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Jackson, Jr. Denies Wrongdoing in Seeking Senate Seat

Washington Afro, News Report, James Wright Posted: Dec 15, 2008

(December 12, 2008) - Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. met with federal prosecutors on Friday, Dec. 12, with his attorney to discuss the scandal surrounding Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevichs alleged influence peddling regarding President-elect Barack Obamas vacant seat in the U.S. Senate.

The meeting is expected to be about the role that people who claim to represent Jackson may have played in the scandal.

Politicians and fundraisers do some very strange things from time to time, and I wouldnt put it past someone to be purporting to represent Jesse without authority, James Montgomery Sr., his attorney, told the Chicago Tribune.

Montgomery said that he and Jackson have been told by the Chicago U.S. Attorneys Office that they are not the target of the investigation.

Despite the controversy, a spokesman for Jackson said that he has not withdrawn his name for consideration for the Senate seat.

Jackson, who has made no secret of his desire to replace Obama in the Senate, has strongly denied any wrongdoing in his quest to be considered the successor to the president-elect.

I reject and denounce pay-to-play politics, Jackson, a 13-year Democratic lawmaker from Chicago said at a hastily called news conference on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

He did not initiate or authorize anyone to speak to Blagojevich about his interest in the open Senate seat, Jackson added.

Like Obama, Jackson has also called on Blagojevich to step down as governor. I think that the governor should resign and forfeit his authority to make the appointment, Jackson said.

FBI agents on Tuesday arrested Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, on federal corruption charges related in part to the selection of Obamas successor to the Senate.

Jackson, son of the world-famous civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., was not named in the Blagojevich criminal complaint. However, descriptions in the court documents reportedly fit the congressmans profile. And, according to CBS News, Jacksons attorney has confirmed reports that Jackson is "Senate Candidate 5" referred to in the corruption case against Blagojevich.

According to the Tribune, Senate Candidate #5 is identified as a person who would get the appointment to Obamas seat if he or she would, among other things, pay $500,000 as an upfront fee and agreed to raise $1 million for the governor in 2010 for a political race, according to federal prosecutors.

Jackson said that he met with Blagojevich on Monday, Dec. 8, for the first time in four years in a 90-minute exchange to discuss the appointment. He believed Blagojevich would judge him for the Senate seat based on the many years of hard work he has put into his job, Jackson said, adding that he had only missed two votes in his 13 years in the House of Representatives.

I thought I deserved to be the senator because I earned it, Jackson said, adding that he was mistaken by Blagojevichs intentions.

Related Articles:

Senate Appointment Tainted by Blagojevich

Rep. Jackson To Meet FBI In Senate Seat Probe, Report

Jesse Jacksons Crude Remark About Obama Creates Stir

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