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Ethics Eyes Turn Back to Jesse Jackson Jr.

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Ethics Eyes Turn Back to Jesse Jackson Jr.
Jack Higgins
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Now that the former Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been convicted of 17 corruption charges, the focus has turned back to Jesse Jackson Jr. and his pending federal investigation.

On last account, Jackson was under congressional investigation for his alleged involvement with Blagojevich and the coveted prize of a U.S. Senate seat. The Office of Congressional Ethics suspended the inquiry per the request of federal authorities so as to not interfere with the Blagojevich trial.

Now the trial is over and OCE is dusting off the 2009 case and going back to work on the investigation.

Jackson was thrown into the ring after a criminal complaint in the Blagojevich trial highlighted him as "Senate Candidate A," one of the several candidates the former governor considered for the empty former Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat.

Blagojevich claims Jackson offered fundraising to the governor's campaign.

During the trial, Jackson said he was asked from a member of Blagojevich's campaign to contribute up to $25,000. He testified that he denied the offer.

Later, Jackson did ask for a government administration job for his wife. This time Blagojevich denied.

Jackson said Blagojevich "in classic Elvis Presley style, he snapped both fingers, looked back at me and said, 'Should have given me that $25,000.'" Blagojevich called the testimony "baloney."

However, businessman Raghuveer Nayak told the Chicago Sun-Times that Jackson asked him to offer $6 million in exchange for the Senate seat to Blagojevich. Nayak also said Jackson had him pay for airline tickets for a blonde "social acquaintance." 

Dispute these accounts, Jackson stands firm and denies any involvement with the for-sale Senate seat. 

The independent panel of the OCE is re-looking at the documents, emails, and other correspondence dealing with Jackson by Blagojevich and others involved with the scandal.

The OCE reviews cases for the House ethics committee which holds the power to censure or punish the offender.

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