This will take some explaining.
Two powerhouses in Chicago’s Indian-American community told the team of then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) that Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) would raise $5 million for the governor in return for the Senate seat being vacated by Barack Obama, the Chicago Sun-Times reported today.
The first [approach] came from Rajinder Bedi, a state employee who acted as a conduit to the Indian community for Blagojevich, sources say. Bedi met with the governor’s brother, Robert, to tell him that a longtime fund-raiser and wealthy health care businessman, Raghuveer Nayak, would help organize fund-raising within the Indian community and that Jackson would raise money as well.
Then, at an Oct. 31 planning luncheon at the India House restaurant in Schaumburg, Nayak delivered a similar message to Robert Blagojevich, the Sun-Times has learned. Nayak allegedly identified himself to the Blagojevich camp as a representative of Jackson, sources say.
At some point, signals were crossed in communicating the dollar amounts, though, leaving Rod Blagojevich to believe, according to the criminal complaint against him, that he would be paid $1.5 million should he appoint Jackson to fill Obama’s seat.
But the offer was really supposed to be $5 million raised by Jackson, as well as up to $1 million from the Indian community, sources said.
Jackson has denied any wrongdoing and vows to cooperate with any investigations (including that launched by a congressional panel earlier this month). Still, you can be sure he’s wishing that this news hadn’t broken in what is likely to be a fairly slow news week, with Congress on recess and the Somali pirate saga now ended.
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