From NBC's Pete Williams
A law enforcement official confirms that the person referred to in the federal criminal complaint against Gov. Rod Blagojevich as "Candidate 5" is Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.
However, federal officials caution that they have no evidence, other than statements made by Blagojevich, about whether Candidate 5 actually made any improper approaches to the governor. No conversations with Candidate 5 were ever picked up on any of the bugs or wiretaps.
Jackson's office put out a brief statement, quoting him as follows: "Since the federal investigation of the governor is ongoing, it would be inappropriate for me to comment beyond my initial statement. However, I reject and denounce pay-to-play politics and have no involvement whatsoever in any wrongdoing. I won't hesitate to cooperate fully and completely with the federal government's investigation."
According to the criminal complaint, on Oct. 31st, Blagojevich was overheard saying of Candidate 5, "We were approached 'pay to play,' that, you know, he'd raise me 500 grand. An emissary came. Then the other guy would raise a million, if I made him a senator."
But federal officials say the recordings did not pick up any conversations with Candidate 5 or the emissary. It's important to note that this is a third-hand statement: Blagovich is repeating what he says was the emissary's description of what Candidate 5 said.
Nonetheless, investigators are reaching out to all the figures mentioned in the criminal complaint, including Candidate 5, to learn more about what happened.