Jesse Jackson Jr's Blagojevich Story Doesn't Match His Fundraiser's

Clarice Feldman
The Chicago Tribune reports that Jesse Jackson Jr.'s account of his efforts to get then-Governor Blagojevich to appoint him to Obama's vacant Senate seat is not matching the account given by one of his fundraiser's.  

Shortly after Blagojevich's arrest on corruption charges in December 2008, the Chicago Tribune reported that FBI agents went to the Oak Brook home of the Indian businessman, Raghuveer P. Nayak. The Tribune reported Nayak hosted an Oct. 31, 2008 luncheon where he discussed raising $1 million for Blagojevich to help persuade the governor to choose Jackson. The congressman's brother Jonathan appeared at a Nayak-sponsored fundraiser for the governor three days before Blagojevich was arrested.

The congressman acknowledged then that he spoke with Nayak about his desire for the Senate seat but said he did not endorse and was not aware of a fundraising effort to support his bid. Since then he has repeatedly declined to answer reporters' questions about his role.

But sources now say that Nayak told investigators he had an Oct. 8 meeting with Jackson at which the congressman asked him to raise millions of dollars for Blagojevich in a bid to persuade Blagojevich to use his appointment power to put Jackson in the Senate. 

During Blagojevich's corruption trial this summer, prosecutors alleged that Jackson participated in a conversation with Nayak and another Indian businessman, later in October, as they discussed raising $1 million for Blagojevich. Jackson acknowledged last week that he was at a meeting with the two men but said he was unaware of their conversation.

It is interesting that this account is being leaked out in advance of the re-trial of Blagojevish. It is also interesting the prosecution has not yet charged Jackson with any wrongdoing.

Someone is trying to put the screws on Jesse Jackson Jr. today. The Sun-Times is also reporting, as the Chicago Tribune, did that he talked to a major fundraiser, Nayak, about contributing money to Blagojevich in exchange for an appointment to the Senate, but now the story has an added salacious element, one which suggests that he follows in his dad's footsteps:

Nayak also told authorities he paid for two airline trips for a "social acquaintance" of the Democratic congressman at Jackson's request, raising more potential ethical and political problems for Jackson.

The FBI interviewed that acquaintance - a Washington, D.C., restaurant hostess named Giovana Huidobro - about a year ago as part of its corruption probe of Blagojevich. Authorities were trying to determine whether Jackson had asked Nayak to offer Blagojevich campaign cash in exchange for the then-governor appointing Jackson to the seat once held by President Obama, according to sources with knowledge of the probe.

Huidobro, Jackson and Nayak all dined together on Oct. 8, 2008 - the same day that Nayak has told authorities he had a key conversation with Jackson about the Senate appointment, sources said. The three then ended up at Ozio, the restaurant and club where Huidobro works and where Jackson has held fund-raisers.

Huidobro told authorities she knew nothing of Jackson's political dealings regarding the Senate seat, according to sources. She also said she flew to Chicago on several occasions at Jackson's request and that Jackson sometimes reimbursed her for her travels.

Nayak told the FBI that he paid for two airline trips for Huidobro from Washington to Chicago in 2008.

[snip]

Pressed about Huidobro, the congressman again said, "I have nothing to say."

Jackson does not appear to have reported the flights for Huidobro as a gift on his House financial-disclosure statement, and it's unclear whether he violated any ethics or fund-raising laws by not doing so.

Someone -- I suspect the prosecution -- seems to building a pyre under Jackson in preparation for the Blagojevich re-trial.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Jesse Jackson Jr.'s account of his efforts to get then-Governor Blagojevich to appoint him to Obama's vacant Senate seat is not matching the account given by one of his fundraiser's.  

Shortly after Blagojevich's arrest on corruption charges in December 2008, the Chicago Tribune reported that FBI agents went to the Oak Brook home of the Indian businessman, Raghuveer P. Nayak. The Tribune reported Nayak hosted an Oct. 31, 2008 luncheon where he discussed raising $1 million for Blagojevich to help persuade the governor to choose Jackson. The congressman's brother Jonathan appeared at a Nayak-sponsored fundraiser for the governor three days before Blagojevich was arrested.

The congressman acknowledged then that he spoke with Nayak about his desire for the Senate seat but said he did not endorse and was not aware of a fundraising effort to support his bid. Since then he has repeatedly declined to answer reporters' questions about his role.

But sources now say that Nayak told investigators he had an Oct. 8 meeting with Jackson at which the congressman asked him to raise millions of dollars for Blagojevich in a bid to persuade Blagojevich to use his appointment power to put Jackson in the Senate. 

During Blagojevich's corruption trial this summer, prosecutors alleged that Jackson participated in a conversation with Nayak and another Indian businessman, later in October, as they discussed raising $1 million for Blagojevich. Jackson acknowledged last week that he was at a meeting with the two men but said he was unaware of their conversation.

It is interesting that this account is being leaked out in advance of the re-trial of Blagojevish. It is also interesting the prosecution has not yet charged Jackson with any wrongdoing.

Someone is trying to put the screws on Jesse Jackson Jr. today. The Sun-Times is also reporting, as the Chicago Tribune, did that he talked to a major fundraiser, Nayak, about contributing money to Blagojevich in exchange for an appointment to the Senate, but now the story has an added salacious element, one which suggests that he follows in his dad's footsteps:

Nayak also told authorities he paid for two airline trips for a "social acquaintance" of the Democratic congressman at Jackson's request, raising more potential ethical and political problems for Jackson.

The FBI interviewed that acquaintance - a Washington, D.C., restaurant hostess named Giovana Huidobro - about a year ago as part of its corruption probe of Blagojevich. Authorities were trying to determine whether Jackson had asked Nayak to offer Blagojevich campaign cash in exchange for the then-governor appointing Jackson to the seat once held by President Obama, according to sources with knowledge of the probe.

Huidobro, Jackson and Nayak all dined together on Oct. 8, 2008 - the same day that Nayak has told authorities he had a key conversation with Jackson about the Senate appointment, sources said. The three then ended up at Ozio, the restaurant and club where Huidobro works and where Jackson has held fund-raisers.

Huidobro told authorities she knew nothing of Jackson's political dealings regarding the Senate seat, according to sources. She also said she flew to Chicago on several occasions at Jackson's request and that Jackson sometimes reimbursed her for her travels.

Nayak told the FBI that he paid for two airline trips for Huidobro from Washington to Chicago in 2008.

[snip]

Pressed about Huidobro, the congressman again said, "I have nothing to say."

Jackson does not appear to have reported the flights for Huidobro as a gift on his House financial-disclosure statement, and it's unclear whether he violated any ethics or fund-raising laws by not doing so.

Someone -- I suspect the prosecution -- seems to building a pyre under Jackson in preparation for the Blagojevich re-trial.