|Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. : AP File Photo|
(Story reported by Natasha Korecki, Chris Fusco, and Lynn Sweet for the Chicago Sun Times)
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. directed a major political fund-raiser to offer former Gov. Rod Blagojevich millions of dollars in campaign cash in return for an appointment to the U.S. Senate, sources said the fund-raiser has told federal authorities.
The allegation by Oak Brook businessman Raghuveer Nayak counters public statements made as recently as last week by Jackson that he never authorized any deal to attempt to buy the Senate seat.
|Chicago fund raiser and Jackson accuser Raghuveer Nayak: The India Tribune|
Nayak also told authorities he paid for two airline trips for a "social acquaintance" of the Democratic congressman at Jackson's request, raising more potential ethical and political problems for Jackson.
The FBI interviewed that acquaintance — a Washington, D.C., restaurant hostess named Giovana Huidobro — about a year ago as part of its corruption probe of Blagojevich. Authorities were trying to determine whether Jackson had asked Nayak to offer Blagojevich campaign cash in exchange for the then-governor appointing Jackson to the seat once held by President Obama, according to sources with knowledge of the probe.
Huidobro, Jackson and Nayak all dined together on Oct. 8, 2008 — the same day that Nayak has told authorities he had a key conversation with Jackson about the Senate appointment, sources said. The three then ended up at Ozio, the restaurant and club where Huidobro works and where Jackson has held fund-raisers.
(Click here to read the full story on the Chicago Sun-Times website.)