If you follow the money around Illinois politics, you often start running into the same people over and over again as you look from campaign to campaign - especially on the Democratic side (everyone still remembers what a busy political influencer Tony Rezko was, right?)
So it's maybe no surprise that when the name of Indian-American businessman Raghuveer Nayak surfaced once again in relation to Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s latest scandals, we wondered who else Nayak might have been tied to besides Jackson. (In case the name doesn't ring a bell, Nayak is the Indian-American businessman who allegedly offered to raise millions of dollars for former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich in exchange for Blagojevich appointing Jesse Jackson Jr. to Illinois’ vacant Senate seat, and is now saying that Jackson told him to do so.)
So, unsurprisingly, a little research reveals that JJJ is not the only prominent Illinois politician with significant ties to Nayak.
From 2006 to 2008, Illinois Senate Candidate Alexi Giannoulias received $23,000 in political contributions from companies owned by Nayak:
Rogers Park One Day Surgi-Center, $5,000.00 on 4/10/2006
Lakeshore Surgery Center LLC, $5,000.00 on 8/5/2007
Rogers Park One Day Surgi-Center, $2,000.00 on 11/8/2007
Hind General Hospital LLC, $5,000.00 on 2/23/2008
Rogers Park One Day Surgi-Center, $5,000.00 on 2/23/2008
Lakeshore Surgery Center LLC, $1,000.00 on 6/5/2008
The fundraising help isn’t all. TA hears that Alexi Giannoulias attended a reception held by Raghuveer Nayak in May of 2008.
Giannoulias clearly knows that his Nayak connection is a problem. One of Nayak’s companies, Lakeshore Surgery Center LLC, contributed $5,000 to Giannoulias on November 18, 2008, less than a month before Blagojevich was arrested. But Giannoulias’ campaign returned the check.
The question is: will Alexi Giannoulias return the $23,000 he still has from Nayak?
Alexi, you will recall, was also involved in the Senate seat issue directly when he brokered a meeting between union boss Tom Balanoff and presidential friend and top advisor Valerie Jarrett.
Maybe the bigger question is, what other ties will we discover to Alexi and even more questionable activities in the next 40 days...