Theodore's World: Blagojevich Fundraiser Held By Jesse Jackson Jr.

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December 13, 2008

Blagojevich Fundraiser Held By Jesse Jackson Jr.

U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. speaks with members of the press on Friday morning in response to the continued investigation surrounding his involvement with the political corruption allegations made against Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich. (Tribune photo by Christopher Booker

Blagojevich fundraiser held by Jackson allies Saturday

Chicago Tribune

By David Kidwell, John Chase and Dan Mihalopoulos

December 12, 2008

As Gov. Rod Blagojevich was trying to pick Illinois' next U.S. senator, businessmen with ties to both the governor and U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. discussed raising at least $1 million for Blagojevich's campaign as a way to encourage him to pick Jackson for the job, the Tribune has learned.

Blagojevich made an appearance at an Oct. 31 luncheon meeting at the India House restaurant in Schaumburg sponsored by Oak Brook businessman Raghuveer Nayak, a major Blagojevich supporter who also has fundraising and business ties to the Jackson family, according to several attendees and public records.

Two businessmen who attended the meeting and spoke to the Tribune on the condition of anonymity said that Nayak and Blagojevich aide Rajinder Bedi privately told many of the more than two dozen attendees the fundraising effort was aimed at supporting Jackson's bid for the Senate.

That meeting led to a Blagojevich fundraiser Saturday in Elmhurst, co-sponsored by Nayak and attended by Jesse Jackson Jr.'s brother, Jonathan, as well as Blagojevich, according to several people who were there. Nayak and Jonathan Jackson go back years and the two even went into business together years ago as part of a land purchase on the South Side.

Blagojevich and the congressman met to discuss the Senate seat on Monday, one day before federal prosecutors arrested Blagojevich and charged him with trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

The Tribune has identified Jesse Jackson Jr. as "Senate Candidate 5." Jackson has denied knowing anything about efforts by emissaries or anybody close to him promising to raise money for Blagojevich in exchange for being appointed to the Senate. He has been contacted by federal prosecutors as part of the probe and has agreed to meet with them.

Jackson's congressional spokesman Rick Bryant said Thursday that Nayak is a "family friend and supporter" of the congressman as well as his well-known father, Rev. Jesse Jackson. The congressman and Nayak have spoken about Jackson's desire to succeed Obama.

~ snipet ~

The two businessmen who spoke to the Tribune on the condition of anonymity said they did so because they were afraid of repercussions in the close-knit and politically active Indian business community.

One said Nayak and Bedi told him and others of their plan to help Jackson.

The second said he overheard Nayak and Bedi discussing plans with Bhatt, the Joliet pharmacist..

"Raghu said he needed to raise a million for Rod to make sure Jesse got the seat," the second businessman said. "He said, 'I can raise half of it, $500,000.' The idea was that the other two would help raise the rest."

Bhatt, whose two Basinger's Pharmacy outlets were searched by the FBI last week, has been the focus of a state and federal investigations into whether campaign donations were made in exchange for regulatory favors.

Bedi is the managing director for the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity's Office of Trade and Investment, overseeing nine foreign trade offices around the world from China to Israel. He has also been a key fundraiser for Blagojevich.

Blagojevich has referred to Bedi, who wears a turban, as "My Sikh warrior."

Wild Thing's comment.......

It kind of looks like Jessie Junior drew the short straw, doesn't it? I wonder if this is how Pops Jackson is getting paid back for the 'cut his BLEEPS off' comment? Nah, that's crazy talk! Forget I even said that....just a thought. haha

I guess we better add Jesse Jackson Jr. to the list of those not sleeping too well at night.

Posted by Wild Thing at December 13, 2008 05:50 AM


They're all a bunch of big fat liars! Didn't we use to sing a little song about liars--liar, liar pants on fire, nose is long as a telephone wire?
Of course, Jesse jr has his hands in this and he's blatantly rubbing our faces in it.

Posted by: Lynn at December 13, 2008 06:57 AM

Just can't wait to hear the blabbering FOG HORN LEG HORN devils and advocates. Hey! Al Capone and Frank Nitty weren't such BAD guys after all, eh?
- The Night Chicago Died 2008?

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at December 13, 2008 08:43 AM

The demos are ready to drop the door on Blago, he is accused but not charged with any crime. Yet they want to get him out of the way so there is less attention paid to where obama comes from and the Chicago Machine.

Now they got the media calling blago crazy, insane, a normal democrat wouldn't do anything like that. (interpretation: Any other democrat would not have used a public phone and make such comments.)

Ironically, these self same, self serving sons of bitches, want the prisoners at Gitmo to get their due process rights, yet they want Blago dead, without his due process.

Could this be the real democrat party floating up to the surface, like the proverbial cesspool where the large chunks rise to the top.

Posted by: Mark at December 13, 2008 09:07 AM

It's said that if Blagojevich were to appoint someone to the Senate, that person would be rejected by the Senate. But, if that person was Jesse Jackson Jr., they wouldn't dare reject him.

Posted by: BobF at December 13, 2008 09:25 AM

American politics at it's worst. When you realize that we have a Congress full of these schemers, plotters and political whores you can understand why America is in the decline it is.

Posted by: TomR at December 13, 2008 11:30 AM

The Chicago Democratic political machine has a well earned and deserved reputation of corruption. Barack Obama and Jessee Jackson Jr. are products and elective office successes of that political machine and they enthusiastically supported Gov. Rod Blagojevich and are now creating a wall of separation from him pleading ignorance of any wrongdoing.

Before Attorney General Michael Mukasey leaves office he should appoint a special prosecutor to find out the truth of who knew what and when did they know it regards this whole Blagojevich/Obama/Jackson Chicago corruption scandal. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and an Obama appointed Attorney General can't be trusted to investigate this case and take the proper legal action against all parties involved.

Posted by: Les at December 13, 2008 02:01 PM

Sure they'd dare reject JJJ, if the Machine has stopped supporting him. Jackson, Sr. has become such an embarrassment to them, they may want to cut Jr. off, too.
Illinois politicians may get arrested, but the Machine rolls on.

Posted by: Trish at December 13, 2008 06:29 PM

Lynn, LOL yes I remember that song.

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 13, 2008 06:34 PM

Darth, haha yes good ole Capone and Nitty.

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 13, 2008 06:36 PM

Mark, good point.

"Yet they want to get him out of the way so there is less attention paid to where obama comes from and the Chicago Machine."

The distraction is working, the media has been talking about this a lot. I bet the Sunday morning shows tomorrow will be all about Chicago too and nothing once again about the Birth Certificate.

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 13, 2008 06:39 PM

BobF, I bet your right.

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 13, 2008 06:40 PM

Tom, I agree, it has become all you said. And if there are a few honorable ones just a few conservatives they are attacked on those very grounds for their having honor and wanting to do what is best for America.

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 13, 2008 06:42 PM

Les, that would be good, I agree, I would not trust anyone connected in any way with Obama.

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 13, 2008 06:47 PM

Trish, your right, the machine no matter what happens will roll on.

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 13, 2008 06:49 PM

People with no conscience nor morals usually have no trouble sleeping, WT.

Posted by: Steve Gaston, USMC at December 13, 2008 07:57 PM

Steve Gaston, USMC, your right, thank you. I sometimes forget and think they might have an ity bity consciense but I know better then that. haha They have none at all.

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 13, 2008 11:03 PM