This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, August 14th, 2013:
At 8:30AM Wednesday morning, a federal judge will sentence former Illinois congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. and his wife Sandra, former Chicago alderman, for using $750,000 of campaign funds for personal purposes and underreporting $600,000 of income to the IRS. He could get up to four years behind bars, while she is facing a maximum of 18 months.
But they do things differently in Chicago. They might just get probation instead.
When they pled guilty back in February, the Jackson duo admitted to charges of fraud, conspiracy, making false statements, mail fraud, wire fraud, and filing incorrect income tax returns. But then forces unknown moved Heaven and earth to allow JJ to admit to one count of wire and mail fraud.
The poor guy suffers from bipolar disorder and that should explain everything. When he took a leave of absence from Congress last summer, it had nothing to do with the FBI or House Ethics Committee investigations, but instead had to do with “physical and mental health problems, clinical depression, and gastrointestinal problems.” Those gastrointestinal problems are the ones that show up when you’ve been found raiding campaign funds and have run out of time and places to hide.
He wants special treatment because, after all, he’s a special guy. He’s asked the judge to recommend either a minimum security prison in Montgomery, Alabama or, even better, the low security Butner, North Carolina facility that looks like a college campus and that currently houses the former Chicago police chief Jon Burge – you know, the one who lied about torturing prisoners to get them to confess. Oh, and Bernie Madoff is a resident there, too, so he’ll have lots of company.
Butner would be the preferred choice as it is, according to the Jacksons’ attorney, “the crown jewel of the prison system” and “it will probably be more appropriate to his mental health and medical needs.”
He’s also asked the judge – who happens to be named Jackson, but there appears to be no connection to the Jackson duo – to give them staggered sentences (assuming they go to jail) so that one of them will be able to stay home and look after the kids.
JJ’s father, the infamous Jesse Jackson, Sr., who trained up his child in the way he should go by putting him to work in his tax-exempt community improvement center, PUSH, wrote several letters to the judge, asking for leniency for his boy, because, well, he’s a good boy:
I appeal to you for mercy. Jesse, Jr., is an example of a teacher and a counselor who will be better served under supervision and probation.
Father and son wrote a book in 1999 entitled “It’s About the Money: How You Can Get Out of Debt, Build Wealth, and Achieve Your Financial Dreams.” It’s available at Amazon in hardcover for $10.52, but you can get a used copy for $.01, plus shipping. As one reviewer wrote:
I seem to have missed the section outlining how to steal campaign contributions to spend on fur coats, elk heads, and Bruce Lee memorabilia. Is my copy missing this important chapter?
The official court document outlining the charges the prosecution was prepared to present if JJ went to court is 22 pages long and contains 3,100 separate instances where the Jackson duo defrauded, lied, cheated and stole money from their friends. They lied to the IRS, to the Federal Election Commission, and to the House Ethics Committee. They used campaign credit cards for personal expenses and ran up personal credit card bills which their campaign paid off. There are two pages that list purchases of cruises on the Navigator of the Sea, Walt Disney World vacations, antiques, children’s furniture ($1,438.00 and $8,149.64), Mariel’s Boutique ($3,544.00), Martha’s Vineyard Holistic Retreat ($5,687.75), and Edward Lowell Furrier ($5,150.00).
You get the idea. Before he got caught (and began to suffer from those gastrointestinal problems), he and Sandra were earning $300,000 a year. So this spending spree using campaign funds was on top of all that.
But his career isn’t over. Why? Because he says so:
I offer no excuses for my conduct, and I fully accept my responsibility for the improper decisions and mistakes I have made. I want to offer my sincerest apologies … for my errors in judgment…
While my journey is not yet complete, it is my hope that I am remembered for the things I did right.
It’ll be interesting to see how Judge Jackson treats these two towering moral giants, the Jackson duo, on Wednesday morning in Chicago. They do things differently there.
Chicago Tribune: Jesse Jackson Jr., wife Sandi, await sentencing
Chicago Tribune: Jesse Jackson Jr. gives prison preferences
Amazon: It’s About the Money!: How You Can Get Out of Debt, Build Wealth, and Achieve Your Financial Dreams, by Jesse Jackson and Jesse Jackson, Jr.