Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s brother has personally written to 10 members of Congress with an offer to testify before an ethics committee that last week re-launched its investigation of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.).
Robert Blagojevich said Thursday that he sent letters to all the members of the U.S. House Committee on Ethics because: “I believe I have information I think will help them find the truth” on Jackson.
He offered his testimony or to be interviewed about Jackson’s effort to secure an appointment by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in late 2008 to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant with the election of President Barack Obama.
“Based on what I know, I believe Jesse Jackson Jr. has a lot of unanswered questions that he needs to answer,” Robert Blagojevich said. “There are a lot of unanswered questions he should be required to answer.”
* Robert Blagojevich took over fundraising duties for his brother’s campaign. That’s what got him into trouble and is also where he got involved with Congressman Jackson’s bid to be appointed to the US Senate…
As for his own role, Jackson under oath said: “No I did not” direct or order anyone to offer Rod Blagojevich fund-raising in exchange for appointing him senator.
“I never directed anyone to raise money for another politician in my life, other than myself, in 16 years,” Jackson testified.
Last week, the House committee on ethics announced it would restart its probe into Jackson
* An ironic twist…
Rod Blagojevich was heard on tape calling U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. “repugnant” and a “bad guy.”
However, on the way to his sentencing hearing, the former governor tried tapping Jackson’s father for a letter of endorsement.
In another twist to the ever-complicated relationship between the Blagojevich and Jackson families, Blagojevich asked the Rev. Jesse Jackson to write letter of support to the sentencing judge.
It was an offer Rev. Jesse Jackson refused, according to a lawyer for both the elder Jackson and his son, the congressman.
“Rev. Jackson will not write a letter on behalf of Gov. Blagojevich,” attorney Paul Langer told the Sun-Times Thursday.
* In other Blagojevich-related news…
Illinois lawmakers are dead set against Rod Blagojevich getting another dime from Illinois taxpayers.
On Wednesday, the General Assembly Retirement System, or GARS, Board moved to ensure that the former governor would not collect any of his $65,000-a-year state pension.
The board adopted a rule that will require it to meet and review any application from a person convicted of political corruption during his time working for the state.
* Now, let’s move on to the Cellini trial…
A juror was removed Thursday morning from the trial of Springfield power broker William Cellini, forcing the panel to restart its discussions with a new member.
Jury deliberations in the extortion trial had begun Wednesday in the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago.
U.S. District Court Judge James Zagel said a juror on Wednesday informed a court officer of a conflict of interest. Zagel declined to reveal the nature of the conflict, saying he was sealing the matter until after the verdict. He did not elaborate further.
Zagel instructed the jury in open court to begin deliberations from scratch.
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