Fundraiser: Jesse Jackson Jr offered Blagojevich millions for Obama's Senate seat

This would be the same Jesse Jackson Jr who was first identified almost two years ago in connection with pay for play vis-a-vis the appointment. A direct quote from the time: “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. An impossiblity to an absolute certainty.” Not only that, but he then turned around and insisted — unconvincingly — that he was actually an informant in the case helping the feds to stamp out corruption. Now this.

Oh, before I forget — he was also co-chair of Obama’s national presidential campaign. Something to bear in mind in case this story breaks wide open and the White House suddenly can’t remember his name.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. directed a major political fund-raiser to offer former Gov. Rod Blagojevich millions of dollars in campaign cash in return for an appointment to the U.S. Senate, sources said the fund-raiser has told federal authorities.

The allegation by Oak Brook businessman Raghuveer Nayak counters public statements made as recently as last week by Jackson that he never authorized any deal to attempt to buy the Senate seat…

Before he dined with Huidobro and Jackson on Oct. 8, 2008, Nayak said he had a critical conversation with the congressman about the seat while the two were alone. Nayak, also a former Blagojevich fund-raiser, said that Jackson asked him to tell Blagojevich that if the then-governor appointed Jackson to the U.S. Senate, Chicago’s Indian community would raise $1 million for Blagojevich and — after Jackson was appointed — Jackson would raise $5 million for the then-governor…

Jackson has not been charged with any crime. Nor has Nayak, who contributed $12,000 to Jackson’s congressional campaign between 2001 and 2006. Nayak faces his own federal scrutiny, including a current IRS inquiry involving his business dealings with state official and fund-raiser Rajinder Bedi.

We already knew about a fundraising scheme to buy the seat, but to my knowledge, this is the first time anyone involved has directly implicated Jackson. Still not juicy enough for you? Well, there’s a sexual subplot here too: Apparently Nayak was also Jackson’s errand boy in arranging flights to Chicago at Jackson’s request for a former model turned “social acquaintance” of Triple-J’s. When asked to comment on it by NBC Chicago, he offered this:

“The reference to a social acquaintance is a personal and private matter between me and my wife that was handled some time ago.” Jackson Jr. said in a statement. “I ask that you respect our privacy.”

Exit question: This won’t hurt his mayoral bid, will it? Remember which city we’re talking about here.

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