'Senate Candidate 5' Role Could Damage Jesse Jackson Jr.'s Political Career
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) addresses a news conference at the U.S. Captiol December 10, 2008 in Washington, DC. Jackson had been mentioned as a potential replacement for the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President-elect Barack Obama. Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (C), who has the power to fill the vacant Senate seat, was arrested at his Chicago home yesterday and charged with corruption after prosecutors said he was trying to sell the seat to the highest bidder. (Getty Images)more pics »The Rod Blagojevich affidavit has gotten a lot of attention since it was released yesterday. Perhaps the most intense scrutiny has been reserved for figuring out the identities of the unnamed parties in the affidavit.
It seems people are just as interested in who played Highway Contractor 1, Fundraiser A and Senate Candidate 5 as they are what Blagojevich and his Chief of Staff, John Harris, actually did wrong. And speaking of Senate Candidate 5, this comes today from the AP:
A lawyer for U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. says the congressman is the "Senate Candidate 5" mentioned in the federal corruption complaint against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Attorney James D. Montgomery Sr. said Wednesday that Jackson never had a "pay-to-play" conversation with Blagojevich. Speculation swirled yesterday as to the identity of Senate Candidate 5. In the affidavit, the candidate comes off as over-ambitious and power-hungry, all too willing to play Blagojevich's little games. Blagojevich threatens to appoint Senate Candidate 5 to President-elect Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat unless he gets favors from other parties.
In the affidavit, Blagojevich says Senate Candidate 5 is willing to raise money for him, or step aside should Blagojevich choose to appoint himself.
As it stands right now, Jesse Jackson Jr. looks bad, but not criminal. He says he has been in touch with U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald's office, and so far it appears that he is not a target of investigation.
So it looks like a minor bruise for the young politician's reputation, but it won't be a career-ender.
What do you think? Is this the end for Jesse Jackson, Jr.? Vote here.