Jesse Jackson Jr. said to be "candidate #5"
ABC News.com -
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." "If they feel like they can do this and not f-- give me anything then I'll f-- go [Senate Candidate 5]."
The FBI says that during an Oct. 31 conversation, Blagojevich described an approach from an associate of Senate Candidate 5: "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." On Thursday, the FBI says Blagojevich "was giving Senate Candidate 5 greater consideration for the Senate seat" because he might "get some [money] up front, maybe."
Blagojevich is back to business as usual working in his Chicago office today, which is his 52nd birthday. "The day-to-day operation doesn't change nor is it affected. There are still critical state issues that he wants to address - things like dealing with the current financial crisis, looking at ways to keep people in their homes and finding ways to create jobs - and will continue to do so as governor," said a spokesperson. Meanwhile, Obama is now calling for his resignation, according to transition team aides.