Illinois congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. has been hit with a double-barrel of scandal – one financial, the other sexual – that may sideline a possible run for Chicago mayor.
The Chicago Tribune reports Indian-American businessman Raghuveer Nayak told the FBI Jackson told him to raise US$6 million in campaign funds for Rod Blagojevich, in hopes the disgraced Illinois governor would appoint Jackson to to the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama when he became US president in 2008.
According to The Chicago Tribune, Nayak hosted an Oct. 31, 2008 luncheon where he discussed raising US$1 million for Blagojevich to help persuade the governor to choose Jackson. The congressman’s brother Jonathan appeared at a Nayak-sponsored fundraiser for the governor three days before Blagojevich was arrested.
There is also an alleged affair between Jackson and Giovanna Huidobro, a woman said to be a “restaurant hostess” but looks suspiciously like a swimsuit model seen on the CincoUno.com website.
Huidobro was allegedly flown to Chicago at least two times by a supporter for costs exceeding the House of Representative’s gifting rules. Jackson allegedly did not mention these flights on his House disclosure filings, an ethics violation in more ways than just the violation of his wedding vows.
Jackson issued the following statement when confronted by the media about the alleged affair:
“The reference to a social acquaintance is a private and personal matter between me and my wife that was handled some time ago [….] I ask that you respect our privacy.”
“I know I have disappointed some supporters, and for that I am deeply sorry. But I remain committed to serving my constituents and fighting on their behalf.”
Jackson’s Republican opponent, Isaac Hayes (pictured below), issued a statement about the new allegations, which reads in part:
“Today, we have been informed by the press that Mr. Jackson directed Mr. Nayak to offer Rod Blagojevich six million dollars in campaign cash in return for an appointment to the U.S. Senate seat.
It is time for Congressman Jackson to tell the members of the Second District the truth. They deserve to know what he did and why he did it. They have suffered long enough under the three-peat of political corruption that has existed for the past thirty years.
We need a clean break from the politics of the abuse of power and public trust. We need someone with the character and values to represent our district with honesty and integrity.”