Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Meet "Senate Candidate #5" Jesse Jackson, Jr.

The Blagojevich chronicles just keeps getting better and better as ABC discovers that Jesse Jackson, Jr. is, in fact, Senate Candidate #5 alluded to in the complaint from Fitzgerald against Blagojevich:

Chicago Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., is the anonymous "Senate Candidate No. 5" whose emissaries Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich reportedly offered up to $1 million to name him to the U.S. Senate, federal law enforcement sources tell ABC News.

According to the FBI affidavit in the case, Blagojevich "stated he might be able to cut a deal with Senate Candidate 5 that provided Rod Blagojevich" with something "tangible up front."

Jackson said this morning he was contacted Tuesday by federal prosecutors in Chicago whom he said "asked me to come in and share with them my insights and thoughts about the selection process."

Jackson said, "I don't know" when asked whether he was Candidate No. 5, but said he was told "I am not a target of this investigation."

Jackson said he agreed to talk with federal investigators "as quickly as possible" after he consulted with a lawyer.

The congressman, a son of the famed civil rights leader, denied that anyone had been authorized to make payments or promises to the governor on his behalf.

"It is impossible for someone on my behalf to have a conversation that would suggest any type of quid pro quo or any payments or offers," Jackson told ABC News. "An impossibility to an absolute certainty."

"Senate Candidate No. 5" played a key role in the governor's efforts to obtain something of value in exchange for the Senate appointment, according to the FBI affidavit.

According to the affidavit, Blagojevich threatened to appoint Senate Candidate No. 5 if President-elect Obama refused to help get his wife on "paid corporate boards right now."

He says that his staff couldn't have made the offer, but it's pretty clear that someone did this on his behalf without his knowledge. But are we surprised, really? I mean, seriously? This is how Chicago politics works. All of those that are corrupt has cronies and staffs to do the dirty work so that the corrupt pols don't get caught. Well, except for Blagojevich who was either too stupid or too arrogant to care about getting caught. I mean, he knew he was under investigation, and yet he still continued to turn the corrupt wheels of his machine. What other explanation can be offered up? He's under investigation, by none other than the crusading Patrick Fitzgerald, and doesn't think that Fitz can get the wiretap warrant? OK, so he's an idiot.

Allah does note that this wasn't quid pro quo in the "traditional" Chicago sense of briefcases passed between surrogates under tables. This was about contributions to campaigns, which is legal, and the typical way of getting money by the corrupt Chicago machine. Rezko did it often on behalf of both Blagojevich and Daley. He also takes note of Byron York's speculation that the Tribune report on Monday might have spooked Blagojevich, and it forced Fitzgerald's hand. That's a distinct possibility, to be sure, but we're as skeptical about that line of thought given how arrogant, careless, and imprudent his actions were in dealing with the vacant Senate seat. Remember Blagojevich's statement on Monday?

"I should say if anybody wants to tape my conversations, go right ahead, feel free to do it. I appreciate anybody who wants to tape me openly and notoriously, and those who feel like they want to sneakily, and wear taping devices, I would remind them that it kind of smells like Nixon and Watergate."

There's the arrogance just dripping from that comment, so we don't see him spooked by learning the Fitz had wiretapped him. He acted like a man who thought he couldn't be taken down.

As for Jesse Jackson, Jr., not he's likely not going to be involved much in this investigation unless he can be tied, in anyway, to Blagojevich's endless record of corruption. Of course he's going to maintain that he had nothing to do with the vacant Obama Senate seat, but that could very well change depending on which tune Blagojevich decides to sing first.

Publius II


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December 10, 2008 at 6:14 PM  

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