House Ethics Committee temporarily suspended its inquiry while the investigation and two trials of Governor Blagojevich were being conducted.
Of the four items released, the document that did actually contain “new” – and the most newsworthy – information was a 17-page document that, for the first time, publicly contained my story. It was my official response, through my lawyers, to the unproven allegations in the OCE report. Some reporting included this new positive news, but all led with the old negative news.
The House Ethics Committee (with the OCE report and findings in hand) had three options: (a) dismiss it and declare their work finished; (b) continue an informal review of the allegations; or (c) move forward with a deeper and full-scale investigation into the allegations by forming an Investigative Subcommittee. The House ethics investigation is continuing and the Committee could have chosen the third and more serious option, but so far it hasn’t. It chose the second option instead – continuing to review and investigate the matter. For example, I can imagine if they had chosen the first without interviewing Robert Blagojevich as he has requested, and maybe others, the press would now be saying, “What kind of investigation was that? They didn’t even hear what Robert Blagojevich had to say. They didn’t make Jackson answer the unanswered questions Robert Blagojevich says he has.” I am curious, however, as to what questions he has and what he’s going to tell the House Ethics Committee that he didn’t say to the U.S. Attorney or the FBI.
With regard to Robert Blagojevich – who was a criminal defendant in the first trial – I do not know him and I have never had a conversation with him. However, more importantly, I didn’t even know he existed until I read about him in the newspaper the morning after Governor Rod Blagojevich was indicted. I could not have sent anyone to meet and cut a deal with Robert Blagojevich because I didn’t even know that Governor Blagojevich had a brother.
Those who read the 24-page OCE report, even without my story (though it’s documented in there), ignore one central investigative and post-Blagojevich trials fact: everyone who has made an allegation against me has been compromised by the criminal justice system. But the media often projects me, not them, as the least credible person. Yet when I was called as a witness for the defense, my testimony worked against Governor Blagojevich’s defense.
Finally, in my defense, if the press had read and understood what was new and newsworthy in the 17-page report – my story – I would have thought the fact that my office communicated with the U.S. Attorney’s office and shared with them misconduct by Governor Blagojevich would have been newsworthy. But, to the best of my knowledge, that fact was not reported anywhere. Is it believable then that, on the one hand, my office was communicating with the U.S. Attorney about what Governor Blagojevich was doing; and then, on the other hand, I was out trying to cut an illegal deal with Governor Blagojevich or his brother who I didn’t know existed?
I have said from the beginning that I publicly and transparently sought to have the Governor of Illinois appoint me to fulfill the final two years of then-Senator Barack Obama’s term in the U.S. Senate. I did nothing illegal, unethical or inappropriate in that pursuit and I believe that is what the House Ethics Committee will conclude at the end of this process. I did everything within my power to protect the integrity of my office and to represent, with dignity, the people in the 2nd Congressional District who elected me to serve them.
The press keeps reporting, “Junior’s gone silent. We haven’t heard much from him lately.” It’s not because I haven’t been active, working and public. I’ve been working hard. For example, with the jobs crisis foremost on peoples’ minds, I challenged President Obama and the Congress to do more and I laid out a detailed plan to put 15 million Americans back to work rather immediately before the federal judges and their staffs of the Northern District of Illinois. The press was there and didn’t report a word I said about jobs. The only thing on their mind, and the only questions they asked, were about me and Blagojevich.
I’ve spoken at the RainbowPUSH Coalition forum several times recently, including a week ago, about how FDR put Americans