieBama Hats and More