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CHICAGO (CBS) – Robert Blagojevich, former Gov Rod Blagojevich’s brother, says he wants to testify before a Congressional ethics committee that is investigating U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
Robert Blagojevich told the Chicago Sun-Times that he’s offered to speak to the U.S. House Committee on Ethics about Jackson’s efforts to get appointed to the U.S. Senate seat that President Barack Obama vacated in 2008.
Blagojevich said Jackson Jr. “has a lot of unanswered questions that he needs to answer” about his attempts to get the appointment.
At Rod Blagojevich’s two trials, witnesses testified that Jackson supporters offered to raise campaign cash for the governor in exchange for appointing Jackson to Obama’s old seat.
Robert Blagojevich, who was tried with Rod Blagojevich in the first trial, testified that he was approached by two of Jackson’s fundraisers on separate occasions in 2008 and they offered to raise millions of dollars for his brother if Jackson got the seat. Robert was heading his brother’s campaign fund at the time.
“I very definitely got the impression that they were representing Jackson,” Robert Blagojevich testified.
Prosecutors dropped the charges against Robert after the first trial ended in a hung jury on all of the charges against him and all but one charge against his brother.
Rod Blagojevich faced retrial on his own this summer and was convicted of 17 corruption charges. He was also convicted of lying to the FBI at his first trial. He is still awaiting sentencing.
Jackson has denied any wrongdoing and, at Blagojevich’s retrial, he testified that he never directed anyone to raise money for anyone other than himself.
“I never directed anyone to raise money for another politician in my life, other than myself, in 16 years,” Jackson testified in May.
He admitted he sought the Senate appointment, but denied ever offering Rod Blagojevich any money for the Senate seat.
The Congressional ethics panel is investigating whether Jackson used public resources — such as his Chicago or Washington, D.C., congressional staffs — in his effort to get appointed to the Senate.
Federal prosecutors had asked the ethics panel to hold off on its investigation while Rod Blagojevich was still facing trial in his corruption case. But earlier this month, the panel announced it was restarting the ethics investigation.