* This doesn’t look good at all. Not at all…
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.
Among the attendees was a Blagojevich fundraiser already under scrutiny by federal investigators, Joliet pharmacist Harish Bhatt.
Bhatt’s pharmaces were raided a week ago.
* Possibly important context…
Citing unidentified sources, the Tribune reported that businessman Raghuveer Nayak and Blagojevich aide Rajinder Bedi told attendees at an Oct. 31 meeting that they needed to raise the money for the governor to ensure Jackson‘s appointment. […]
According to the FBI complaint, the Oct. 31 meeting took place the same day federal prosecutors intercepted a conversation in which Blagojevich claims he‘d been approached by a representative for an unnamed “Senate Candidate 5″ who offered cash in exchange for the Senate seat.
On Wednesday, it was revealed that Jackson was the candidate.
But keep this in mind…
Jackson’s newly retained attorney, James Montgomery, said Wednesday he could not rule out that such possibilities were discussed with Blagojevich by people who did not have his client’s blessing
* From CBS-2…
Former city worker Frank Coconate was Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Northwest Side point man when Jackson flirted with the idea of running against Mayor Daley.
Now, Coconate says, he’s not shocked by federal wiretaps in which Blagojevich discusses selling Barack Obama’s Senate seat to someone described as a Jackson emissary.
“He was always looking to deal,” Coconate said. “If he couldn’t get it outright, he’d buy it.”
In a 2005 meeting with a longtime Jackson aide, Coconate says, he was told Jackson only endorsed candidates who sent money Jackson’s way.
* Self-evident, from The Hill: Jackson now unlikely Obama replacement