Jesse Jackson Jr. Rocked By Blagojevich, Personal Disclosures

Jesse Jackson Jr.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press hide caption

itoggle caption Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press

(This item was revised since it was originally posted.)

It would be an understatement to say Tuesday wasn't a very good day for the ambitious Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

That was when the public learned that an Indian businessman the Illinois Democratic congressman knew told federal investigators that in 2008 Jackson asked the businessman to raise several million dollars for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich's re-election campaign.

The money was meant to help persuade Blagojevich to appoint Jackson to fill the Senate seat vacated by Sen. Barack Obama, the businessman reportedly told investigators.

Jackson has denied that he did any such thing.

Also on Tuesday, the public learned that the same businessman bought airline tickets so a "social acquaintance" of Jackson's could visit the congressman whose wife Sandi is a Chicago alderman.

Again, a fairly brutal day for a politician said to be considering a run for mayor (as is his wife.) Jackson is the son of the famous civil rights leader and pioneering presidential candidate who also had his woman problems.

The Chicago Tribune has many of the relevant details:

Shortly after Blagojevich’s arrest on corruption charges in December 2008, the Chicago Tribune reported that FBI agents went to the Oak Brook home of Indian-American businessman, Raghuveer P. Nayak. The Tribune reported Nayak hosted an Oct. 31, 2008 luncheon where he discussed raising $1 million for Blagojevich to help persuade the governor to choose Jackson. The congressman's brother Jonathan appeared at a Nayak-sponsored fundraiser for the governor three days before Blagojevich was arrested.

The congressman acknowledged then that he spoke with Nayak about his desire for the Senate seat but said he did not endorse and was not aware of a fundraising effort to support his bid. Since then he has repeatedly declined to answer reporters’ questions about his role.

But sources now say that Nayak told investigators he had an Oct. 8 meeting with Jackson at which the congressman asked him to raise millions of dollars for Blagojevich in a bid to persuade Blagojevich to use his appointment power to put Jackson in the Senate.

While the Tribune and other news reports dance around the nature of the "social acquaintance," the statements issued by Jackson and his wife that mention disappointment and pain help fill in some of the blanks.

More from the Tribune which quoted from the congressman's statement:

"The reference to a social acquaintance is a private and personal matter between me and my wife that was handled some time ago. I ask that you respect our privacy," Jackson said in the statement. "I know I have disappointed some supporters and for that I am deeply sorry. But I remain committed to serving my constituents and fighting on their behalf."

Needless to say, this all places a rather sizable cloud over Jackson at this point, making a run for Chicago's mayor look like a bit of an overreach, to say the least.

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