December 16th, 2008
08:39 PM ET

Jackson: 'I am not a federal informant'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/10/senate.candidates/art.jackson.gi.jpg caption="Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr."]
Roland S. Martin
AC360° Contributor

An angry Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is pushing back against media reports suggesting that he has worked as a federal informant for the last decade in response to corruption in his home state of Illinois.

Jackson telephoned me a few moments ago and said that as a public servant, it is his duty, and that of any other, to immediately report instances of corruption when they come across it.

"And I have done that," he said. "But I am not, nor have I ever been a federal informant."

Jackson's spokesman, Rick Bryant, added that "Jackson has been sharing information about public corruption with federal investigators for years."

The issue of Jackson's dealing with federal prosecutors comes in the wake of the scandal involving Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who federal prosecutors accuse of trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

The embattled governor was captured on federal wiretaps discussing appointing a Senate candidate later identified as Jackson in exchange for campaign contributions. Jackson denied that he or anyone associated with him has participated in a pay-to-play scheme with Blagojevich.

Editor’s Note: You can read this and more from Roland Martin on Essence.com.

Filed under: Raw Politics • Rod Blagojevich • Roland S. Martin
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. jrq la habra CA

    I wish we had millions of Federal Informants spying on Washington.

    I'd sleep better!

    December 17, 2008 at 11:45 am |
  2. Barry Fausnaugh

    I think its time we redefine the word informant to have a more positive connotation. What Jessie Jackson Jr. has done here is a good thing, especially given how rampant all the greed and corruption is in government and on Wall Street these days.

    December 16, 2008 at 11:14 pm |
  3. Jean

    If true about lottery job costing 25,0000 does that mean that Desiree Rogers the social director for the new white house also paid 25,000 to become the Illinois State Lottery Director?

    December 16, 2008 at 11:09 pm |
  4. LaDaryl

    I believe we have to wait and see the outcome before we proceed with dissecting it. But if he is then I don't see why he shouldn't against corruption in politics. That's if he is.

    December 16, 2008 at 10:45 pm |
  5. Kathie

    Anyone that has grown up in and around the Chicago area knows that if someone is labeled an "informant," and the "machine" gets wind of it, the life of that person, as well as his/her family's, is in danger.

    December 16, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  6. joe common

    JACKSON is a hero. only criminal minded persons harbor the word "informant" as a weapon with which to villify and poison others to keep their own criminal network going. JACKSON is just plain fed up with these policital and corporate criminal networks and the rest of the country will follow his lead in routing out these criminal networks.

    December 16, 2008 at 10:39 pm |
  7. bianca

    When a person does their civic duty, like Jesse Jackson Jr, why is it he is being labeled an informant instead of being applauded for doing what he should have done?
    Corruption is widespread throughout our political system, as we can see by the recent events of Blagovich and the Senator from Alaska that was just recently convicted of corruption. We need to congragulate people who do their civic duty to rid our system of corruption and greed.

    December 16, 2008 at 10:37 pm |
  8. Sharonne

    A straight forward honest politician....what a concept. Why are we bandgering Jackson for reporting corruption. Why is he being labeled a Federal Informant? Why does the media insist on pushing to make Jackson and Obama looked guilty? Oh yes, I forgot guilt by association that is how you think. They have both answered your questions so let it rest. Do you always have to read between the lines and/or think the worst. I love CNN and you Anderson are my favorite but enough.

    December 16, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  9. Lori Shirley-McKinnis

    Dear Mr. Cooper,

    Why is this investigation being focused outside the deplausable actions of Governor Blgojevich? Must we always have an excuse for deplorable behavior & try to lay blame on possible accomplices or reasons? It's sickening. We're trying to teach our children to be accountable, and then someone in the limelight screws up big time & we can't just say, "You made your bed, now lie in it."

    I am a white, 45 year old mother from Nebraska & I find Jesse Jackson, Jr. a refreshing, intelligent, moral answer to politics as usual. I hope he will continue to walk strong; unfortuntely, he's part of the good 'ole boy system. What's he supposed to do? Join 'em?

    We need change. We need people of moral character & leadership, like Mr. Jackson.

    Get rid of the scum.

    Most Sincerely,

    Lori Shirley-McKinnis

    December 16, 2008 at 10:24 pm |
  10. MG Justice

    I find the grand attention that this "steal from the rich" guy has been gitting. Like we all don't know that the SEC hasn't been doing it's job and pretecting us against thieves and money hungry individuals. Who would have thunk it! Hasn't this whole property forclosure issue been a ponzi scheme that "steals from the poor". Why don't all of you in the media say "Oh my god, now it is serious, some rich people may have lost all thier money". It reminds me of my grandmothers greatest memories of the great depression – rich people jumping out of window. Why does it only seem get serious to everyone in this country, including the media, when the rich are affected just as much as the rest of us.

    December 16, 2008 at 10:23 pm |
  11. David W. Maryland

    You stated that investgators said Jesse Jr. was an informat.
    As Gary stated in his piece, officials will not confirm or deny that.
    PLEASE be clear how you tell the story. Right now the only people saying Jesse informed are JESSE'S PEOPLE! Smells like a cover to me. A tactic to show "HEY JESSE WAS NOT TRING TO BY THE SEAT"!
    Be careful...there is WAY more to this!

    December 16, 2008 at 10:19 pm |
  12. Ron

    The news cycle over the past few weeks have me concerned about the level of distraction that is going on. Are we witness to history repeating itself following a great depression. As for Mr. Jackson, I'm pleased to see that he was actively involved in routing out corruption.

    An "informant" and other terms that might be applied to the man has a connotation to it that I am not particularly comfortable with in this case.

    Would a white person be called a whistleblower?

    December 16, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  13. J Nielsen

    So let me get this straight, he reports bad people to the authorities but he dislikes being labled a snitch? Makes complete sense to me.

    December 16, 2008 at 9:44 pm |
  14. Annie Kate

    I don't see how Jackson could be an informant if he hasn't seen the man for 4 years until the other day. Not much to tell. And Jackson is right – he and other gov't officials do have a duty to report corruption where they see it.

    December 16, 2008 at 9:37 pm |
  15. Larry

    Hi Roland:) Why would he call you? I had not read anything on here about this issue. I find the idea of the Gov. trying to 'shakedown' JJ Jr somewhat ironic as there is a book about his dad titled 'Shakedown: Exposing The Real Jesse Jackson' by a Ken Timmerman.

    December 16, 2008 at 9:33 pm |
  16. Gilby-HI

    21 conversations?
    Big Ears is lieing already.
    Or maybe Rahm had his finger crossed!?

    December 16, 2008 at 9:20 pm |
  17. lynn

    Why can't the media wait until all the facts come out? The federal prosecutor has asked that and PE Obama is sticking by it . The press is busy ruining people's reputations and careers, producing shows that resemble Entertainment Tonight and quite frankly destroying their own credibility.

    December 16, 2008 at 9:12 pm |
  18. Cindy

    I don't care if Jesse was an informant or not. If you see corruption you should report it! That is the right thing to do. More power to Jesse Jr!!


    December 16, 2008 at 8:48 pm |