A spokesman for Jesse Jackson Jr. says the congressman has been an informant for the U.S. attorney’s office in Illinois for at least a decade, and has relayed information about Gov. Rod Blagojevich since 2006, though not in the corruption case currently under investigation.
Jackson’s rep Kenneth Edmonds announced the news Tuesday in the wake of Blagojevich’s arrest last week on corruption charges, including allegations that he tried to sell or trade President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat for personal gain.
Jackson has been identified as one of the candidates Blagojevich was considering for the seat, and a criminal complaint said his emissaries were willing to raise $1.5 million for the governor if he picked the congressman.
Also, multiple media outlets are quoting unnamed “sources close to Jackson” who say that in 2002, Blagojevich — then running for governor of Illinois — solicited a $25,000 campaign donation from Jackson, which he did not get. At the time, Jackson’s wife, Sandi, was a candidate for the job of director of the state’s Lottery Commission, a post she did not win, the sources said.
A source told The Associated Press Tuesday: “Blagojevich went out of his way to say, ‘You know I was considering your wife for the lottery job and the $25,000 you didn’t give me? That’s why she’s not getting the job.'”
In 2006, Jackson reported the incident, which he believed to have been an attempt at a shakedown, sources told CNN. The report, the sources said, came three years later because Jackson’s memory was jogged by another case — that of developer Tony Rezko, whose fraud and corruption trial included testimony about $25,000 donations to Blagojevich.