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Archive for December 10th, 2008

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Responds to Rumors About “Senate Candidate No. 5”

By Jon Perkins
ticklethewire.com

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. admitted Wednesday that he is “Candidate 5” in the criminal complaint against embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but vociferously denied offering the governor a bribe either personally or through an emissary for the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
Jackson said that he met with the Democratic governor for 90 minutes Monday and expressed interest in in Obama’s Senate seat, but did not offer anything of value in exchange for the position. Blagojevich is quoted in a 76-page criminal complaint as saying that an associate of “Senate Candidate 5” said the candidate was willing to raise $500,000 for future political campaigns provided “Senate Candidate 5” secured the position.
Jackson, a Chicago-based Democrat, said at a Washington news conference that he “did not initiate nor authorize anyone, at any time, to promise anything to Gov. Blagojevich on my behalf. I never sent a message or an emissary to the governor to make an offer or to propose a deal about the U.S. Senate seat.”
He said he would fully cooperate with the investigation being conducted by Chicago’s U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who had no immediate comment on Jackson’s statements.

ABC Says Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is “Senate Candidate No. 5” in Governor Scandal

There’s still plenty blanks to fill in in this sizzling case.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr./official photo

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr./official photo

Chicago Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., is the anonymous “Senate Candidate No. 5” whose emissaries Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich reportedly offered up to $1 million to name him to the U.S. Senate, federal law enforcement sources tell ABC News.
The politician says he is not a target of the Blagojevich investigation.
According to the FBI affidavit in the case, Blagojevich “stated he might be able to cut a deal with Senate Candidate 5 that provided ROD BLAGOJEVICH” with something “tangible up front.”
Jackson said this morning he was contacted Tuesday by federal prosecutors in Chicago whom he said “asked me to come in and share with them my insights and thoughts about the selection process.”
Read More

Gov Blagojevich: Narcissistic, Vengeful and Profane?

In many instances, when politicians like ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer and ex-Sen. John Edwards step over the line, the word “narcissistic” surfaces. Not surprising, it’s popped up again in this case.

By SUSAN SAULNY
New York Times
CHICAGO – Little in Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich’s background prepared the people of Illinois for the man who was revealed in the criminal complaint that dropped like a bombshell here on Tuesday. Delusional, narcissistic, vengeful and profane, Mr. Blagojevich as portrayed by federal prosecutors shocked even his most ardent detractors.
“I almost fell over,” said Cindi Canary, executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform and a frequent critic of the governor. “I was speechless and sickened. In all of the millions of indictments I’ve read over the last years, I can’t remember anything as vile as this.”
Mike Jacobs, a Democratic state senator and former friend of the governor, suggested that Mr. Blagojevich may have lost his grip on reality.
“I’m not sure he’s playing with a full deck anymore,” Mr. Jacobs said. “I think he brought a lot of this on himself. He’s so gifted, but so flawed in a number of fundamental areas. It’s like he dared the feds to come get him.”
for Full Story

Sec. Chertoff Advises Not to Change Homeland Security Immediately

Michael Chertoff

Michael Chertoff

Many critics are calling for major changes in the Department of Homeland Security.  But Sec. Michael Chertoff’s Advice is : Don’t — at least not right away.

By GREGG CARLSTROM
Federal Times
WASHINGTON — Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has some advice for his successor: Don’t tinker with the Homeland Security Department. At least not right away.
“I would stop reorganizing,” he said in an interview last week. “Every time there’s a reorganization, it sets you back a year. People don’t know where they’re going to go, what their future is, what their job description is going to be.”
Last week, President-elect Barack Obama named Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as his choice to head the Homeland Security Department.
Chertoff applauded the choice; he said he would encourage her to wait two years and then decide on any organizational changes.
“If she then decides she wants to tweak things, you know, that’s fine, but she needs to have the experience,” he said.
For Full Story

Read ticklethewire columnist James G. Huse Jr.’s column on Changing Homeland Security

In Illinois Gov. Scandal the Question is: Who is “Candidate 5”

Gov. Blagojevich/state photo

Gov. Blagojevich/state photo

No question, with a scandal of this magnitude  there will be many many more questions in coming weeks….like who was “Candidate 5” mentioned in the charging papers? Inquiring minds want to know.

By Ben Protess
ProPublica

The FBI’s arrest today of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has brought a new figure into our political lexicon: “Senate Candidate 5.”
The FBI recorded Blagojevich last week saying to an adviser that “Candidate 5” might raise money for Blagojevich and even give him “some (money) up front, maybe” in exchange for being appointed to replace Obama, according to today’s criminal complaint (PDF) filed by the United States Attorney’s office in Chicago.
Blagojevich has the sole power to appoint Obama’s replacement under the state constitution. Blagojevich allegedly analogized this power to that of a sports agent shopping a potential free agent to the highest bidder, telling an adviser, “I’ve got this thing and it’s [expletive] golden…I’m just not giving it up for [expletive] nothing.”
For Full Story

Read Criminal Complaint

Read U.S. Attorney’s Press Release

Excerpt From Charges: Gov. Calls Obama a MotherF–

Brazen Words Left Agents Shocked (Washington Post)

Morning Arrest: Government Asks is This a Joke? (Chicago Tribune)

Union Officials Allegedly Acted as Go-Between (Washington Post)

Senate Confirms N.Y. Fed Prosecutor to Oversee $700 Billion Bailout

Someone has got to watch over this bailout. Hopefully Neil Barofsky is up to the challenge. If not,  the politicians will have someone to blame.

By Amit R. Paley
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON (Tuesday) — The Senate yesterday confirmed a New York prosecutor as the chief watchdog of the $700 billion financial bailout program, giving him monitoring responsibility over a plan that has come under increasing criticism for lack of oversight.
Neil M. Barofsky becomes the special inspector general for the program after nearly half of the money has been allocated and as lawmakers continue to decry the Bush administration’s implementation of the plan. The Government Accountability Office, the nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, said last week that plans are inadequate to enforce executive compensation limits and safeguards against conflict of interest.
“Obviously this will be an extraordinary challenge,” Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement. “Mr. Barofsky will have to play catch-up and work ferociously in order to account for the $310 billion that has already been spent, while properly supervising the rest of the relief, but I believe that he is up to the task.”
For Full Story