ABC News reports Chicago Democrat Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., is the anonymous “Senate Candidate #5″ whose emissaries Governor Blagojevich reportedly claimed offered up to a million dollars to name him to the U.S. Senate:
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 Jr. said this morning he was contacted yesterday by federal prosecutors in Chicago who he said “asked me to come in and share with them my insights and thoughts about the selection process.”
Jackson Jr. said “I don’t know” when asked if he was Candidate #5, but said he was told “I am not a target of this investigation.”
Jackson Jr. said he agreed to talk with federal investigators “as quickly as possible” after he consults with a lawyer.
According to the FBI affidavit annexed to the criminal complaint against Governor Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris, “Senate Candidate #5″ played a key role in the Governor’s efforts to obtain something of value in exchange for the Senate appointment:
According to the affidavit, Blagojevich threatened to appoint Senate Candidate #5 if President-elect Barack Obama refused to help get his wife on “paid corporate boards right now.”
“If they feel like they can do this and not f***ing give me anything&then I’ll f***ing go [Senate Candidate 5].”
The FBI says in an October 31, 2008 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.”
Last Thursday, December 4, the FBI says Blagojevich “was giving Senate Candidate 5 greater consideration for the Senate seat” because he might “get some (money) up front, maybe.”
The ABC report states Blagojevich and Jackson Jr. Met Monday Afternoon:
Blagojevich met with Congressman Jackson Jr. Monday afternoon and said he was close to making a decision about who he would appoint.
[. . .]
Jackson Jr. said yesterday that he met with Blagojevich Monday “for the first time in years” and voiced his desire to fill Obama’s empty Senate seat. He said he was “shocked” by Blagojevich’s arrest, adding “if these allegations are proved true, I am outraged by the appalling, pay-to-play schemes hatched at the highest levels of our state government.”
Blagojevich was arrested by the FBI early the following morning in order to “stop a crime spree,” according to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.