Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Is 'Senate Candidate No. 5', Says He Did Nothing Wrong

Chicago Rep. says will cooperate fully with the Blagojevich investigation.

ByABC News
December 10, 2008, 9:35 AM

Dec. 10, 2008— -- 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 "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."

(Click here to watch ABC News interview Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.)

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.

(Click here to watch Rep. Jackson Jr.'s press conference.)

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."