We have previously discussed how Jesse Jackson Jr. disappeared for months without explanation while federal investigators sought information on allegations that he tried to buy a Senate seat and that he used campaign funds on his home. He then was admitted to the Mayo Clinic for pyschological problems but insisted on running for reelection (without campaigning). He won handily and pledged to serve his constituents . . . while he reportedly negotiated a criminal plea bargain. He left Mayo and there is now a report that Jackson is demanding a disability package in return for leaving office.
Investigators are reportedly also looking into $42,000 that they believe Jackson paid to buy an alleged mistress a Rolex watch.
As a threshold matter, it is unclear to me why there are serious plea bargain and disability discussions if Jackson used campaign funds to improve his home. The late Sen. Stevens was prosecuted for such misconduct. This would be a case of theft from his campaign of $20,000. Average people go to jail for a fraction of that amount in cases of theft or fraud. However, this is the son of Jesse Jackson.
There is now a report that Jesse Jackson Jr.’s wife, Alderman Sandi Jackson, is being also investigated for her payments as a “consultant” for Jackson’s campaign with a monthly payment. For those of us familiar with the Jackson family business in politics, none of this is particularly surprising. Yet, voters in some of the poorest areas of Chicago continue to reelect Jackson and his wife.
In the meantime, Jackson continues to reportedly self-deal and, if this story is true, hold his office hostage to continuing federal support. This is all the more shocking if it is true that Jackson is negotiating a plea bargain. It is hard to imagine prosecutors seriously considering a reduction in charges against a powerful politician, let alone such a reduction while he holds up Congress for money. It also makes his non-campaign for reelection all the more problematic. As soon as he was reelected, the news account suggest he used his new term to leverage a disability payment (while telling his constituents that he was working for their interests).