Fund-raiser: Jesse Jackson Jr. behind $6M Senate-seat scheme
Feds had questions about Senate-seat deal and flights for a Jackson acquaintance
Chicago Sun Times/NATASHA KORECKI, CHRIS FUSCO AND LYNN SWEET
September 21, 2010
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. directed a major political fund-raiser to offer former Gov. Rod Blagojevich millions of dollars in campaign cash in return for an appointment to the U.S. Senate, sources said the fund-raiser has told federal authorities.
The allegation by Oak Brook businessman Raghuveer Nayak counters public statements made as recently as last week by Jackson that he never authorized any deal to attempt to buy the Senate seat.
Nayak also told authorities he paid for two airline trips for a "social acquaintance" of the Democratic congressman at Jackson's request, raising more potential ethical and political problems for Jackson.
The FBI interviewed that acquaintance — a Washington, D.C., restaurant hostess named Giovana Huidobro — about a year ago as part of its corruption probe of Blagojevich. Authorities were trying to determine whether Jackson had asked Nayak to offer Blagojevich campaign cash in exchange for the then-governor appointing Jackson to the seat once held by President Obama, according to sources with knowledge of the probe.
Huidobro is a blonde white woman, for what it's worth. Unlike the alleged $6 million payoff to Blago to name him Senator, Jesse Jackson Jr. doesn't seem to be denying the infidelity rumors.