The House ethics committee announced Monday that it will continue to delay its investigation into Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s ties to ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), citing the Justice Department’s ongoing prosecution of the former governor’s scheme to auction an open Senate seat.
The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct has deferred the investigation of the Democratic Congressman for more than a year as the Justice Department has pursued the matter.
“The Department of Justice has asked the Standards Committee to continue to defer consideration of this matter and the Standards Committee, following precedent, agreed to continue to defer consideration of this matter at this time,” Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and ranking member Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) said in a written statement.
“The Standards Committee will continue to monitor the situation and will consider pursuing avenues of inquiry that it concludes do not interfere with the activities of the Department of Justice,” the statement said.
Jackson has denied allegations that he instructed a fundraiser to offer Blagojevich campaign cash in exchange for appointment to the Senate seat that Barack Obama vacated when he became president.
“The very idea of raising millions of dollars for a campaign other than my own is preposterous. My interest in the Senate seat was based on years of public service, which I am proud of, not some improper scheme with anyone,” Jackson told the Chicago Sun-Times in September.
Blagojevich and his brother, Robert Blagojevich, were tried in federal court earlier this year on corruption charges tied to allegations that the former governor had attempted to sell the Senate seat.
The jury deadlocked on 23 of 24 charges against Rod Blagojevich, but it found him guilty on the remaining count. The jury deadlocked on the four counts against his brother.
The Justice Department set a new trial against Rod Blagojevich for April 2011, but it will not retry Robert Blagojevich.
The Dalai Lama greets House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., before a meeting with House leaders in the Capitol. The Dalai Lama was on the Hill to meet with members of the House and Senate and also presided of the Senate's morning prayer.