It is starting to look like Jesse Jackson, Jr. is the one labeled Senate Candidate 5 in the Blago complaint. In reading the complaint (really just stunning stuff), I came to the tentative opinion that Jesse Jackson, Jr., was the guy. Jackson had met with Blago for “productive” conversations and the time frame for meetings with Jackson seemed to fit the Blago phone calls.
Looking around, it appears others are coming to the same opinion. Here is a Chicago paper putting the pieces together.
Meeting with Candidate 5
On Thursday, the governor was taped by investigators saying that he was going to meet with Candidate 5 in the next few days, according to the affidavit. Jackson met with Blagojevich Monday at the Thompson Center in Chicago for about 90 minutes to discuss the Senate seat. In a statement, Jackson said he “shared with the governor my hopes and unique qualifications for succeeding President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate.”
Also on Thursday, Blagojevich said in a taped phone call that he was considering appointing Candidate 5 because he believed the candidate would raise money for the governor or give him money “up front,” according to the affidavit.
On Oct. 31, Blagojevich reportedly said on another recorded call that he had been approached by an associate of Candidate 5. Blagojevich said, “We were approached ‘pay to play.’ That, you know, he’d raise me 500 grand. An emissary came. Then the other guy would raise a million, if I made him (Senate Candidate 5) a senator.”
But Blagojevich apparently wanted proof of the candidate’s ability to raise money for him sooner rather than later, saying he had “a prior bad experience with Senate Candidate 5 not keeping his word,” the affidavit says.
“Some of this stuff’s gotta start happening now — right now — and we gotta see it,” Blagojevich allegedly said.
On Friday, the affidavit states, a story in the Chicago Tribune reported that authorities had been taping Blagojevich. This caused the governor to tell an associate to backtrack and “undo your — thing” with the individual he believed was close to Candidate 5, the affidavit states.
For his part, Jackson is denying any wrongdoing:
Federal prosecutors say someone approached Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Candidate 5’s behalf and offered to trade campaign contributions for an appointment to the Senate.
Jackson (D-2nd), in a pair of written statements addressing what he described as “rumors” that he is referenced in the government’s complaint, declined to address the question but protested his innocence and said he would cooperate “fully and completely” with federal investigators as they continue to examine the governor’s alleged efforts to auction off the state’s vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder.
“Since the federal investigation of the governor is ongoing, it would be inappropriate for me to comment,” Jackson said. “However, I reject and denounce pay-to-play politics and have no involvement whatsoever in any wrongdoing.”
Jackson, Jr., was lobbying for the Senate seat before the election was over. Here is an interesting point:
Illinois political insiders, who declined to discuss the subject on the record for fear of appearing presumptuous before the results of the presidential race are known, say Obama would have a major hand in the decision.