Jackson Denies Involvement in Ill. Senate Seat Scheme
By Paul Kane
Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-Ill.) today denied any "involvement whatsoever" in a corrupt scheme to secure appointment to President-elect Barack Obama's newly vacant Senate seat and called for the resignation of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in the wake of the governor's arrest yesterday on charges he was trying to sell the appointment.
"I did not initiate nor authorize anyone, at any time, to promise anything to Governor Blagojevich on my behalf. I never sent a message or an emissary to the governor to make an offer or plead my case," Jackson said at a nationally televised news conference inside the Capitol.
Jackson's announcement -- which ended with him hinting he may still run for the seat in a possible special election -- came as federal investigators signaled that he was the politician referred to as "Senate Candidate 5" in court papers filed yesterday against Blagojevich. According to secret recordings detailed in the court papers, Blagojevich told an associate that an emissary for "Candidate 5" had discussed the possibility of raising $1 million for the governor if candidate 5 were appointed to the remaining two years of Obama's Senate term.
"I am not accused of any misconduct," Jackson, who grew emotional at times, said at the news conference called to address the reports.
The Illinois legislature is considering holding a special session next week to revoke Blagojevich's power to appoint a successor to Obama, setting up a special election early next year.
Jackson, who met Blagojevich about the appointment Monday, said it was the first time in four years he had met with the governor. He said he spoke to the office of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald yesterday, and expects to discuss with them later this week what he knows about the selection process.
Web Politics Editor
December 10, 2008; 4:56 PM ET
Categories: B_Blog , Barack Obama , DEPT. OF JURISPRUDENCE
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