Jackson Opponent: Fundraiser Arrest Not A Campaign Issue - NBC Chicago
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Jackson Opponent: Fundraiser Arrest Not A Campaign Issue



    Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Republican opponent says he doesn’t plan to make the arrest of a JJJ fundraiser an issue in the fall campaign.

    Raghuveer Nayak, who raised money for both Jackson and former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, was arrested this morning by the FBI. Nayak previously told the feds Jackson offered money to Blagojevich to fill now-President Barack Obama's old U.S. Senate seat. Nayak said Jackson instructed him to offer Blagojevich as much as $6 million for the seat -- $1 million from the Indian community and $5 million from a fund-raiser that Jackson would organize.

    “I haven’t brought it up in the campaign,” said Brian Woodworth, a professor of criminal justice at Olivet Nazarene University in Kankakee. “People are already familiar with this. The campaign isn’t about what has Jackson allegedly done? The campaign is about what has happened in the district in the last 15 years. Unemployment is at 35 to 40 percent.”

    As Woodworth pointed out, the allegations that Jackson tried to buy a Senate seat are old news. They didn’t hurt him in his primary campaign against former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, which he won 71 percent to 29 percent. Woodworth also doesn’t expect Nayak to go on trial before the November election.

    As for whether Nayak’s arrest will lead to indictment of Jackson, Woodworth said it’s a possibility.

    “It could lead to that,” Woodworth said. “If a person goes to jail for taking a bribe, the person who offered the bribe should be in prison as well. The question is whether there’s evidence Jackson offered a bribe.”

    With all due respect to Woodworth’s campaign, Jackson is so popular in the 2nd District that an arrest and conviction is the only circumstance that will ever get him out of that congressional seat.