Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. denied Friday that he and his brother were involved in a pay-to-play deal to have him appointed to the Senate by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
From the AP:
The remarks in an interview with The Associated Press Friday came on the heels of a Chicago Tribune report that, citing unnamed sources, said businessman Raghuveer Nayak and Blagojevich aide Rajinder Bedi told attendees at an Oct. 31 meeting they needed to raise $1 million for the governor to ensure Jackson's appointment. The report depicts Jackson's brother Jonathan as an active participant.
"Raghu said he needed to raise a million for Rod to make sure Jesse got the seat," an unidentified source who attended the meeting told the Tribune. Blagojevich also attended the meeting, which was sponsored by Nayak, an Oak Brook businessman.
The congressman said Friday "to an absolute certainty" that his brother was not involved in any scheming or wrongdoing.
"He did not serve as an emissary of mine," Jesse Jackson Jr. said of his brother. "It is unfortunate that every appearance the governor makes and meeting he has taints everyone in attendance."
Speaking to reporters outside of his South Side home Friday morning, Jackson reiterated his innoccence and said the US Attorney's office told him that he is not a target of the Blagojevich investigation:
"The US Attorney informed me yesterday that they have a traffic jam of people who are seeking meetings with them right now and who are being compelled to meet with them, and so they have not prioritized my interview with them. I have been informed that I am not a target of this investigation. I have committed no wrongdoing and I look forward to fully cooperating with the United States Attorney and sharing with them an extraordinary narrative about the state of illinois and it's political culture."
Watch Jackson's remarks:
Thursday night, before the reports about last week's fundraiser had been published, Jackson said "I've never been involved in a shady deal" and described this period as a test of his faith and courage.