September 16th, 2009
03:11 PM ET
13 years ago

House ethics panel investigating Jackson, 2 other lawmakers

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A House ethics panel says it is investigating allegations against three representatives including Jesse Jackson Jr., who allegedly launched a "public campaign" to be appointed to President Barack Obama's former Senate seat.

The preliminary investigation into Jackson's activities by the Office of Congressional Ethics became known in April. At the time, Jackson, an Illinois Democrat, issued a statement saying he was cooperating and was "eager to answer any questions and provide any information to the OCE about my actions related to last year's vacant Senate seat."

The House ethics panel, the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, said in a statement Tuesday it had received a referral on the matter from the ethics office.

Transcripts of recordings from former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich "contain statements that an 'emissary' from Representative Jackson had offered to raise money for Blagojevich and provide 'money up-front' if Blagojevich nominated Representative Jackson to the (U.S.) Senate seat vacated by President Obama," the ethics office report says. "If this 'emissary' acted either at the direction of Representative Jackson or with his knowledge and acquiescence, Representative Jackson may have violated federal law and House rules."

However, the Department of Justice asked that the committee defer investigating the matter because of the criminal indictment against Blagojevich and its investigation into "the facts surrounding Rod Blagojevich's consideration of multiple candidates to fill the Senate seat," the House ethics panel said in its statement.

Because of that request, the investigation will be deferred, the statement said, but "the committee will continue to monitor the situation and
will consider pursuing avenues of inquiry that it concludes do not interfere with the activities of the Department of Justice."

The Office of Congressional Ethics was created by the House in March 2008 to screen cases of potential improper conduct by representatives. A board of six members, who are outside experts, meets monthly to review issues and votes on whether to recommend that the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct launch a formal investigation. The committee then decides whether to take up the matter.

The other two lawmakers being investigated are Reps. Maxine Waters, D-California, and Sam Graves, R-Missouri. The committee issued separate statements for each of them. The statements do not disclose the allegations being investigated.

Blagojevich earlier this year was impeached and removed from office. He has pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges. A federal grand jury in April indicted him on 16 felony counts including racketeering, conspiracy, wire fraud and making false statements to investigators.

Democratic leaders had urged Blagojevich not to appoint anyone to Obama's vacant seat. He disregarded their counsel and named Roland Burris, a former state attorney general and state comptroller, to the seat. Democratic senators grudgingly recognized him as the junior senator from Illinois, but he still faced an investigation and scrutiny at the same time he was trying to learn the ropes on Capitol Hill.

In June, the state's attorney in Sangamon County, Illinois, said he would not charge Burris with perjury in connection with his testimony on
Blagojevich's alleged "pay for play" scheme to fill the Senate seat. John Schmidt, the state's attorney, said Burris gave incomplete but truthful answers to questions about his conversations with Blagojevich's representatives.

Burris said in July he will not run for a full six-year term in 2010.

The indictment against Blagojevich also named Christopher Kelly, Blagojevich's chief fundraiser. Kelly, 51, died Saturday at a hospital.
Officials have said his death is being investigated as a suicide.

–CNN's Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report

Filed under: Jesse Jackson Jr. • Rod Blagojevich
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. munchmom

    Good–now how about going after Charlie Rangell!??

    September 16, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. Duck Fallas

    Make him appologize on the house floor.

    September 16, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  3. Post always rejected by CNN

    If he did so then he should be investigated. The difference here is, the democrats will do the investigation. Not like the republicans and Heather Wilson who they should have investigated because she urged Rove to get rid of the State's Attorney who wouldn't help her get re-elected.

    September 16, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  4. Rick in OP

    They should be investigating Charlie Rangle, too.

    September 16, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  5. Scott, Tucson

    That's a start but where are the investigations on Charlie Rangel, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and so on??

    September 16, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. rr

    If William Jefferson and John Murtha can escape being investigated by the House, then these three will too. Pelosi will bury it, and the press will help her.

    I wonder if Democrats will say this is all about race, though.

    September 16, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  7. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    If anyone really wants to dig in to the slimy dealings of this very slimy character, they will find (just like his father) more slime and dirt than can be handled.

    September 16, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  8. Idiot_Pelosi

    More Crooked DUMOcrats

    September 16, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  9. An Independent

    One Jesse Jackson is enough, send Junior home packing...he be corrupt.

    September 16, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. Lee

    If he did break house rules, he can just apologize to the state of IL! According to the GOP, that should be enough! RIGHT

    September 16, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  11. Steve (the real one)

    Truthfully, I am highly cynical and do not believe that the House investgating the House will actually uncover any wrong doing.

    September 16, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. Obama Victim

    a corrupt democrat???? can this be?????

    September 16, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Karma is a trip!! Run Jesse, Ruunnn!!! LOL

    September 16, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. Minnesotan

    Once again, Rev. Jackson sullies the noble name and reputation his father crafted. Jesse is a constant embarrassment. With stunts like this, one would think he was really a Republican.

    September 16, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  15. Margaret

    When are you going to get around to Charlie Rangel and all the others who don't pay their taxes? Either do it now or we will boot you all from office and file formal charges ourselves.

    September 16, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  16. Rob

    And like Rangel and Frank, these investigations will slowly fade away, with nothing happening. Dems can't afford to lose anyone, especially since they'll be losing so many in November of 2010.

    September 16, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. Steve (the real one)

    I can expect a vote to reprimand shorty, right liberals?

    September 16, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  18. MatthewDetroit

    They were pretty quick to sanction a congressman from South Carolina....

    How come the House is SO slow at going after Jackson.
    That dirty democrat politician should be gone.

    Time to get rid of the dirty politicians no matter what party they are from.
    Jesse Jackson Jr. Is dirty and tried to buy the office. He needs to be sent out immediately. Stop putting up with dirty politicians.

    September 16, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  19. Deuce

    Bridge Over troubled waters, that Barack Obama caused.

    The Whitehouse Trampoline..

    September 16, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. LacrosseMom(stuck in moderation)

    You, GOPers, better be careful. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones!

    September 16, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  21. Farrell in Houston

    Whether you are democrat, republican, black or white, wrong is wrong and I support whole heartedly what's right. I am a true American and not one who hides behind race.

    September 16, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |