Friday, December 12, 2008

Report: Jackson backers sought cash for Ill. gov.

CHICAGO (AP) — Businessmen with ties to both Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson discussed raising $1 million for Blagojevich to help persuade him to appoint Jackson to President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat, according to a published report.

Citing unnamed sources, the Chicago Tribune reports in a story for Friday's editions that businessman Raghuveer Nayak and Blagojevich aide Rajinder Bedi told attendees at an Oct. 31 meeting that they needed to raise the money for the governor to ensure Jackson's appointment.

"Raghu said he needed to raise a million for Rod to make sure Jesse got the seat," an unidentified source who attended the meeting told the Tribune. Blagojevich also attended the meeting, which was sponsored by Nayak, an Oak Brook businessman.

Jackson allies held Blagojevich fundraiser

Exclusive: As Gov. Blagojevich was trying to pick a senator, businessmen with ties to both the governor and Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. discussed raising at least $1 million for Blagojevich's campaign.

Two businessmen who attended the meeting and spoke to the Tribune on the condition of anonymity said that Nayak and Blagojevich aide Rajinder Bedi privately told many of the more than two dozen attendees the fundraising effort was aimed at supporting Jackson's bid for the Senate.

Among the attendees was a Blagojevich fundraiser already under scrutiny by federal investigators, Joliet pharmacist Harish Bhatt. FULL STORY.

U.S. targets pharmacy cases

Federal inquiry of state expands to include interference allegations

By David Kidwell and Ray Long | Tribune staff reporters
December 14, 2007
A federal influence-peddling probe into the administration of Gov. Rod Blagojevich has expanded to include allegations that a prominent Joliet pharmacist solicited campaign contributions in exchange for promises of regulatory favors.

The federal inquiry follows Tribune reports about a 2005 accusation made to state police that the pharmacist offered to intervene in the Medicaid fraud probe of another drugstore owner in exchange for a $25,000 contribution to the governor.The Tribune also reported allegations from state investigators that they were hindered by political interference in a separate Medicaid fraud case against the Joliet pharmacist, Harish M. Bhatt, who has helped raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the governor. FULL STORY.

NOTE: How high up will this go?

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