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The Chicago Tribune has unnamed sources telling it that people close to Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., were actively raising campaign cash for Blagojevich to secure the Senate appointment for Jackson:

As Gov. Rod Blagojevich was trying to pick Illinois’ next U.S. senator, businessmen with ties to both the governor and U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. discussed raising at least $1 million for Blagojevich’s campaign as a way to encourage him to pick Jackson for the job, the Tribune has learned.

Blagojevich made an appearance at an Oct. 31 luncheon meeting at the India House restaurant in Schaumburg sponsored by Oak Brook businessman Raghuveer Nayak, a major Blagojevich supporter who also has fundraising and business ties to the Jackson family, according to several attendees and public records.

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.

Late Update: As I read through the story again, I’m struck by how someone with a broken internal ethical radar would see no difference between the usual mutual back-scratching (a Senate hopeful padding the campaign coffers of powerful state Democrats? how shocking!) and ethically and legally impermissible explicit quid pro quos.

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David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.
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