CHICAGO, Illinois November 8, 2012 – A Chicago newspaper is reporting that Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is in the midst of negotiating a plea deal with the feds for his alleged misuse of campaign funds – one day after the critical November election.
The embattled son of civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson won re-election to his 10th term by 64% of the vote.
According to Michael Sneed, a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, the plea negotiations involve the federal criminal investigation into Jackson’s possible use of campaign funds to redecorate his DC home.
A new wrinkle in the case: Jackson may have also misused campaign funds to purchase a $40,000 Rolex watch as a gift for a “female friend.”
The congressman has been a regularly reoccurring news fixture since June when he announced he was taking a leave of absence from his official duties.
By August – and after intense media scrutiny – representatives for Jackson finally explained that the congressman was undergoing treatment for bipolar depression at Mayo Clinic.
But the timing of the congressman’s illness and the specter of two federal investigations raises questions about Jackson’s veracity.
According to a report in October, attorneys for Jackson “sought assurance from senior Justice Department officials not to seek an indictment [on the alleged misuse of campaign funds] before the November election.”
But Jackson is also facing a House Ethics Committee probe into his alleged role in the attempted sale of Barack Obama’s old U.S. Senate seat by convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
But the pesky remnants of the “pay-to-play” scandal involving Obama’s U.S. Senate seat persist.
Back in late 2008, Raghuveer Nayak, a millionaire businessman and former campaign contributor to Jackson, told federal prosecutors he offered Blagojevich $1 million if the governor appointed Jackson to fill Obama’s vacant senate seat.
Jackson continues to deny any wrongdoing.
Nayak, who was indicted in June on federal fraud charges, later admitted that he also paid for two airline trips for Giovana Huidobro, a DC restaurant hostess, to visit Jackson in Chicago at his request.
The flights were never reported as a gift on Jackson’s House disclosure statements.
Was Huidobro also the recipient of the alleged $40,000 Rolex watch?
Rep. Jesse Jackson can continue his treatment, if necessary, at the Mayo Clinic but there are questions that he and his representatives have yet to answer about the ongoing federal probes.
Voters deserved answers before the election and they certainly deserve them after.