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Fundraising Event Could Be Hell-raising Nightmare For Jackson

By Hunter Clauss in News on Dec 12, 2008 8:05PM


Photo taken from Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s photo gallery.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is under fire over reports that a major political donor may have been a player in Governor Rod Blagojevich’s pay-to-play scheme regarding the vacant Senate seat. The Chicago Tribune reports that Raghuveer Nayak, a big-time contributor to both Jackson and Blagojevich, was putting the “fun” back in “fundraising” at a luncheon with Blagojevich just days before Election Day. That luncheon led to another fundraising event on Saturday with Blagojevich, Nayat, and Jesse Jackson Jr.’s brother, Jonathan. According to anonymous sources to the Trib, the purpose of the events was to boost Jackson’s bid for the vacant Senate seat. “Raghu said he needed to raise a million for Rod to make sure Jesse got the seat,” said one of the anonymous sources to the Trib. “He said, ‘I can raise half of it, $500,000.’ The idea was that the other two would help raise the rest.”

The fundraisers run parallel to information about Candidate 5 - confirmed to be Jackson - contained in the criminal complaint, which states that emissaries for the candidate were offering to raise as much as $1.5 million for Blagojevich’s campaign fund in exchange for the Senate seat. Nayak, a doctor and prominent leader in the Indian community, has previously donated more than $22,000 to Jackson and more than $200,000 to Blagojevich. Nayat has close ties to Jonathan Jackson as the two went into business together at one point. It’s also worth noting that Nayak has also contributed money to many other politicians that include Attorney Gen. Lisa Madigan and Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn. Maybe they’ll return the money in a repeat of the Rezko aftermath.

Jesse Jackson Jr. denies that he and his brother took any part in trying to buy the Senate seat from Blagojevich, and Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. released a statement saying that he took no part in the scandal. While it could be true that Junior had no idea what was going on, the chances of him going to the Senate are getting slimmer. The Sun-Times reports that federal investigators want to know how aware Jackson was to Blagojevich's pay-to-play scheme as well as the identity of the mysterious Jackson emissary, which are questions that will undoubtedly follow Jackson where ever he goes.