Skip to comments.Ethics board launches probe into Rep Jesse Jackson Jr.
Posted on 04/07/2009 4:09:48 PM PDT by STARWISE
A congressional ethics board has launched a preliminary inquiry into U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill), related to President Obamas vacant Senate seat and the corruption investigation of ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.
The Office of Congressional Ethics, formed just last year, voted in late March to conduct a preliminary review, of actions surrounding Jacksons bid to be appointed to the Senate seat, according to documents released by the office.
The committee launched the action Thursday the same day Blagojevich was indicted on corruption charges.
The panel has asked parties in the Blagojevich case including his former gubernatorial staff and campaign staff to turn over any documents, emails, or other correspondence involving Jackson Jr. and his campaign staff, Jacksons brother, Jonathan, and political fund-raisers Raghuveer Nayak and Rajinder Bedi, lawyers close to the probe told the Sun-Times.
The request for information is from June of last year through Dec. 31, 2008.
Nayak, Bedi and Jonathan Jackson attended a Dec. 6 fund-raiser hosted by the Indian community for Friends of Blagojevich. People attending the event have told the Sun-Times that discussions about future fund-raising for congressman Jacksons Senate candidacy took place at the function.
Jesse Jackson Jr. has not been accused of wrongdoing in the Blagojevich case. He was referred to as Candidate A in the indictment of Blagojevich and was recently interviewed by the feds.
Blagojevich believed he would be paid $1.5 million through Jackson Jr. emissaries if he named Jackson to the Senate seat, according to the federal charges.
A federal criminal complaint alleges that the ex-governor told his brother in a recorded call to meet with Nayak, referred to as "Individual D," to ask about giving money up front for Jacksons appointment. The next day the ex-governor told his own brother to undo that [Nayak] thing after reports surfaced that the feds could be recording conversations, according to the criminal complaint against Blagojevich.
Nayak has since been in discussions with federal investigators.
The ethics panel typically investigates a matter for 30 days before making a recommendation to the House members chief ethics panel, the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. That committee can take action, refuse action or continue the probe.
Leo Wise, who heads the Office of Congressional Ethics, said he could not confirm or deny the existence of any investigation. His non-partisan panel, made up of private citizens, was created by the House last year to review allegations against its members. Judge Abner Mikva is among those on the panel.
Were a fact-gathering, investigative entity, Wise said. Wise explained that the panel does not have subpoena abilities but the House dictated powers allowing it to interview witnesses and request documents.
A spokesman for congressman Jackson did not return a call seeking comment. Jonathan Jackson also did not respond to a request for comment.
Jesse Jackson Jr. is the second member of the Illinois delegation to come under ethical scrutiny this year. The Senate ethics committee launched an inquiry into Sen. Roland Burriss appointment by Blagojevich. Burris has given conflicting answers about his contacts with the former governor and his campaign operation prior to the appointment.
But BO couldn’t have possibly known anything.
J. J. Jr. unethical?
The report on JJ Jr. is in: no unethical or illegal behavior was found. End of investigation.
That's a good thing. Now we will see if it winds up a whitewash.
About dang time.
Is Jr. taking the heat for his father?
Not that i think that anything will come of this.
That ethics board must be racist.(S)