Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. confirmed Wednesday he is cooperating with a House ethics panel investigating his attempts to have since-ousted Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich appoint him to the Senate.
The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) is looking into the Illinois Democrat's interactions with Mr. Blagojevich, who was indicted last week on several corruption charges that included allegations he attempted to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Obama.
Mr. Jackson said he was notified of the OCE inquiry last week and is “cooperating fully with the preliminary review.”
“As I said when the Blagojevich scandal first broke back in December, I have done nothing wrong and reject pay-to-play politics,” Mr. Jackson said.
“I'm confident that this new ethics office - which I voted in favor of creating - will be able to conduct a fair and expeditious review and dismiss this matter.”
Mr. Jackson previously had acknowledged he was “Senate Candidate A” in Mr. Blagojevich's criminal complaint.
According to the document, Mr. Jackson was one of several potential appointees to the Senate seat that authorities say Mr. Blagojevich tried to shop around.
The complaint quoted Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat, as saying an associate of “Candidate A” offered to raise money for him if he picked the candidate.
Mr. Jackson, son of civil rights activist and 1984 Democratic presidential candidate the Rev. Jesse Jackson, denies initiating or authorizing anyone to promise Mr. Blagojevich anything on his behalf.
Mr. Jackson's supporters were willing to raise $1.5 million for Mr. Blagojevich if he picked the congressman, according to the complaint.
The former governor, who has said he has done nothing wrong, eventually appointed Roland W. Burris to fill the seat.
The Office of Congressional Ethics is a bipartisan panel made up of non-lawmakers who review and investigate possible ethics violations by House members.
Two members of the office, one from each party, are needed to initiate a preliminary investigation of a member. Three board members must vote to refer a case to the House ethics committee, which is made up of lawmakers and has the authority to take disciplinary action.
The OCE doesn't publicly acknowledge investigations, and if the panel dismisses a case, no record is made.
Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at email@example.com.
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