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, his attorney confirmed today after it was reported earlier on ABCNews.com "The Blotter".
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 told ABC News 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."
Jackson Jr.'s attorney James Montgomery confirmed that the Chicago congressman is "Senate Candidate #5" but said "Jackson has never authorized anyone to seek the Governor's support in return of money, fundraising or other things of value."
Jackson said "I don't know" when asked if he was Candidate #5 earlier this morning, but said he was told "I am not a target of this investigation."
At a press conference this afternoon, Jackson Jr. did not comment on "Senate Candidate #5" but said he has done nothing wrong.
"I reject and denounce pay-to-play politics and have no involvement whatsoever in any wrongdoing," said Jackson Jr. He added that he never sent a message nor an emissary to Blagojevich to make an offer or plead his case. "I thought mistakenly that the process was fair," he said.
Jackson Jr. reiterated that prosecutors have told him that he is not a target of the investigation nor is he accused of any misconduct. "I look forward to cooperating," he said.
He also added to the chorus of calls for Blagojevich to resign and to forfeit his power to fill the vacant Senate seat.
Jackson he agreed to talk with federal investigators "as quickly as possible" after consulting with a lawyer. Montgomery said his client would meet with prosecutors Friday or Monday.
The congressman, a son of the famed civil rights leader, denied that anyone had been authorized to make payments or promises to the governor on his behalf.
"It is impossible for someone on my behalf to have a conversation that would suggest any type of quid pro quo or any payments or offers," Jackson told ABC News. "An impossibility to an absolute certainty."
"Senate Candidate No. 5" played a key role in the governor's efforts to obtain something of value in exchange for the Senate appointment, according to the FBI affidavit.
According to the affidavit, Blagojevich threatened to appoint Senate Candidate No. 5 if President-elect Obama refused to help get his wife on "paid corporate boards right now."
"If they feel like they can do this and not f-- give me anything then I'll f-- go [Senate Candidate 5]."
The FBI says that during an Oct. 31 conversation, Blagojevich described an approach from an associate of Senate Candidate 5: "We were approached 'pay to play.' That, you know, he'd raise me 500 grand. An emissary came. Then the other guy would raise a million, if I made him [Senate Candidate 5] a senator."