Jackson says he's cooperating with ethics inquiry

April 8, 2009 8:46:00 PM PDT
Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is the subject of an ethics investigation. The Office of Congressional Ethics is reviewing Jackson's actions in his bid to get a US Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.The investigation is being carried out by a six person panel sanctioned by Congress but without any power to prosecute. At most they could forward the investigation to the House Ethics Committee. Nevertheless, political experts say the terms 'ethics investigation' and 'congressman' in the same sentence is rarely a good thing.

During his 14 years serving as 2nd District congressman, Jesse Jackson, Junior has built a powerful political base.

But since the allegations that he attempted to buy Barack Obama's Senate seat arose last December he has been uncharacteristically quiet. He's denied the allegations but that's about it.

And now that the Independent Office of Congressional Ethics is looking into the matter Jackson is still avoiding comment other than a written statement, saying, "I'm confident that this new ethic office which I voted in favor or creating will be able to conduct a fair and expeditious review and dismiss this matter."

"He needs to get this over quickly and to be exonerated and move on. The bad thing for Congressman Jackson, it does take him out of the 2010 chance to run for the United States Senate," said Paul Green, Roosevelt University.

Political science professor Paul Green says the ethics investigation is a blow to Jackson's political future.

But some Jackson supporters, like fellow congressman Danny Davis believe the investigation could be a positive if it clears Jackson of wrongdoing quickly and removes the cloud of suspicion.

"I think he's going to be exonerated and I certainly hope and pray that he will," said Rep. Danny Davis, (D) Chicago.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has no comment on the matter. But the indictment of Rob Blagojevich last week refers to Congressman Jackson as 'Senate candidate A' who allegedly is involved with unnamed individuals who offered $1.5 million to the former governor's campaign fund in exchange for the Senate office.


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